(Ron Writing) We decided that there was one last place we had to visit in Springfield IL. We had lunch at the Maid-Rite restaurant. It is located in the old downtown district of Springfield. Maid-Rite is a chain of sandwich shops in the midwest, most of them in Iowa and Illinois. They were started in the early 1920's by butcher Fred Angell. He created a special cut and grind of meat, added selected spices and created a new ground beef sandwich. The sandwiches are similar to "Sloppy Joes" but without the tomato base. They became quite popular and the chain expanded to over 100 outlets.
One of the early restaurants opened right here in Springfield on old Route 66 in 1924. It has changed hands a few times but is still in business at the same location, in the same building using the same cooker and frosty mug freezer. They must be doing something right! They also claim to be the first restaurant with a drive-through window.
Even though I grew up in Iowa I'd never heard of this chain until our friend, Norm Graf, told us about them. His email last night told us about the one here in Springfield so we wanted to try it before we left today. We each had a "Cheez-Rite", which is a Maid-Rite with cheese. We both thought they were okay but actually would rather have a hamburger or Norm's mother's sloppy joes. Well at least we know!
After lunch we got Da Honu ready to roll and drove to Arthur, IL via I-72 east to Decatur, HW51 and HW121 to Sullivan, HW32 north to Lovington, and HW133 to small town of Arthur. Arthur is right in the heart of the Illinois Amish area. They are having their 35th Annual Cheese Festival here over Labor Day weekend. We plan to stay here a few days to attend the event and tour the area.
We are camped in a small 7-site RV park near the high school. It is operated by the city, has electric and water at each site and only costs $10 per night. What a deal.
On the way here today we saw farmers picking corn for the first time this year. Seems pretty early for that. We've seen several Amish folks driving around in their horse drawn buggies already this afternoon. There is also a baseball field in this park where we are staying and one of the players in tonight's game had his horse & buggy tied-up here at the field.
This evening the cook whipped up Sam Choy's Japanese eggplant with garlic-chili sauce. Elena's version has an array of other vegetables added. It was as good as it looks. Amazing what comes out of our miniature kitchen!