Ray’s Take-N-Bake Pizza is a place we wanted to try back in late July, but their Jackson location at the corner of Highways 49 and 88 was closed the day I called to order. On September 23, I called again only to find their Jackson number was disconnected. On my way back from running errands early that afternoon, I stopped by the location to find a sign on the door that said they had to close indefinitely after two years in Jackson.

However, their original Pioneer location was still open, so my mother and I took the opportunity to get out of town and take the 25-minute drive up the hill. We called ahead to order a large Green Thumb Veggie pizza with the money we received from recycling our bottles and cans this month.

After we enjoyed the scenery along Highway 88, we arrived at the Buckhorn Village shopping center. Ray’s is located in a small, standalone building, but the advantage is that the building has a drive-up window under a covered awning. We were able to pay and get our pizza in just a couple of minutes from the friendly employee at the window.

The baking directions on a sheet of paper that came with the pizza instructed us to remove the pizza from the round cardboard backing but keep the pizza on the baking paper between the pizza crust and the cardboard. The directions said the pizza would take between 8 and 14 minutes to bake at 450 degrees, but in our toaster oven, the pizza needed 17 minutes to bake properly.

Removing the circular, browned baking paper from underneath the pizza was as easy as holding up one end of the bottom of the pizza with a spatula and pulling out the paper.

Our Pizza

The Green Thumb Veggie pizza is topped with several fresh vegetables, most notably the slices of red onion, which I appreciated. There were also large slices of green pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives, all of which were kept snug in a thick bed of cheese.

The quarter-inch-thick crust has a thin and dense bottom edge to support all the cheese and toppings. The result is that the crust is hard to cut with a fork, and my mother had to use a steak knife to cut her pieces. I found the crust was a little harder to chew, but not so much that eating the pizza was uncomfortable.

Ray's Take-N-Bake Pizza Green Thumb Veggie slices

As I ate through my slices, I ate several bites of crust with just Ray’s house-made red sauce on top. The sauce was a little salty, but I’m not a good identifier of herbs and so I’m not sure which one Ray’s uses on their sauce. The taste of the sauce was enough for me to differentiate it between the sauce at Paisano’s Pizzeria, which is very mild, and Papa Murphy’s, which is sweet.

The crust along the outer edge is thick, but it’s also light and fluffy. I was also happy to find that the golden brown edges around the crust weren’t hard, so the crust is easier to eat. What’s more, there was a lot of cheese and even some vegetables included in the crust, which was a pleasant surprise.

The Verdict

The pizza was flavorful and the outer edge of the crust makes for great dipping if you have marinara or ranch dressing. We only had two issues with the pizza: The bottom crust that was a little harder than we expected, and we had to pay closer attention to the oven to make sure the pizza was baked properly.

In sum, we give a green light and the pizza was worth the trip. If you don’t like pizzas with a thick crust, though, then Ray’s may not have the pizza you’re looking for.

The cost for our large Green Thumb Veggie pizza was $17.

Want to Try Them?

Ray’s Take-N-Bake Pizza is open from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. Visit their website to view the menu, choose your pizza, or calculate the cost of building your own, and/or order other items like salads and desserts. When you’re ready to order, call them at 209-295-2253.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.