Ray’s Tavern, Green River, Utah.

Ray’s Tavern, Green River, Utah.

We found great burgers in Roswell, New Mexico … eons ago. Then we missed the good burger place by Capitol Reef. We struck out in Blanding, then Moab. We were, in short, hungry for something good, and we were headed to Green River, Utah (population 900). Well then.

There are two reasons to visit Green River, Utah: 1) it’s the only place along I-70 with a gas station for something like 100+ miles in every direction; 2) it’s a drop-in point for rafting trips going south along the Green River. We didn’t need gas and we weren’t going rafting, but we decided to camp there for the night on our way north.

Luckily for us, we found Ray’s Tavern, a real-deal burger place, steaks too. The place is so authentic it doesn’t even have a website.

Now, full disclosure, I started the day ranting about the Moab Brewery and our bad experience there. I told Lisa I was never going to buy a mid-priced burger again. Good, honest burgers are cheap, like in Jalama and at Sebastian’s Store and at the Tavern. Burgers costing $8-$12 were Sysco frozen crap, I’d decided. The burger at Ray’s costs $8.25. The cheeseburger is $8.75. My theory didn’t even hold for a day.

No matter, it was worth blowing apart a blowhard to eat well. The place itself is amazing — tables and benches are made from solid slabs of either cottonwood or willow. They’ve got a pool table in the back. The kitchen is behind the bar near the window. The place had all the signs of awesome — we were excited to eat.

The burgers were fantastic. The beer was tasty. The place made me fall in love with Green River, my new (only?) favorite town in Utah.