For as long as I can remember, my mother has made a variation on the standard sloppy joe that is simply browned beef, condensed cream of mushroom soup, ketchup, and mustard. She said she got the recipe from a church potluck when we lived in Iowa, and my family has always called the sandwich a “maderight” – or at least, that’s how I spelled it in my head. It made sense to me, since I didn’t like the regular sloppy joe, a maderight was made the right way. Tonight, I was chatting with a friend from Iowa and mentioned that I had made this yummy sandwich for dinner. She knew exactly what I was talking about until I mentioned the ingredients. First of all, the original maid-rite (note the spelling) did not have condensed cream of mushroom soup, but it also isn’t quite like the messy sloppy joes they served in my Ohio elementary cafeterias. You can see some pictures of the sandwich at the Taylor’s Maid-Rite official website. I still love my mom’s version of this “loose meat” sandwich, but now I’m curious to know where she got the recipe with the condensed cream of mushroom soup and why she called it a “maid-rite” (or “maderight” as my mental spelling always put it).

20 thoughts on “maid-rite”

  1. I was born and raised in Grinnell, Iowa. About 3 blocks from my house was a Maid-Rite. What a treat those were. Maybe they were so good becase times were good in the 50’s and early 60’s, but they were special, and to this day, I still eat them in Washington State. It’s my own addaptation, but they seem comforting to me and all I’ve fed them too. I simply steam my burger in a double boiler, stirring like a wild man, until the meat breaks down into fine bits. I add salt and pepper and that’s basically it. I swear this is the way they USED to be made. Easy, Simple, greasy burger on a bun with mustard and dill pickle and onions. That’s just the way they came. NO SUBSTITUTIONS. I’m 53 now, and anytime I get back to Grinnell, I hit the Maid-Rite first thing. One of the last remaining old establishments in my old home town. They must be doing something right.

  2. I am just sitting here eating my maid-rite sandwich. I got the recipe from my friend who had them in PA. She cookes the meat in a little water to break down the meat into small pieces and addes Lowry’s seasoned salt and ALOT of pepper. My husband, who is a finicky* eater loves these. He likes the peppery taste. I was just thinking that I would look to see what I could about them. Thanks all

  3. Born and raised in Muscatine. During the 60’s when I was on various aircraft carriers during the war, I would dream of Maid-rites. When I would get back to the states In would make a bee-line for the nearest one….Now on the verg of geezer-hood, sitting in South Dakota, I still dream of Maid-Rites….MMMMmmm

  4. Greeting from Ohio…

    Having been born and raised in Clinton, Iowa I have been around the Maid Rite for most of my life. I miss those yummie concoctions now that I live in Ohio.

    My father, 81, tells me that we are shirt-tail relatives to the butcher who created the Maid-Rite back in Clinton, Iowa. After he moved to Muscatine, Iowa he opened his first shop.

    I believe his last name was Angel. The Maid-Rite Corporation is now located in Des Moines, Iowa and they have undergone some vast revamping. Check out new corporate website at:

    Here are a couple of links about some of the changes:

  5. During high school I worked in a Maid-Rite shop in Ogallala, Nebraska (they are still open), and cooked the Maid-Rite mixture several times a week. We cooked the ground beef in a steam table that was angled so the grease would run off, and when it was almost cooked we added the flavoring, a dark brown-colored liquid sold by the Maid-Rite company. No other seasonings were added. I have tried the faux Maid-Rite recipes with Mustard added and found them to be horrible–nothing like a Maid-Rite tastes! I still have not found a faux Maid-Rite recipe that tastes like the real thing, but am still looking!

  6. I have been eating Maid-rites since I was a small child. I was born and raised in Grinnell, IA and now live in Malcom, only a hop skip and a jump from Grinnell. I LOVE Maid-Rites and would love to have the recipe but no where have I found a good one. Nothing tastes like the real thing. If anyone ever finds out how to make them let me know!!!

  7. Just wanted to let you all know that if you’re ever in Southern Illinios, there is a Maid-Rite right here in Christopher. They have the Maid-Rite sandwich, BBQ, chili, chili dog, grilled cheese, polish sausage and hot dogs. French fries and chips are the sides and the best pie made fresh every morning.

  8. What about the maid-rite in Greenville, Ohio. It’s been their for over 70 years. I wonder what the link with Iowa is? The recipe sounds the same.

  9. As a kid in the 70’s, my Grandfather would take us kids for a Maid-Rite in Grinnell, Iowa. Didn’t
    appreciate it at the time, but now that I’m older I understand now what I was missing. Is the Maid-Rite in Grinnell still in operation? Let me know:

    What a great childhood memory!!

  10. the special sauce that an earlier post is refering to is indeed the ingreident that makes the maid-rite taste, my aunt worked at the maid-rite in moline IL. she would make these for us and the secret ingridient is just cola syrup. it used to be coke syrup but i dont think coke makes it anymore so maid-rite bottles their own. you can still buy cola syrup at walgreens, its used for upset stomach. below is a history of the sandwich from

    in 1926, when Fred Angell, a respected butcher in the Quad Cities area combined a special cut and grind of meat with a selected set of spices, he created the one and only Maid-Rite sandwich. As legend goes, Mr. Angell asked a delivery man, at his restaurant in Muscatine, Iowa, to taste his newest sandwich creation. After a few bites, the taster exclaimed, “You know, Fred, this sandwich is just made right.” Thus the signature sandwich name was born. Maid-Rite has withstood the test of time for over 76 years. The first four original franchises granted in the 1920’s are still in operation today and now third generation family members are operating family-owned Maid-Rite’s. Maid-Rite is one of America’s first quick-service, casual dining franchise restaurants. They were ahead of their time as one of the first places to have drive-up, walk-up windows for customer convenience. Maid-Rite restaurants are located mainly in Iowa and the throughout the Midwest.

    and cola syrup can be purchaced from walgreens

  11. I am from Brownstown Indiana. My husband Ed and his whole family worked at the Made-Rite in Seymour, Indiana in the late 60’s early 70’s when he was in elem. school (talk about starting working early in life) he loved the sandwich and would love for me to be able to make them the “rite” way. He has talked about the steam table they used being slanted and he talks about the special mixture that was put into them. I read the last post and was wondering how much of this cola syrup I should mix into a pound of beef? I am ten years younger than my husband and my family hardly ever went out to eat when I was little, so I don’t know what a “real” made-rite taste like. So I can’t surprise him with it until I know how much to add. I wouldn’t be able to go by my taste alone. Since I have never tried the real thing. Made-rites are a big deal around this part of the country with the older folks. I am not sure when the shop in Seymour closed down, but it was in the 70’s I think. I wish I would have ask my Mother-in-law how to make them when I had the chance. She and the owner of the shop have passed away.

  12. I love maid rites! I found a recipe that I tried just lastnight and to my surprise it was delicious. Nothing beats the real thing. But boy, was I impressed. Oooh the memories our childhood brings.

  13. I used to eat at the maid-rite shop in Bemidji, Mn. I loved them. I think there was a shop in Madison,wisconsin too………they have been around since I can remember… love em..

  14. Sheila- you can order Maid=Rites to be delivered. My Mom calls the one in Marshalltown, Iowa and they ship them out. We get them for every birthday (1 dozen Maid Rites). Believe me, we look forward to getting older when it means we get Maid-Rites! I think one dozen are about $75. And they freeze beautifully. We stretch them out for months.

  15. I have been eating Maid Rites in Greenville, Ohio since I was in my early teens. Nothing can beat the taste.
    It’s always the same. You have to have at least 3. I live in Texas now, but that’s the first place I go when back in Ohio.

  16. I called about the Maid-Rite in Greenville Ohio and the frachises eveywhere. They are not the same I am told. My sister who live in Troy Ohio says the Maid-Rite in Greenville is sooo much better than the franchise in Piqua Ohio. So who has been around longer? Who really is the original Maid-Rite? What year did the one in Greenville Ohio open? Anyone know anything about this? Please help.

  17. To anyone interested…. There is now a Maid-Rite in Arlington Texas on Matlock. Ste 155
    8021 Matlock Rd, Arlington, TX 76002-6703
    (817) 472-9191

  18. There is also a maidrite in St. Cloud, MN. They are so good. I want to make them tonight and was looking for a true recipe. I did find one that says to add a can of coke. I wonder if that would be good if you don’t have coke syrup? I will try it and let you know. If anybody has the actual recipe, I would love to have it.

  19. Sadly, the Maid Rite in Arlington, TX looks to be closed as of 1-17-2011. Posted on the door is the following: “This suite has been locked out due to non payment of rent…”. There was evidence of furniture and fixture dis-assembly going on. There is mention of a New Location in zip code 76017 Maid Rite’s site due to open in March, but there is no address given. My mother’s parents lived in Rock Island, so I got exposed to these things somewhat regularly and grew to love them.

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