Growing up in Wisconsin, I didn’t know anything about loose meat sandwiches or Maid-Rite. The first time I ever heard of them was on the sitcom Roseanne. I eventually had one for myself when I drove to the Quad Cities to spend New Year’s with Kristin while we were in graduate school. We stopped for lunch one day at a Maid-Rite, starting a long tradition of Maid-Rite visits whenever we were back. We found several versions of recipes, all claiming to be the “real” Maid-Rite, but none of them were quite right… or should I say rite?
Needless to say, we were quite surprised to read recently that a Maid-Rite was coming to St. Louis. Someone posted online the other day that they drove by the new location in Ferguson and saw that it was open. Once we read that we knew where we were going to have lunch today.
Ferguson isn’t very far from where we live in Maryland Heights, so it didn’t take long to get there. The area they are in on South Florissant Road appears to be undergoing some significant renovations. Maid-Rite shares a building with a Quizno’s, Mexican Restaurant, and a Curves (does it seem odd to put a Curves next to these restaurants or is it actually a genius move on their part?). We parked in back and went in the back door, passing a nice outdoor seating area for the restaurant. Unlike the Maid-Rite in Moline, you order at the counter and they bring your food to the table.
The menu is pretty typical, with all the classics on the menu. In a twist they also offer Godfather’s Pizza as well. Kristin had a Cheese-Rite, and I ordered the Mega-Rite. Onions and pickle only, hold the ketchup and mustard. Kristin was speechless when she was asked whether she wanted her Cheese-Rite on a white or wheat bun. Wheat bun? We also elected to upgrade our side of fries to… fried cheese curds! Little by little the world outside of Wisconsin is starting to appreciate those little golden balls of awesomeness that are cheese curds.
When our order was ready, it was time for the big test. Will it taste the same? The answer is yes. The meat had that great flavor and was browned enough to make it nice and crisp. And the cheese curds were great as well. The oil they use to fry the curds is trans-fat and cholesterol free, so eat up! OK, maybe not every day, but once in a while won’t kill you.
While we were there, a family was leaving and stopped to talk to the owner. Turns out the father was from Davenport, and he was excited to finally have a Maid-Rite in St. Louis. Of course Kristin had to share that she was from Moline, so it was a mini Quad Cities homecoming and everyone bonded over the shared love of loose meat sandwiches.
We stopped to chat with the owner on our way out as well. He recommended the pizza on a future visit, pointing out that they are all made fresh and baked on site, nothing frozen. He also said that they just started getting the pork tenderloin in and that it is better than any one else in the area. I do enjoy a good pork tenderloin sandwich, so I’ll have to give that a try next time.
So, if you’re a fan that has been pining for a Maid-Rite, head over to Ferguson (250 S Florissant Rd to be specific) and satisfy your craving. Check out their web site (http://www.maidritediner.com) for more info. They don’t have menus up yet, but they should be up shortly.
You can also check out the corporate web site (http://www.maid-rite.com). Most of the site is focused on franchise opportunities, but they do list all of the new locations as well as sell Maid-Rite merchandise.