Friday, August 19, 2011

The Gum Wall

As disgusting as I think gum is I did encourage Mrs. Sippi to take part in this Greenville, Ohio ritual. Heck, even I took part. Yep, for years now people have been stuccoing the walls at the Maid Rite Drive-In with chewing gum. As seen on Roadside America and even Hanna Storm of The Early Show on CBS has added to the collection.
Gum WallGreenville, Ohio may just be the most famous town you’ve never heard of.
Famous for the “Treaty of Greenville” in 1795 which put an end to hostilities between the US and several native tribes. Opening up the northwest territory.
Famous for writer and world traveler Lowell Thomas. The man who made “Lawrence of Arabia” a household name.
Famous for the gun totin’, sharp shootin’ wild west star Annie Oakley.
Famous for being the home of the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
Last, and certainly not least, famous  for loose meat sandwiches known as “Maid-Rites” and the Maid-Rite Drive-In that sells them. A midwest staple especially in Iowa.

A loose meat sandwich is like a “Sloppy Joe” but not sloppy. Like a burger but not formed. One legend has it invented in 1926 by Fred Angell of Muscatine, Iowa. Another has it invented in 1920 by Carroll Dietz of Missoula, Montana. The rumour is that this particular Maid-Rite uses a recipe developed by co-founder Louise (Weezy) Maher. A recipe that is still a closely guarded family secret. 
Angell’s franchise, now called Taylor’s Maid-Rite is not affiliated with this Maher/Trimble/Koontz family owned drive-in.

Loose meat sandwiches escaped their relative obscurity for a short time when on the TV series Rosanne her “Lunch Box” restaurant served them. Of course, they’re retreated back to the status of regional delicacy again. Go to Iowa and they’re everywhere though said to be differently seasoned.101_1065
The outside of the Maid-Rite is a simple brick box. It has a very busy drive thru window and an old fashioned neon sign over the front door.
The interior is circa 1970’s fast food. Orange furniture and paneled walls throughout. The menu is pretty simple and on a back lit menu board. Egg and chicken salad and Maid Rite’s infamous “Loose Meat Sandwiches.” 101_1068
The “Salad” sandwiches are supposedly very good but lets face it, we were here for the legendary loose meat Maid-Rites.

So how are they you ask??

The meat itself is fairly plain. So is the bun so it’s odd that the two of them elevate each other. The addition of pickle, onion and mustard make for a nice counter to the subtle sweetness.
The addition of cheese made the “Cheese-Rite” a much better sandwich. Just as adding cheese to a hamburger makes it that much better.
Of course, adding some sort of pig product it likely to elevate anything further. The Big Jim is a cheese-rite with a slice of deli ham. This was the clear winner. Suggested by someone we talked to in the drive thru line. It had the requisite pickle, onion and mustard.101_1073
They make pretty darned good milk shakes and malts. Mrs. Sippi had a very good Vanilla malted and I had a terrific peanut butter milk shake.

You can find the Maid-Rite Drive-In at 125 N. Broadway St. in Greenville, Ohio.

You can also visit them on facebook here.
 Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Well that’s all for now from the middle of nowhere Ohio. So until next time, happy eating. 


No comments:

Post a Comment