Ray’s Restaurants sold after 40 years and more metro Atlanta restaurant news

Customers enjoy their brunch outside in the newly open seating area at  Ray's on the River Sunday Morning May 10, 2020.   STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Customers enjoy their brunch outside in the newly open seating area at Ray's on the River Sunday Morning May 10, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

After 40 years, Ray Schoenbaum, the founder of Ray’s Restaurants, is retiring and has sold his eateries.

Kennesaw-based TEI Hospitality has purchased Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs, Ray’s at Killer Creek in Alpharetta and Ray’s in the City in downtown Atlanta.

All three locations will remain open with the same staff and retain their namesake. The new owners are “dedicated to continuing the high standards of hospitality and quality cuisine perfected by Ray’s culinary team,” according to a news release.

“Like us, TEI Hospitality is a family-owned company that has been around for decades, so they share our values and understand the importance of relationships and providing our guests a first-class experience,” Schoenbaum said in a prepared statement. “Choosing a buyer was not something I took lightly, and I am thrilled to have found someone who will continue the great tradition of Ray’s Restaurants. Nothing is going to change.”

The sale will be finalized in June, and Schoenbaum will continue to guide the transition for the first 30 days. During the transition, the restaurants will remain open with regular hours of operation.

“We are honored to continue the tradition of Ray’s Restaurants and could not be more thrilled to carry on its legacy,” Dan Groom-Traina, owner of TEI Hospitality, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to continuing the same excellent standards of food and service that Ray’s restaurants are known for. Ray’s isn’t going anywhere and will keep serving its communities for the next 40 years.”

All three restaurants serve a menu featuring steaks, seafood, pasta and other dishes and offer an extensive wine menu.

Schoenbaum grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, where his father, Alex, founded the Shoney’s restaurant chain in the early 1950s.

After college, Schoenbaum became a Shoney’s franchisee, and then a Wendy’s franchisee.

In 1984, he opened both Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs and Rio Bravo in Buckhead. He sold Rio Bravo to Applebee’s in 1994. Ray’s in the City is more than 30 years old and Ray’s at Killer Creek is more than 25 years old.

“I believe in taking care of the guests first, and maybe they’ll let me make a little bit of money, if I take good enough care of them,” Schoenbaum told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2023.


Hugh Acheson has sold his celebrated Athens restaurant 5&10 to his business partner, Peter Dale. Dale also owns the National in Athens, which he previously co-owned with Acheson. He also owns Condor Chocolate and Maepole, which has a location in Summerhill.

Acheson owned now-shuttered Atlanta restaurant Empire State South, which closed last year after 13 years. That space is now home to Michelin-starred restaurant Lazy Betty.


The first Atlanta location of California-based chain Sambazon Açaí Bowls is now open in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Terminal A near Gate 9.

The third Sambazon third airport location to open recently, the Hartsfield stall comes from franchisee Verge Tersylbran JV.

The menu offers items like Berry Açaí Bowl, Protein Açaí Bowl, Chocolate PB Açaí Bowl, and Coconut Mango Açaí Bowl, as well as smoothies, oatmeal bowls and other beverages.

Sambazon’s hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. is located at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Terminal A near Gate 9, operating daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


The Rreal Tacos menu includes asada from northeastern Monterrey, birria barbacoa from Guadalajara, and taco al pastor, one of Mexico City's signature tacos. Courtesy of Rreal Tacos

Credit: Courtesy of Rreal Tacos

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy of Rreal Tacos

Rapidly growing Atlanta Mexican chain Rreal Tacos is set to open its seventh location May 1 in the former Farm Burger space at 3365 Piedmont Road in Buckhead.

The Buckhead eatery will offer the same menu as other Rreal locations in Midtown, Chamblee, west Midtown, Sand Springs, Cumming and Sugar Hill. Additions will include a new bar top design, tabletop covers and tile ceiling design.


Matt Marcus has been named executive chef at the Woodall, the west Midtown restaurant from John C. Metz, the co-founder of Sterling Hospitality.

Marcus, who has more than 25 years of culinary experience, most recently served as the culinary director for Atlanta restaurants Girl Diver, Char and Bar Diver. He’s also served as the executive chef of the Farm at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming; executive chef at Rooftop LOA in west Midtown; and as the executive chef-owner of Watershed in Brookwood Hills.

The Atlanta native grew up cooking with his mother, Annette, who operated a catering company. He studied at the American Culinary Federation and became executive chef at Hennen’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before returning to Atlanta in 2014 to become the executive chef at Portofino in Buckhead.


Z!EATS has opened its first Atlanta location at 2250 Marietta Blvd. NW in the Upper Westside area.

The restaurant, which comes from franchisees Guran Yet and Ozben Iyigun Yet, who immigrated from Turkey to the Atlanta area in 2008.

The menu features sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, pasta and soup flights called “shooters.”

Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.


Muse Paintbar is set to open in Battery Atlanta at Truist Park. The paint-and-sip experience will offer drinks, bar bites and desserts. In addition, Cultivate Food + Coffee will open in May and Eataliano Kitchen has expanded with the addition of the Cellar, a private dining room that seats 65 guests.

Other food and beverage concepts at Battery Atlanta include C. Ellet’s, Garden & Gun Club, Superica and Goldberg’s Bagels.


Sakura Ramen Bar is closing this weekend in the Chattahoochee Food Works food hall. The stall was part of the original lineup when the food hall opened in 2021. The owners of Sakura are working on a new concept, Pink Promise Champagne Bar, set to open in the Interlock development in west Midtown in the coming weeks.


Nowak’s in Atlanta’s Morningside location has changed its name and concept. The restaurant, now known as Nowak’s Cantina, serves a menu of Mexican staples. A Nowak’s location in Sandy Springs retains the original menu, which offers steak and seafood.


Korean fried chicken restaurant Okaay Chicken is now open at 315 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Suwanee.


Brightside Cafe coffee shop is set to open in the coming weeks at 554 W. Main St. in Buford, What Now Atlanta reports.


Vine Fine Wine wine shop has opened at 335 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decaturish reports.


Marietta chicken restaurant Cozy Coop is expanding with another location at 891 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell, Tomorrow’s News Today reports.


California-based chain Poke House is expanding to Georgia with a forthcoming location at 3280 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, What Now Atlanta reports.

More restaurant news

Ree de la Vega takes over former Sound Table space to open lounge Pisces

Casa Balam opens in downtown Decatur

Nana’s Chicken-n-Waffles to open second location in Sandy Springs

Sign up for the AJC Food and Dining Newsletter

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.