I'll admit the notion of a "loose-meat" sandwich doesn't sound too appetizing (imagine a sloppy joe without the tomato slop), but when it's simply called a Maid-Rite my mouth actually starts to droll now. I've always known of the tiny Maid-Rite diner nestled in the rolling farm community of Greenville, OH (home of Annie Oakley, Kitchen-Aid, the immortal Darke County Fair), I've just never known the history behind the place. Founded in Urbandale, Iowa in 1926 (the first car-hop restaurant in the country), president Fred Angell went on to start only 4 original franchises before selling the brand. Greenville's quaint dive is one of those four. Why? That's one of the mysteries I've yet to solve. What's a "Green Wave" represent? Water or Wheat? Why is the only thing you can order in addition to your Maid-Rite or Cheese-Rite Mike Sells potato chips and mini-bottles of Little Kings Cream Ale? Why didn't they sell off the place when the chain went big-time?
I hadn't had a Maid-Rite in over a decade, but they're more than worth the 45 minute drive to nowhere (actually minutes from the Indiana border, likely why the town was painted in Pacer's gold and blue) and the additional 45 minute wait to get our order. There is usually a line out the door and a row of cars around the block -- and of course a brick wall filled with other people's gum (just stick it and shut-up about it). Basically the Maid-Rite is a smallish sandwich (slightly bigger than a slider) on a sweet, unadorned bun. Inside is the aforementioned loose-meat (seasoned with a secret recipe -- possibly cinammon), pickle, onion, and mustard. It's easy to eat four or five of these with feelings of guilt and grease minimal. The smell stays around for a while, though after you've finished it's almost a welcomed scent. There's certainly a lot of planning and time invested in obtaining the sacred burger, then again Roseanne Barr would fly in specifically to get these things, so a relaxing cruise through Midwestern Ohio is minor for the prize involved.