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!)

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  1. Krissy 11.02.2010

    My hubby is from Iowa and told me about them – last time we were back in Iowa visiting, he insisted I try the pork tenderloin sandwich, though!

  2. lauramich 11.02.2010

    As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one real Maid-Rite, the one in Quincy, IL—the one that was featured in Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt. It’s been around for over 70 years. My husband’s grandparents went there on dates as teenagers. A visit to Quincy simply isn’t complete without at least one stop for Maid-Rites. And a chef salad, with oil and vinegar dressing—it’s sweet, and loaded with little bits of onion, and I haven’t been able to duplicate it on my own. And a slice of homemade pie.

    Unfortunately, we don’t get to Quincy much since my grandparents-in-law have moved into a nursing home near my MIL. But last year, a cousin who is still in Quincy brought a sackful to a family gathering, and we all pounced on them.

  3. Jenn 11.02.2010

    Yum, those fries look amazing.

    Also being an Iowa girl I had difficulty explaining to co-workers in Texas which state Iowa is. “No, it’s not the potato state – that’s Idaho. No it’s not the Buckeye state – that’s Ohio. Maybe you should look at a map.” :)

  4. I really need to try out Panko bread crumbs. Every time you use them the food looks scrumptious!

  5. La Nae 11.02.2010 Maid-Rites! I haven’t cooked them for a very long time for my family..on the menu for tonight!! When I lived in Iowa, my dad would always take us to Maid-Rite…just seeing the paper in your blog brought so many memories back to me. I will have to get my dad on the phone and tell him we are going to Maid-Rite when I get back home. Thanks for ALL the wonderful posts!! A day doesn’t go by without us eating something from your recipes! we had your brussels sprouts, asparagus, and sweet potatoes last night. my kids ate the BS like they were popcorn!
    keep are doing great!!!

  6. Amber 11.02.2010

    In northwest Iowa, maid-rites are called “taverns.” To me, a tavern is a bar, but to each their own, I guess!! There is a tavern (bar) in Sioux City called Miles Inn that serves taverns (maid-rites) called Charlie boys, and they are are the best I have ever had! The buns are steamed and the meat is moist and delicious. They are best washed down with an ice cold beer!! If you ever get up that way, you HAVE to try them! You won’t regret it!

    • Katie 11.02.2010

      Charlie Boy’s are the best – especially washed down with an ice cold schooner! My mom has the recipe for Charlie Boy’s….the secret ingredient is cream of wheat!

      • Darin 02.17.2012

        Was wondering if you could send me the recipe for Charlie Boy?

  7. Ann 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from central Illinois when you wait an hour for a seat at your favorite restaurant to have a “Horseshoe” and think you got lucky with a short wait… all I can say is Yummy. Sounds gross, looks gross, but tastes like heaven on a plate. Traditionally it is made with 2 pieces of grilled Texas toast on the bottom, 2 hamburger patties, covered in crispy fries, covered in a cheesy welsh rarebit (sp?) sauce. I prefer a chickenbreast instead and a side a spicy buffalo wing sauce….. ummm … might have to drive the hour to get one this weekend. They do make a smaller version called a ponyshoe, lol, 1 piece toast, 1 burger. Yes it is a heart attack on a plate, but oh so good.

    And on the Maid-Rite fromt we alsways had a fresh frosty Rootbeer with ours at the little shop.

  8. Betty Jo 11.02.2010

    I live in Cincinnati, OH. We have several food items you can only get here. Skyline and Gold Star Chili compete for everyone’s business. It’s chili served over spaghetti noodles with about a pound of shredded cheese. Or you can get the chili over hot dogs (coney dogs). Personally, I have never quite acquired the taste for this chili since I’m a firm believer that chili should not have cinnamon in it! But, to each their own.

    Then, there’s Graters which has donuts, pastries, and ice cream. Everyone’s favorite is raspberry chocolate chip…again an acquired taste…just not for me! :)

    Busken’s bakeries are another staple.

    Come visit Cincy sometime! I’d love to meet you and show you around! :)

    Betty Jo

  9. I really want to try your version of sweet potato fries!!

  10. Kacy 11.02.2010

    I thought I was from the midwest, but I’ve never heard of Maid-Rites. They sound good though!

  11. whaaaaat?! I’m from the midwest (IL & WI) and this is the first time I’ve heard of Maid-Rites. Interesting!

    Now I live in STL and I’d say you know you’re from STL when you love Ted Drewes frozen custard and toasted ravioli!

  12. amazing looking sweet potato fries!! wow! I have never thought of doing anything like that! I need to try it!

    hmmm….you know you’re from northern Ontario, Canada, when you get fresh pickerel right from the lake after slapping it on the BBQ

  13. LisaL 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from New Orleans (or Louisiana for that matter) when you know how to do a barbeque shrimp po-boy. Hollow out the French bread from one end and fill the “pocket” with those delicious shrimp. That way you don’t lose any of that oh so good sauce. Also, when you know how to eat a crawfish. Crawfish Monica at Jazz Fest is the best and a good crawfish boil is–well, I don’t have the words! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  14. “You know you’re from North Dakota when tumbleweeds blow across the street, people say “don’t cha know?” (It’s not just Minnesota!), and 14-year-old persons drive next to you…legally.”
    I could give you a lot more than that, but those are three I can think of right now. We have a wicked stereotype (even worse because I live in Fargo). But despite what people think, we are nothing like the movie. :D

  15. Never heard of a Maid-Rite. I’ll have to remember this if I’m ever in your area.

    You know you’re from Massachusetts when you’ve had a lobster roll by the ocean in July.

    Specific to Southeastern, MA (where I live) would be Portuguese soup. Best.soup.ever. I plan to make it on my blog sometime.

  16. I discovered Runza sandwiches when I moved to Nebraska. And they’re surprisingly delish! Who doesn’t love fresh-baked bread stuffed with seasoned meat and cheese (Plus mushrooms – my fav!)? Also in Nebraska, people pair chili with cinnamon rolls. Who knew?

  17. Tracy 11.02.2010

    I grew up with Runzas in Omaha. Do you have those in Des Moines?

    • Lexi 11.02.2010

      I have been to them but only in surrounding states…never in Iowa.

  18. Meg 11.02.2010

    You know you’re from Wyoming when the nearest fast food/ chain store/ movie theater/ Wal-Mart is 78 miles away! As for unique dishes, I did cook bear for the first time last night; once you are able to cut through it it’s not too bad, but a very dense meat! I guess that’s what to expect from a 300-lb black bear!

  19. Elizabeth 11.02.2010

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, the only real Maid-Rite place is Taylor’s in Marshalltown. It’s been operating since the 1920s, and until recently, didn’t even have ketchup in the place. They still only put mustard, onions and pickles on it, if you want everything. And no fries of any kind, but killer malts. And good pie. Maid-rites, shakes and pie. That’s my kind of place.

    • richard Hoover 05.19.2012

      been there many times, for many years. they were the best, but know ketshup?????you have to be kidding.. I love it,, nice to hear from someone in Marshalton Iowa

    • richard Hoover 05.19.2012

      been there Liz, fabo, i just want 2 say . maid rite ,,,, WAPALO IOWA, WAS As good. My josh i could never leave town with out one. the mgr. and his wife were the very best of people u could ever meet. they have to be retired by now, BUT OH MY GOSH, Dick Hoover.

  20. kate 11.02.2010

    Ive lived in Iowa for over 3 years and have yet to have a Maid-Rite! Honestly, I still dont really get it! Haha

  21. You know you’re from Philly when you pronounce water as “Wuh-duh.”

  22. Machelle 11.02.2010

    FYI-Original Maid Rite meat is simmered in a little chicken broth, oddly enough! Gives the meat a nice flavor. That info from my former sister in law who worked there as a teenager. The spice mix was a secret pre packaged mix. And yes, everyone in the small town my sister lives in up in NW Iowa calls them Taverns. I call them Crumble Burgers…..seems like a fitting name to me! Ha! And if you ever get to the race track in Oskaloosa, Iowa try one of their crumble burgers….they are SUPER good! I know people who attend the races JUST to eat! You know you are in Iowa when the fertalizer/manure smells like money!

  23. Alyssa 11.02.2010

    I’ve lived in Detroit my whole life and never even heard of them!

  24. Bridget 11.02.2010

    I’m originally from Chicago and all there is to live for there is PIZZA! Deep dish all the way from Uno’s. That’s it. Hands down the best thing you will ever eat in your life. Now that I live in Iowa the maid-rite thing isn’t for me. However, I do love me some sweet corn!

  25. Kristin 11.02.2010

    I’m from MN and I’ve NEVER heard of Maid-rites, or a loose meat sandwich for that matter. DH and I agreed that “loose meat sandwich” sounds pretty gross. Every region of the country has it’s own “interesting” specialties (I’m more used to southern since I’ve lived in the South most of my adult life).

  26. […] Comments « You Know You’re From the Midwest… […]

  27. Erin 11.02.2010

    I have to say I’ve never heard of a Maid-Rite and I’ve been living in the Midwest (Wisconsin and North-Easter Illinois) for my entire life! I’m intrigued…

  28. Ms.S 11.02.2010

    My husband and I really love making our own sweet potato fries. We usually toss ours in some olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, and a pinch of salt. We’re big proponents of the cayenne!

    I’m going to abstain from answering your questions for today since I still consider myself from Iowa (where you live), but reside in MN (where you have lived). I’m sure I’d offer nothing new, plus my brain is kinda not syncing up well tonight.

  29. Terin 11.03.2010

    I love maidrites, I make my own at home. I am from Dubuque, IA originally and one dish I have never heard of anyone else having is turkey and dressing sandwiches. You mix turkey and dressing up together and slap it on a bun. I know it’s bread on bread, but it’s great!! :)

  30. Iowa Expat 11.09.2010

    You know you’re in KY/WV when you eat your hot dog with “sauce” and coleslaw. Additionally: biscuits smothered with sausage gravy (made with milk) or biscuits with chocolate gravy. Now I like my hot dog with mustard and relish, and my biscuits with butter and jelly, but what do I know–I’m from Iowa!

  31. Keri 11.13.2010

    Eating these sweet potato fries at I type this!! Delicious!! Thanks for sharing the idea!

  32. A long time ago a Maid-Rite owner told my dad one of his secrets to making the hamburger tender and less greasy is to cook it in Bubble Up. I dont think they make that pop (yes I am from Iowa, its NOT soda ha) so I usually use another citrus type pop. As long as its not too sugary like Mountain Dew or something like that. Sprite works ok. All of the grease and bad stuff floats to the top which you can skim off and the citrus in the pop tenderizes the meat. Sounds weird but it works great!

  33. chellie 02.03.2011

    Northwest Iowa calls sloppy joes ‘Taverns’ after the VFW taverns that served them. I now leave in eastern Iowa and realize the maidrite is NOT a tavern. BTW in SW Minnesota they call it a barbecue.

  34. Kath 02.05.2011

    I cannot wait to make this meal!!!!!! My hubs will love it!!!

  35. Kathy 03.01.2011

    I just stumbled onto your blog. Moved to Florida from SE Iowa 25 years ago. I think we go back once a year just to get our Maid Rite, Pork tenderloin sandwich and don’t forget the Broasted Chicken!!
    Can’t wait to try your Mom’s Maid Rite recipe, have tried to duplicate it many times and have failed. Hoping this is the one!

  36. […] Thankfully I hadn’t mixed it with the ground turkey before I tasted it, so I still had a full pound of 99% lean ground turkey breast on hand to make dinner with. I visited my recipe arsenal for inspiration and decided to make Turkey Maid-Rites! […]

  37. Heather 03.27.2011

    awww, maid rites! I’m from Minnesota and my dad used to make homemade maid rites (or we’d just run off to the restaurant if he had to work late).

  38. […] Eat a Maid-Rite. CHECK! Thanks to tonight’s […]

  39. Julia 08.05.2011

    You know you’re from Annapolis, MD when you put malt vinegar and Old Bay seasonings on your thick-cut, boardwalk fries. DELICIOUS!

  40. Susan 11.11.2011

    OMG, I will be in Des Moines and then on up to Marshalltown to visit relatives and we are going to Taylor’s Maidrite in Marshalltown. To die for! Thanks for the reminder!! Your recipe sounds delicious though!

  41. Jennifer 11.14.2011

    LOVE Maid-Rites!!!! I seriously cant get enough of them when I visit family back in Iowa. I actually found a Maid-Rite restaurant outside of the state, which was incredible and a relief when I was in college.

    When my mom makes them at home, we cook the beef then drain it, then add a can of diet coke…it has to be diet and it has to be coke. Then we let it boil off until the meat is dry. I dont know why but it tastes almost the same.

  42. Houston Foodlovers 11.17.2011

    Oh, Maid Rites are so good! I grew up in Kansas City, MO, (I had forgotten about Maid Rites and Pork Tenderloin sandwiches that are pounded thin and breaded. Want one right now!) and we would get them from a Maid Rite there in the 60’s & 70’s. When I first made these for my Texas family, they didn’t know what to think, expecting them to be like sloppy joe’s. Then they added lots of pickles, and now they love them. I make mine with chicken bouillon, but otherwise the same.

    Remember when Roseanne bought a restaurant serving loose-meat sandwiches on her popular sit com? That was the last time I heard of them.

    You know you are in Houston when, while eating at your fave Chicken Fried Steak place, they refill your Mason jar of iced tea, and it is so sweet you feel lightheaded. Plain tea is called unsweet. And they offer to heat up your strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert.

  43. Chris 12.02.2011

    Sorta tired of sloppy joes & wanted something different. I “googled” Maid-Rite recipe & up popped a link to IGE! Imagine my delight :-) Can’t wait to give “Mom’s Maid-Rite Recipe” a try. We used to live in a small town in S.E. Iowa & my husband would walk to Maid-Rite for lunch at least twice a week! Can’t wait to surprise him with this recipe!

  44. Katie 12.31.2011

    Can’t wait to make these! Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Kary Miller 01.02.2012

    I was born and raised in North central Iowa (Mason City to be exact). Maid-rite is one of the “have to” eats when I go back to visit my parents. I’m excited to try this recipe this week!

  46. Haley B 01.15.2012

    OK – I am late to the party – but that won’t stop me from adding my 2 cents! ;-) I hail from Middle Tennessee, Cincinnati and now Cleveland. As many have already pointed out Cincinnati is known for Skyline Chili, Graeter’s Ice Cream, LaRosa Pizza and Goetta. However just up the road in Greenville Ohio they have the Maid Rite Sandwich shop!! I have made the trek up a couple of times and really liked them. Now I don’t know if the Ohio version lives up the Iowa version – but to me they were pretty darn good!

  47. Brittany 04.18.2012

    Made these for dinner tonight and they were AMAZING!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  48. CandyOhhh 04.25.2012

    You know you’re from the Quad Cities (Iowa) when the mention of Maid-rite, Harris Pizza, Frank’s Pizza, Pepe Taco, a “Happy Joe’s Special” or The Plantation’s house salad dressing, slaps you in the face with a food memory. I can still remember all those tastes even though I moved from Iowa in ’86.

    My local Maid-rite was on Locust St. in Davenport. Although I have never seen this mentioned on any other maid-rite blog or recipe, rumor in our town was that they used coffee in the recipe. I’m sure this is because as you sat eating at the counter you could see them tending to the maid-rite meat and they would add a dark liquid from a coffee pot. Now with all I’ve read online, I’m sure this was really the “vinegar” referred to on several blogs. The “vinegar” is the mixture of the liquids used in the recipe. And the meat simmered for a long time, (a couple of hours).

    I live in Florida now and a few years ago I happened into a Mom & Pop fast food joint that had just opened and it advertised authentic Iowan maid-rites. I almost died right there out of pure excitement. The girl in the drive-thru assured me they were the real deal because the owner’s wife was from Iowa and they purchased the seasoning from the company. After my first bite I almost died again from disappointment. It was not a maid-rite and was really spicy. If the wife was from Iowa, she never had obviously never had a maid-rite cause this wasn’t one. The shop was only about a mile from the local Naval base and I’m sure that at least a few customers were from the mid-west and knew what a maid-rite was supposed to taste like. The shop closed after less than one year.

  49. […] Iowa Girl Eats.  Her mother’s recipe. […]

  50. Laura C 09.23.2012

    I may be way late on this entry, but thank you so much for having a Maid-Rite recipe posted! I have been living outside of Iowa for 22 years now, and have seriously missed Maid-Rites. I am going to give this a spin and see how the fiance likes them (any man worth his salt will love them, naturally).

    Thanks again!

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