Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cruise Spot: The Maidrite Drive-In, Greenville, OH

O.k...I've been thinking a lot about warmer weather and cruising lately. It's the only thing a guy CAN do to keep his sanity with this midwest weather! This winter has been crazy! We'll have a day or two of unseasonably warm weather, followed by subzero wind chill and 3 or 4 inches of snow.

At any rate, there are a few locales in my "neck-of-the-woods" that are worth the drive when it comes to cruisin', nostalgia, and good food. (heck...I'm starting to sound like the guy from Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins!) One such locale is known for miles around. It is located in Greenville, Ohio. (If you are unfamilar with Greenville...check your history books...It's the birthplace of Annie Oakley and Lowell Thomas. It is also the site where the Treaty of Greenville was signed.) More's the hometown of Matt Light, current offensive lineman for the England Patriots.

Anyway, this groovy little drive-thru is simply known as the Maid-Rite Drive-In. There are a few tables inside, but most folks line-up at the drive-thru window to get a sackful of Maid-Rite sandwiches. Maid-Rites are a small, spicy, loose meat sandwich made with hamburger and a lot of pepper. The hamburger is fried in a skillet of beer. The sandwiches are best with onion, pickle and mustard. You can also get a Cheese-Rite if so inclined.

Probably the strangest thing about this locale is the "gum wall". Since the place's establishment back in the 1940's, people coming through the drive-thru have left their chewing gum on the brick wall. Sounds disgusting, but over the years, the gumwall has grown to include several of the other walls around the building. If you look closely at the picture of the front of the place, you can even see a few pieces there.

Despite what you may think of the gum wall, the sandwiches are "out of this world"! When I was a teenager, the big thing to do on the weekends was cruise Broadway (the main drag through downtown Greenville). We would cruise through the Maid-rite and grab a couple dozen sandwiches then cruise the strip. Teenagers from all over would be sitting on the back of their cars or cruising through town with their radios up. The local authorities have since banned the teens today have no clue what it was all about.

Needless to say, I occasionally get a "hankerin'" for a few Maid-Rites and have to make a detour on my way home from work. Eating one of those little sandwiches takes me back to my youth. If you are ever near Greenville, have to make a point of finding the Maid-Rite Drive-In!

Statue of Annie Oakley "Little Miss Sureshot" that stands at the end of Broadway in downtown Greenville, Ohio

Painting depicting the signing of the Treaty of Greenville at Fort Greenville, Greenville, OH