Maid-Rite, the first Drive-In

The first Drive-In service and car-hops were at Maid-Rite. There are a number of Maid-Rite Restaurants, best known for their loose meat sandwiches. Travelers who stop by some Maid-Rite restaurants, may experience different seasoning on the loose meat sandwiches, different menus, and pricing.

Walking into the Lexington, Missouri Maid-Rite is to step back in time. The Maid-Rite is easy to find: 401 Main St, 660-259-4444, Mon-Sat, 10 am-10 pm; Closed Sunday. There are new franchises being built, but the Lexington Maid-Rite is an original, built in 1945.

loose meat sandwiches

loose meat sandwiches are Maid-Rite

The story behind the name “Maid-Rite” is that Fred Angell asked a deliveryman to taste the loose meat sandwich. After a few bites, the taster said “You know, Fred, this sandwich is just made right.” Thus the sandwiches’ name was born.

Maid-Rite is America’s first quick service casual dining franchise restaurant. It opened as a single restaurant by butcher Fred Angell in 1926. Angell and his son opened a second restaurant with a “car hop” concept. A&W restaurants and White Castle quickly followed with that same Drive-In concept.

Today, you can find Maid-Rites in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.

In Lexington Missouri, all the staff has worked at the tiny Maid-Rite for years. Take for example,  Eddie. Eddie has been at the grill for 16years. Owners Eddie and Linda Burkhart have remained faithful to the original recipes. The food is good, simple, affordable and made right.

If you have a road trip planned through America’s heartland, keep an eye out for Maid-Rite. You’ll want to drive into the place that invented drive-in service. Order from your car, or come in and have a seat at the counter on the old, well-worn red stools at the counter.

Best of all, each Maid-Rite loose meat sandwich comes with a spoon so you can eat every bit of the loose meat that falls out of your sandwich.


Owner Eddie Burkhart never looks at the menu. He has every Maid-Rite order memorized.

Learn more about historic Lexington and Battle of Lexington State Historic Site.

New franchises will have different pricing and menu. Eddie’s restaurant is the real thing.

The new restaurant franchise.

More Striped Pot Civil War by Patsy Bell Hobson



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