"I'm retired, so I only work seven days a week"
Ray Klein is the creator & owner of Ray's Grill, Coho & Treehouse on the Stanford Campus. Ray enjoys making his restaurants a fun place for students to hangout, study and most importantly eat!
Written by Laurie Karzen
Born in a small town in Pennsylvania, Raymond Lee Klein attended college in Chicago and subsequently began his career in the real estate business there.
After initially remodeling brownstones in the Old Town area, Ray started The Littlestone Company (TLC), and when HUD launched moderate-income housing projects under President Johnson, Ray became the first developer to build these large-scale apartment complexes in the Chicago suburbs. With the attention and commitment to tenant satisfaction that would become a hallmark of Ray's business ethics and a significant contributor to his success, TLC became the second largest property management company in the United States by the late 1970's.
After leaving the Midwest and heading to Santa Barbara, California, Ray continued in real estate development, substantially growing his property management company until he turned his energy and focus to the restaurant business. He founded Pollo Rey, a franchise of 18 Mexican food restaurants. After Pollo Rey merged with Una Mas, creating a 40-unit restaurant chain in 1997, Ray served as the chairman until the chain was sold.
In addition to the Pollo Rey/Una Mas chain, Ray developed several individual restaurants in California, beginning with The Famous Enterprise Fish Company in Santa Barbara and including the acclaimed Tartine Bakery and Café in San Francisco. Now semi-retired, Ray currently oversees three restaurants on the Stanford University campus, which serve over 1,200 students each day. He likes to say, "I'm retired, so I only work seven days a week." In his free time, Ray is a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.