When an old friend returns to town, the anticipation can be relentless. And so it has been since the word spread earlier this year that a new Maid-Rite would open its doors along the rapidly-growing Fifth Avenue South.
For months now, Dodgers have slowed to watch the progress as the site along this busy “Corridor of Commerce” was transformed and perhaps transported back in time.
The classic sounds of the 1950s greeted my dining companion and me as we stepped inside the door for our first of what is sure to become frequent visits to the Maid-Rite. The bright décor echoed the past, while the long lunch counter spoke of friendlier times, when a diner alone could hop up on a stool and make a new friend of the customer seated beside him at the counter.
But, hey, let’s talk about the food! It took a few minutes to study the menu board behind the counter as we were surprised at the many different and often unexpected choices. The chicken looked wonderful, and the wraps sounded tantalizing, but for our first visit back we had to stick with the classic, each of us choosing “The Original Maid-Rite Loose Meat Sandwich.”
The iconic Iowa franchise made its name on this very simple sandwich of seasoned ground beef served on a warm bun. And don’t forget the spoon to scoop up all the luscious leftover meat that spills from the bun. This little sandwich is proof positive that the best foods are quite often the most simple of dishes.
To complete our basket special, I chose the coleslaw, while my dining companion opted for the classic fries. To top it all off, I ordered a vanilla malt, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The malt was served just as it should be, with extra malt in the tall metal mixing canister.
The wait for Maid-Rite to return was worth it, as the café is charming in décor with friendly, hometown service worthy of this wonderful Iowa company.Maid-Rite
2223 Fifth Ave. South
Open daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.