Maid-Rites are a popular Midwestern loose meat sandwich, and are full of savory goodness. This is my version!


I had a pretty good day today, until I almost threw my phone out the window.

I was on the line for what seemed like HOURS with tech support for a software program at work this afternoon – already irritated that I couldn’t figure out the answer to my problem myself – when the support woman started humming. Humming! Humming on and on and on for minutes at a time!

There’s nothing more infuriating then being infuriated in the first place, then have someone act blatantly carefree on the other end of the line. Maybe it’s just me.

I relieved some of the stress with a killer workout session.

  • 30 minutes 3-2-1 workout. 3 minutes @ 7.0, 2 minutes @ 7.5, 1 minute @ 8.0 and repeat 4 times. Total: 3.5 miles in 30 minutes with a 5 minute warm up and 1 minute cool-down.
  • 10 minutes stair climber at level 10. Oooo, my glutes! I needed it from sitting in my chair all day!

In other news, it’s time for another edition of You Know You’re From the Midwest When… (check out editions one, two & three!) You know you’re from the Midwest when you don’t say “Maid who??” when I tell you Maid-Rites were on the menu tonight!


Maid-Rite, a popular Midwestern restaurant, specializes in “loose meat” sandwiches, aka seasoned ground beef on a warm bun. I know. Sounds… crazy?! It is, a little, I suppose – but I totally dig ’em! And NO they’re not sloppy joe’s!

I had to laugh when Ben told me a story about a co-worker who was visiting from the east coast last month and was asking people where she should eat while in town. Someone suggested Maid-Rite and was trying to explain the sandwiches to her…

“So it’s a sloppy joe then…”

“No, there’s no sauce.”

“So it’s just meat?”

“Yeah, but it’s seasoned.”

“But it’s still just ground beef…”

“Right, but it’s really good. Just trust me!”

HA! I can totally hear this converstaion in my brain… Aaaanyway, my Mom has a super recipe for Maid-Rites (oh also, you can just call them “maid-rites” and everyone will know what you’re talking about) so I cooked some up for dinner!



Serves 4-5


Maid-Rites are a popular Midwestern loose meat sandwich, and they're full of savory goodness. This is my version!


  • 1lb 85/15 ground beef (could use 80/20 - just not super lean)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 beef bullion cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons steak sauce
  • Buns


  1. Sauté beef and onions until cooked then drain and return to pan. Add the rest of the ingredients then simmer for 30 minutes and scoop onto buns.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


SO easy, right?! I always get my maid-rites with a squeeze of cold ketchup and salty pickles. Perfection I tell you. Totally a crowd pleaser too – everyone will love these.


You should always get Maid-Rite’s crispy, shoestring fries with your sandwich, so I made my own version – crispy sweet potato fries!


Slice 1 sweet potato into fries.


Dredge in 2 egg whites whisked with cinnamon and salt,


then roll in panko bread crumbs.


Line ’em up like a little potato army and bake for 30 minutes @ 425 degrees.


Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have enough panko on there – a little goes a LONG WAY!


Look at the crispiness!


These were seriously louder than a potato chip!


They were actually on the verge of being too crispy – I scraped my mouth up a bit…


The taste was ace though. Sweet, cinnamony and salty. Awesome!


Bring a taste of the Midwest to your home, won’t you?


Ben brought me a Milky Way Simply Caramel candy bar home from work for dessert tonight. Told you I couldn’t stay away from candy for too long… Hmph!

Have a great night!


Fill in the blank “You know you’re from (fill in your city/state here) when…”

Alternatively, do you have any unique local or regional dishes?

Iowa, of course, is know for their corn and pigs. NOT POTATOES – that’s Idaho (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten that!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


1 2 3
  1. OMG MAID RITE!!!!!! I freaking LIVED on Maid Rites in college!! We had 2 near school and we’d go there for a “real” dinner… you just made my night!!!

    • Mary Engel 12.15.2012

      Some of you Iowans may remember when Rosanne Barr (Arnold at the time) opened a loose meat restaurant in Eldon, Iowa. It didn’t last long, but it was good!

    • Virginia Reierson 02.21.2014

      My husband and I lived in Iowa when he was in grad school at Iowa State and we used to stop at a little place between Ames and DesMoines for Maid Rites. We both loved them. I tried your recipe and we both enjoyed them very much. Thanks.

  2. Mellissa 11.01.2010

    Growing up in Wisconsin cheese curds were always the big thing, it is amazing that in other parts of the country people have never heard of them!

  3. Sarah 11.01.2010

    Cheesecurds and brats are big where I’m from! I’m from WI. I’ve never heard of maid-rites. They look delicious though!

  4. Jessica F 11.01.2010

    I’m from the mid-west and have never heard of maid-rites….strange… maybe it’s that I’m a city girl??

  5. Miranda 11.01.2010

    I have never heard of those and I am from Kansas, must be an upper midwest thing. But I am totally going to make them, look delish and will be a kid pleaser I am sure!

    • Barbara 03.08.2014

      I lived in iowa for almost all my life ,and I remember the maid rites , Always had them on suday night comming back from grandma’s But they were great Iam going to fix these and find out how good this recipe is.

      • Mary Louise 08.09.2015

        We got Maid-Rites in Phoenix about 25 years ago and had one close to our house. Got them all the time till we moved further away. Think I’ll make them tonight even thought kids are long gone now. Delicious and easy.

  6. Lauren 11.01.2010

    You know you’re from PA when you say “PA”. I find that we are the only state that uses it’s abbreviation in conversation.

    I love the idea of crispy sweet potato fries. What a fantastic looking meal.

    • Jen 11.01.2010

      HAHA you’re right! I never really thought about that, but we do that, don’t we? LOL

  7. Melanie 11.01.2010

    I’m originally from Sioux City, and while we’ve heard of Maid-Rites, we have our own names for that type of sandwich! Tastee Inn-and-Out is the loose meat sandwich joint of our area (and also serves a-mazing onion chips and dip), so the seasoned loose meat sandwiches are generally called tastees or just loose meats! Also, we never say sloppy joes – we have taverns (which probably aren’t quite as saucy as sloppy joes). I *think* that name came from a long, long ago local restaurant called Yield Taverns. But, that is still what everyone calls them!

    Side note is that my mom has great recipes for both, and when I was little and requesting what kind I wanted for dinner, I would specify either the “gray meat” or the “red meat” kind. Yuck!

    • Amber 11.02.2010

      What about Miles Inn in Sioux City and their taverns? Delicious!!

  8. Kristin 11.01.2010

    You know you are from rural Iowa when a traffic jam is getting stuck behind farm equipment on the hyway.
    Maid-rites are ok. I didn’t really grow up with them in SW Iowa so I know what they are but don’t seek them out. I really like the Pork Tenderloin the size of your head that local places serve though.

    • :) Totally agree about the traffic! I live in SE Iowa and always wish I had a camera on me when I get stuck behind the tractors on my way to work.

    • Mary Engel 12.15.2012

      OMG……I was born and raised in the Quad Cities, and I love their breaded tenderloins. Have lived in Texas for the past 30 years…….no sign of tenderloins here!

      • Laura OBrien 07.13.2013

        OH you poor baby, I feel for ya girl. Being from Muscatine where Maid Rites started I live off of those tenderloins…they’re still soooooo good!

      • Leslie Rizzo 01.03.2014

        I know your pain girl…when ever we’re back in the Quads…a trip to any Made Rite is a must…as is a visit to Sports Fans.

  9. Liz @ Blog is the New Black 11.01.2010

    Wow, those look DELISH!!!! Boston is known for it’s clam chowdah and Boston Creme Pie!

  10. susu henderson 11.01.2010

    Being from Texas~ I have to go with beef brisket! It’s a winner all the way around! Also- Tex-Mex anything is always a smash hit- cause it’s the REAL DEAL! MMM salivating NOW :) Can’t wait to try your recipe–it would definitely be a hit in my house:)

  11. I’ve never even heard of maid rites!

  12. oh my – that dish looks tasty!! hehe and I had to giggle at you super large soy sauce bottle!!!

  13. Veruska 11.01.2010

    Dear IGE,
    I’m an afecionado of your blog, and whilst I’ve been checking it every day for a while now, I’ve decided to leave my comment only now, because I really liked how you pictured Midwest in this post (both in pixels and in words!). I am Italian, and after spending 4+ years in CT, I’ve recently relocated back to where I was born, between Milan and Switzerland (a place “surrounded” by lakes). Here, like everywhere in Italy, we have several typical local foods, but if I had to pick one, I’d say the king is risotto. Nevertheless, I am happy to share that we also have something which we call in our lingo “polenta e bruscitt’ which is very Iowan: that would be your “maid-rites” combined with polenta (corn flour) instead of bread. Something which is quintessentially Lombardy, though, is (still lingo): “cassoeula” = pork and cabbage. All these dishes have heavy Austrian/German influence, and more often than not, French-like names: that’s because all the Northern part of Italy, up to mid 19th century, was split between those two empires, before conquering independence. You know you’re from this part of Italy when you know how to cook the dishes I mentioned above to perfection (and can even pronounce their names in the local dialect)! Keep up the great work with your blog!

  14. b 11.01.2010

    I think maid-rites are an Iowa thing. In WI there is a sloppy-joe like thing they call bbq (just ground beef with a sauce, but different than sloppy joe sauce). I went to college in the MN and there was always a debate among the MN/WI/Ia contingency about hotdish vs casseroles and mint chocolate chip vs peppermint bonbon ice cream.

    Love maid-rites!

  15. Abby 11.01.2010

    My first job when I was 15 was at a Maid Rite! The one in Valley Junction haha. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe out sometime!

  16. Jean 11.01.2010

    Love the Maid-Rites! Very few of these located in MN, but I like to try and find one when I am passing through IA. Good stuff! And wow, those sweet potato fries look insane! I must make them. Thanks for the recipes!

  17. Ashley 11.01.2010

    I grew up on Maid-Rites as my family is from the home town and my friend’s grandparents own the place! As un-healthy as the shakes are, I always have to add one in when I have a maid-rite :).

  18. Weird! I’m from the Midwest (MO) and never heard of this sandwich! I feel cheated!

    • lauramich 11.02.2010

      Yep, I’m in MO, too—I think that Maid-Rite is an Illinois/Iowa thing.

    • Julie 08.27.2012

      There is a maidrite in West Plains and Rolla in MO

  19. Dana 11.01.2010

    BOOK MARKING THIS PAGE!!! those fries look so good

    Dana xo

  20. Erin 11.01.2010

    In Omaha/Lincoln/Fremont Nebraska, we know those sandwiches as Tastees!

  21. jad18 11.01.2010

    Maid-rites are an iowa thing. I have lived in several midwest states and never heard of them before I moved to iowa. They are good, though.

  22. Sara 11.01.2010

    My mom grew up near Marshalltown and I’ve been eating Maid-Rites my whole life! They’re so much better than a sloppy joe. If you’re ever over in eastern Iowa, check out the Stone City General Store in Stone City. They serve a wicked good appetizer with sweet potato fries (marshmallow fluff on the side) and fried cheese curds. DELISH!

  23. You know you’re from the midwest when….
    You actually KNOW the geography of the united states, including the middle of the country

    St. Louis is known for gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, and imos pizza (made with provel cheese!)

    Also, Panera started in St. Louis and the chain is still called St. Louis Bread Company here!

    • heather 11.01.2010

      i have no idea what it is, but gooey butter cake sounds like something from a wonderful childhood dream. i’m envious.

  24. heather 11.01.2010

    i had to look maid-rite up(i usually do when you mention something midwestern…and i salivate all the while). it turns out there’s a slew of “-rite” sandwiches that they create. do you ever try any other flavors?

    “you know you’re from new jersey when—-” : when you see silly stereotypes of yourself all over the tv, LOL. also when you go down the “shaw” instead of to the “beach”.

    what’s the ETA on your trader joe’s, by the way?

    • Jen K 11.02.2010

      ETA – November 5. I drive by every time I’m out that way.

  25. Hannah 11.01.2010

    Maid rites!!!!! Nom nom nommy :] My mom grew up in Iowa, I lived there till I was seven. Best.Sandwich.Evaaaa.

  26. sharon weaver 11.01.2010

    I love me a maid-rite and so i will be trying your mom’s receipe to see how it compares.

  27. That dinner looks KILLER! It’s a must-make STAT.

    Let’s see…
    You know you’re from Portland, Oregon when you’re rather die than be seen with Starbucks coffee because it’s too Seattle and “American corporate” AND when the more your outfit looks like you pulled it out of a free box in someone’s lawn and threw it together in the dark, the better.

    Oh Portland, you’re one of a kind.

  28. Those fries look outta this world!!

  29. Emily 11.01.2010

    1) The phrase “loose meat” sandwich makes me crack up!
    2) I’m from Ohio (which we categorize as the Midwest…but if you look at a map there’s nothing “West” about Ohio), and there are no Maid-Rites here. Might have to try your version.
    3) You know you’re from Ohio when someone says “O-H!” and you turn around and yell, “I-O!” making the symbol for both I and O with your arms over your head. It’s a total reaction.
    4) You ALSO know you’re from rural Ohio when your local hang out is a Subway…the only fast food restaurant for miles and miles. :)

  30. Dani 11.01.2010

    You know your from Cincinnati when…………you love a 3-way and it has nothing to do with sex. Good ole Cincinnati chili at Skyline Chili. Yum! Another Cincinnati favorite goetta. I am not a fan but about everyone else I know is. I’ll be trying Maid-Rite this week with the IGE recipe. Thanks!

    • Rachel 11.01.2010

      :) I was going to use the 3-way example! Don’t forget Graeter’s Ice Cream!

  31. Amber 11.01.2010

    My mom made Maid-Rites for dinner regularly too! So yum! Gonna have to pick up stuff for this meal soon cause now I’m craving it. It makes great leftovers too. Gotta love that! :)

  32. Mary 11.01.2010

    Fave local/regional dish . . . Shrimp and Grits!!! Mmmmmm :-)

    I’d never heard of a maid-rite before. I’m another east-coast girl who just doesn’t get it :-)

  33. Jana 11.01.2010

    If we want loose meat sandwiches in the Wichita KS area, we just go to NuWay. It’s a fast food place thats been around forever here. They put pickles and mustard on them, not ketchup. Also they make their own root beer which is awesome too! You know your from Kansas when they say “where’s Toto”? And they always think they’re the first person to say it too!

  34. Kristin from MN 11.01.2010

    I’m from MN and I have never heard of a maid-rite. I want to try your fries! Mmm! You know you’re from MN when you know what a beef commercial is, eat hotdish instead of casserole, drink pop instead of soda and look forward to eating pork burgers at the county fair! :)

  35. I grew up in MN and have lived in Iowa for nearly 5 years. I never knew what a maid-rite was before I got here, and since I’ve been here I have never tried one.

    Maybe making my own version at home will happen in the coming weeks – I know my husband would die for some red meat! :)

  36. taylor 11.01.2010

    I loooooove Maid Rites! They were a must-have whenever we were at the mall!

  37. Erin 11.01.2010

    My mom always made sloppy joe’s, but as a born and bred eastern Iowa girl, I’ve had my fair share of maid-rites, too. Other very Iowa things (in my hometown anyway) are: scotch-a-roos, cheesy chicken roll-ups, taco pizza, cheesy hash-brown potato casserole and cherry fluff jello salad. Yikes, lots of gooey, cheesy dishes!

    • MOM 11.02.2010

      Those are all my favorites to make and eat too!!!

  38. Sarah 11.01.2010

    My dad is from Illinois and I so remember Maid Rite from summers visiting my grandparents! My dad made them at home ocassionally too, now I have a craving! There are so many “you know you’re from Colorado when…” Sayings most of them involve snow!!

  39. Lindsay 11.01.2010

    You know your from Ohio if you know what a buckeye is…….. and i am not talking about the college or the tree!

  40. Katie R 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from Southern California when you don a winter coat, gloves, and a hat when the temperature dips below 60 F…yet, you still wear flip flops :)

    • Lexi 11.02.2010

      I live in Iowa and wear flip flops when there is snow on the ground and temps are in single digits…no joke!

  41. Danielle 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from Florida when you can wear shorts on Christmas Day!

    Dinner looked so good! I think I may need to try those next week :)

  42. Beth @ bethcooks 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from the South when they ask you if you want Sweetened of Unsweetened Iced Tea! Otherwise, it’s just plain Iced Tea.

    We have so many staples down here, but I’d say shrimp and grits are a great local fare that is delicious!

  43. Teresa K 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from New York – well – yeah – you probably already know….ohhh – you reminded me – have to drive to the city and get those roasted chestnuts from street vendors – and pretzels, and hot do/gs….yum (because yes – the whole state is not “the city”)

  44. Kimberly 11.02.2010

    I am an Iowa girl and grew up in northwest Iowa were they have loose meat sandwiches called taverns. I am sure that if you haven’t heard of a maid-rite you have probably never heard of a tavern. (I know kinda weird that a sandwich has the same name as a bar:))
    In LeMars, IA the place to check out is Bob’s Diner (and of course Wells Blue Bunny Ice cream). Bob’s have the best taverns!
    My mother also made these throughout my childhood and still today, they are so delicious!

  45. you know you’re from philly when you know what a tastycake and wawa are

    philly is known for cheesesteaks (obv), tastycakes (google it. now), soft pretzels, and apparently also for rude/ugly people… :(

    • Lexi 11.02.2010

      Funny story about Tastycakes. I worked at a large insurance company in Des Moines and the director of my dept was from PA. He always talked about Tastycakes with one of the managers who said Tastycakes will never be better than Hostess. So one day, I get an invite to a “focus group” meeting with several other co-workers. The so called “focus group” was a taste test to compare Tastycakes with Hostess. The group as a whole decided Hostess was better but we all loved the chocolate covered cookies with peanut butter slathered on them. I’m not sure what they are called.

  46. I’m from Indiana and have never heard of Maid Rites. We consider ourselves to be midwest but I’m not so sure… maybe eastern midwest? Huh. Anyways, you know you’re from Indiana if you know the ‘song’ “there’s more than corn in Indiana…” :) I’m sure there are other things too though, but I’m back in Indiana now after 4 years at school and 2 years of working in Ohio so maybe I’m still adapting! :)

  47. monnik 11.02.2010

    I worked at a Maid-Rite in high school. Yum.

  48. Claire 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from the SOUTH when you say y’all when refering to more than 1 person (and spell it correctly,)and drink coke (not pop or soda… what are those?) I was born in Kansas City, MO but was raised in the south. Never heard of maid-rites but love me some Chick-fil-a! Maybe that is the south’s version of fast food!

  49. Mimi 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from Nebraska when you throw a fit if a restaurant doesn’t offer Dorothy Lynch dressing.

    (I don’t do that!)

  50. I have major issues trying to get my sweet potato fries crispy! Thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely have to try this.

1 2 3

Leave a Comment