Maid-Rite Diner—founded in 1926 and one of the nation's oldest franchise restaurants—has targeted Chesterfield as the perfect location to sell their ground beef sandwiches. Also called loose meat, Tavern or a loose hamburger sandwich, think of it as a Sloppy Joe without all the slop. You may recall Roseanne Barr sold them at her diner on her television show, Roseanne.
“They're similar to Sloppy Joe's, but they aren't drenched in sauce,” said Tania Burt, Executive Vice President of Maid-Rite. “Instead, flavorful seasonings are used. Our sandwiches are one of a kind.”
The legend of how Maid-Rite was founded bears repeating. In 1926, founder Fred Angell—a butcher in Muscatine, Iowa—used to sell loose meat sandwiches from his shop. One day Angell created a unique spice blend and asked a delivery man to taste his newest sandwich creation. After a few bites, the delivery man said, “You know, Fred, this sandwich is made right.” And Maid-Rite (apparently Fred couldn't spell-rite) was born.
But don't let the spelling get in your way. The name Maid-Rite is becoming as generic for loose-meat sandwiches as the brand name Kleenex is for any brand of tissues.
There's more than one kind of loose meat sandwich served at Maid-Rite too, like the Taco, BBQ Texas and Philly Cheese-Rite. Maid-Rite also features tenderloin, chicken and fish sandwiches, and classics such as Nathan's Famous hot dogs, hand-dipped malts and shakes, slow-smoked turkey breast and hand-rubbed, slow-smoked pulled pork.
With 70 locations nationwide and growing, there may be more to Maid-Rite's success than just great tasting food. This stuff is actually kind of healthy.
“Our beef comes from the Midwest,” Burt said. “It's the best cattle in the world, and our ground beef blend is proprietary. Then it's steamed, not fried. Our French fries are natural and fried in all-natural oil. It has no cholesterol, no trans fats, and is completely non-carcinogenic. People can actually feel good about eating our fries.
The all-natural oil used is Mel-fry oil, a proprietary blend of canola and soy oils , made through a patented extraction process similar to how high-quality extra virgin olive oil is made. “The government doesn't require the high health standards we are committed to, but we feel better about it,” Burt said.
Burt points out that the average ticket amounts is only $6.75, so it's an affordable dining option for residents, and it's a great time to open a Maid-Rite with rents so low. Maid-Rite businesses are designed to fit into any existing space whether it's a strip mall or other existing building.
The standard start-up package for a Maid-Rite Diner can be as low as $240,000 for a 1250 sq. ft. floor plan, which includes equipment and furniture leasehold improvements, working capital and the franchise fee. There is a free-standing Maid-Rite building available, but at a considerably higher cost.
“We do have a free-standing building, but you're talking about a million bucks investment,” said Burt.
If your appetite as been whetted to take this rare opportunity and open a Maid-Rite Diner in Chesterfield or elsewhere in St. Louis County, contact President and CEO of Maid-Rite, Bradley Burt, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (515) 276-5448. I will only add that these Maid-Rite folks are mighty nice.
It's kind of food news. Anna Kournikova wants you. The Biggest Loser will be holding auditions at Chesterfield Mall on August 12 for season 13 of the NBC inspirational weight-loss show. It could be your ticket to 15 minutes of fame and a small fortune; the winner takes home $250,000. What will you do with the money? Hmmm. You can always open the first Maid-Rite Diner in these parts and eat all the loose meat sandwiches your skinny heart desires. And do have fries with that.