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Mike Sula

Chicago location of the Iowa-based chain known for its loose-meat sandwiches, aka Maid-Rites.

Our Review

With nearly 60 locations across the country, most in Iowa and downstate Illinois, the 86-year-old Maid-Rite Corporation is the most visible purveyor of something called the loose-meat sandwich, a scoop of virtually unseasoned finely ground beef dumped atop a cheap steamed white bun. At the bright, shiny Lincoln Park Maid-Rite I took the precaution of ordering a "Cheese-Rite," hoping that a slice of melted Swiss with mustard and onion might lend a measure of binding (and flavor) to the exercise. Nope. At the first bite, dry, flavorless brown shingle spilled out of the bun, leaving me with a mouthful of Nerf. A pork tenderloin sandwich I'd ordered to hedge my bet was another mistake, a processed pork patty with a jacket of crunchy breading that outmassed the cheap bread and molded pork slurry by a factor of four. But this particular Maid-Rite has a specials board featuring items not listed on the corporate lineup—"Ms. Kimley's homemade chicken soup," pies from local Lovely, a Bake Shop, pulled-pork quesadillas, a pulled-rib sandwich, etc. And a special brisket sandwich wasn't all that bad: thick planks of lightly smoked brisket, juicy and tender, with a hint of pink smoke ring. As for loose meat, there's the Rare-Bit, four slices of steamed marble rye topped with beef gravel and drizzled with a thin white cheese sauce. It doesn't get any better than that, I'm sorry to report.

Mike Sula

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Price: $
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, Discover

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