Maid-Rite, a DeKalb tradition offers unique food selection


A taste of Iowa has made its way into the DeKalb area.

Maid-Rite, a burger joint native to Iowa and southeastern Illinois, opened a new dine-in and carry-out restaurant in September.

Maid-Rite, 3206 Sycamore Road, is a restaurant franchise that has a history spanning over 80 years.

It was established in 1926, and is considered by the DeKalb owner Fred Turner to be a Culver’s-type restaurant with a longer tradition.

Although its theme is a ’50s-style diner, Maid-Rite has more to offer than just different ambiance and a friendly atmosphere.

“Maid-Rite is different from other restaurants for two reasons: loose meat and special spices,” Turner said.

Instead of a regular meat patty, Maid-Rite’s burgers are made with loose, ground beef.

This may make eating slightly difficult, so a spoon is included with each sandwich.

The special spices also make Maid-Rite sandwiches unique.

Turner said the store uses one packet of special spices for every 20 pounds of meat cooked, and the ingredients of the packet are unknown.

“I don’t know what’s in the packets,” Turner said. “It’s a secret recipe.”

The secret recipe works and people seem to enjoy it.

Turner said that he hears 10 to 15 stories a day from people who have had positive Maid-Rite experiences.

One of Turner’s favorite stories came from an woman who worked at a DeKalb Maid-Rite in 1948.

“She said she worked at the DeKalb Maid-Rite [in] 1948,” Turner said.

“I asked her when it closed, and she said 1949. It’s heartwarming to hear these stories.”

Maid-Rite isn’t geared solely toward the older generation.

Jacqueline Flores, freshman French business major, and Devon Harriss, freshman visual communications major, are both DeKalb residents looking for alternate dining options.

Although neither of them have tried Maid-Rite yet, they are open to the idea.

“I like to try new things,” Flores said.

“DeKalb doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to restaurants, and I’ll try anything at least once,” Harriss said.

Flores and Harriss won’t have to look far for a chance to try something new.

Turner is convinced that once someone tries a Maid-Rite sandwich, they can’t help but come back for more.

“Once you’ve had a Maid-Rite, you’re hooked,” Turner said.