James Anderson considers himself more of an artisan than a restaurateur.

Ray Ray's Hog Pit, his second enterprise of the same name, is an example of Anderson's passion: a lean, mean smoking machine designed to produce premium barbecue.

The latest Ray Ray's, which opened two weeks ago, is a walk-up, takeaway-only food stand at 5755 Maxtown Road in Westerville.

Expanding beyond his popular food truck, which is parked behind Ace of Cups, 2619 N. High St. in Columbus' University District, was not part of the plan, Anderson said.

But when a friend told him the Barbeque Shack in Westerville was closing, Anderson decided to take it over.

Geographically, it made sense: His new location is about a 20-minute drive north from his food truck.

"We're not really focused on growing," he said. "We're focused on quality."

The menu is small, specializing in St. Louis-style spareribs and baby-back ribs rubbed with dry spices, smoked and served with sauce on the side, per customer request. Sauces come in four styles: sweet, jalapeno, habanero and Carolina vinegar. On Sundays, a mustard-based Carolina sauce is served with brisket from grass-fed cows.

Also on the menu are four sandwiches: jerk chicken made with thigh meat, brisket, pulled pork and Carolina pork chop.

A few sides round out the choices.

"It's traditional -- traditional purist style," company manager Valerie Belt said.

Customers can eat at picnic tables near the food stand.

Anderson, whose middle name is Ray, said he has learned important lessons over the years after running a sit-down barbecue restaurant that closed. He also owns the 15-acre Anderson Farms in Granville, where he raises heritage-breed hogs for his business and others.

Anderson said the many issues involved in running a restaurant business took him away from what he loved: cooking and perfecting barbecue.

"Barbecue is taking cheap cuts of meat, cooking them for a long time and making them taste delicious," he said.

Ray Ray's Hog Pit in Westerville is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. For more information, call 740-755-5997.

A new kind of food-delivery service will come to Columbus at the end of August.


ClusterTruck, which is opening an 1,800-square-foot kitchen at 342 E. Long St., will cook food and use delivery drivers to transport the meals in an average of 22 minutes throughout its service area.

"It's a pretty tight zone, but we want to be able to deliver the freshest food possible," said Gwen Ragno, spokeswoman for the company, which has locations in Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana.

Although the Columbus menu might differ from the other two kitchens, the dishes will be made from scratch, she said. (The Indianapolis menu runs from omelets to burgers, with Mexican and Asian dishes also available.)

Most prices will be in the $9-to-$13 range, Ragno said.

The food-truck culture inspired the business and its name: a grouping of different styles of cuisines cooked up fresh per order, Ragno said. The menu will cater to almost all tastes, she said.

Dine-in and takeout services will not be offered.


Pecan Penny's, a new barbecue joint, is taking over the vacant Ray Johnson Seafood Market, 111 E. Main St. in downtown Columbus.

An opening date has not been set for Pecan Penny's, whose founders own Olde Towne Tavern in Columbus' Olde Towne East and the Walrus in downtown Columbus.


Happy Dragon, 277 E. Livingston Ave. in German Village, has closed.