Chicago’s “Loose Meats” Burger! Maid-Rite Makes It Messy! But CLOSED!

Chicago’s Maid-Rite Has Closed!

Sad news to report: Chicago’s only Maid-Rite burger has apparently closed….here is the article I found announcing the closure:

http://lincolnpark.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/local-maid-rite-closes-after-6-months-in-business

I wrote about this new spot late last year, and I had hoped the place would succeed – but unfortunately, it did not…

Here is what I originally posted:

Time For Some “LOOSE MEATS!”

I had never heard of either Maid-Rite OR “loose meats”, but they have arrived in Chicago, and like all good investigative reporters, I walked the four miles to the shop to check it out – FOR YOU.

Maid-Rite is a mid-west burger joint famous for its “loose meats” sandwich, and they just opened in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, located a couple of miles north of downtown Chicago.

“Too Good To Be A Patty!”

“Too good to be a patty!” With a tease like that, I was hooked, and eager to check it out for myself…Taylor’s Maid-Rite has been serving its single sandwich menu to central Iowa for 80 years. Each loose meat sandwich is made from the finest 100% choice beef available in Iowa, and all the beef is ground fresh every day. Here is the outside of the restaurant:

As they say on their website: “The recipe is simple: fresh ground-on-premises beef is steamed and crumbled in a cast iron cooker. Nothing is added but salt.”

So there you have it: a steamed burger with crumbled meat. And just to keep you interested, here is what it looks like when it shows up at your table:

Yes, it is ONE HOT MESS. But the question is: in a good or bad way?

I walked into Maid-Rite and was immediately greeted by several of the employees. They are EXTREMELY nice here: they check in on you often, always asking if everything is OK, offering to refill my drink for free…nice touches…

The menu is surprisingly extensive: a wide array of salads and sandwiches, but of course I wanted to get crumbled, so I ordered the original, with cheddar cheese, bacon, ketchup and onion…it comes with fries and a drink for $8.99…they gave me my number and I sat down to wait.

Within five minutes, this showed up:

Again, they were very friendly, and fast – and when I unwrapped the burger, this is how it looked:

As you can see, it looks like most of the “loose meat” is scattered AROUND the bun, not inside…and in fact that is true – I mean, look at the “loose meat”:

My first concern was: how do you eat this? Well, they know that as well, and every order comes with a spoon so you can scoop up the extra meat that won’t stay in the bun:

AMBROSIA! WAIT, AMBROSIA???!?!???!!!???

There is ketchup and mustard on every table, but the order also comes with a small container of Ambrosia! Yes, that classic cottage cheese, maraschino cherry thing that used to be served in the ’50’s…it is back and with a vengeance!

The Ambrosia not only HOLDS a fry well, it tastes great on one! The fries, by the way, were light and crisp, not greasy at all, and lightly fried as you can see….they had good potato flavor – what more can you ask for?

Update: I should have known something was wrong when I went back after the first of the year and the Ambrosia was gone….and nobody was in the restaurant…

And now to the “loose meat” burger. First, look at the cheese on the loose meat…

With the exception of the cheese, everything inside the loose meat is crumbled: the bacon, the onion and pickle, it all has the same shape and size, which is actually a great thing…

After looking this burger over VERY CAREFULLY, i decided I had to try and EAT it….so I reached in and grabbed hold, and took a big bite –

First thing to note: you actually keep a lot of the meat on the bun, thanks to the cheese…and I found myself holding the burger very tightly, to keep the crumbles from coming out…

The Verdict!

First of all, assume that much of the burger WON’T end up in the bun – I just reached in, grabbed the bun and hoped for the best – and you know what? The cheese helps hold a lot of it, and once you grab it, the burger stays together nicely…

And as for the flavor? It’s very flavorful – you can taste beef, and the bits of onion, bacon and pickle show up nicely…

You can see the bits of bacon mixed into the meat, and I like that you will get “bursts” of bacon flavor, and I can’t imagine trying to chew bacon while having all of the cruymbled meat around you…

all held together by the tasty flavor of cheese…

The “loosemeat” aspect of this burger is messy, unique and fun. As I said, you quickly are eating whatever has remained in the bun, helped by the holding power of cheese…and then you take advantage of that spoon and go for crumble gold…

So, at the end of the day, Maid-Rite offers a unique take on a burger that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for innovation…it’s everything you want to do when you are browing hamburger in a pan: take it and eat it, using whateveryou’ve got – a bun or a spoon – just to get all of that hamburger goodness…

Sorry to hear they didn’t survive – and hopefully Chicago will have another Maid-Rite soon!



Categories: BACON, Books / Media, Food, Food Review, Hamburgers, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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