Thursday, January 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Maid Rite Drive-In - Mt. Vernon, IL

Maid-Rite Drive-In, Mt. Vernon, IL ca 1957
I bought this postcard of the Maid Rite Drive-In in Mt. Vernon, IL where I grew up and I swear I remember this place from my childhood, but can't picture where it is.  According to obituaries in the Mt. Vernon Register News, it was owned and operated by Fred and Rosemarie Lampp for many years.  Rosemarie died in 2005 and Fred in 2008.  I also found this information on another blog site, Jerry's Place,  and according to the poster the restaurant was "out on old Fairfield Road around the next curve was the Maid-Rite Cafe. It would have been next door west to what is now a radio/television supply company. The building was a pre-fab military surplus building made of plywood and had flat steel bracing. I think the old concrete pad is still there where the building used to be. It was a sit down eating place , not a drive-in, that had a full menu and the first place I ever saw them sell the sandwich known as the "Maid-Rite".

The back of the postcard says "Closed Mondays, Specializing in Tendorized Hickory Barbecued Ribs (the Rib that's different--there's meat on it), Barbecued Pork Tenderloin, Beef and Chicken.  Steaks, Chops, Chicken Dinners.  Variety of good Sandwiches.  Phone 501 for Quicker Service on dinners or sandwiches.  Will also furnish Food for Picnics or Parties.  Courteous Service."  The postcard was mailed and is dated December 1957.  There is also a name and return address of 747 Fairfield Road which may be the address of the Maid-Rite.

CORRECTION:  After receiving a comment from a reader who pointed out there was a Maid-Rite Drive-In on 10th Street in Mt. Vernon, I did some more research and found newspaper ads and articles between 1951 and 1957 showing a Maid-Rite Drive-In located at 751 Fairfield Road, Grover C. Cook, Proprietor.  In May of 1957 it appears the contents were placed for sale.  Starting in 1961 I found ads for a Maid-Rite located at 10th and Conger, Fred and Rosemarie Lampp, owners.  So my information above that the Lampps were the owners of this property seems to be incorrect, instead it was Grover C. Cook.  Thanks for commenting!  1/11/12


  1. Hi Teresa. I remember the Maid Rite in Mt. Vernon, a drive-in out on south 10th street. I don't remember it looking like this postcard. The building in the postcard reminds me of the Maid Rite in DuQuoin, or Christopher, I can't remember which, that my Dad would take me to when I traveled around Southern Illinois with him for his real estate appraisals. The building in Mt. Vernon was much more unobtrusive. I've done some google searches and can't find any photos of the building I remember.

  2. Jane, thanks for your comments. I just ran a search on and come up with a number of hits for the Maid-Rite at 751 Fairfield Road between 1951 and 1957. It could have been there longer but the service does not have all issues. One of the ads says Grover C. Cook, Proprietor. In May 1957 there was an ad to sell all the assets and equipment of the restaurant. The next year the Maid-Rite is mentioned is 1961 and the address is 10th and Conger, Fred & Rosemarie Lampp, owners. So I am going to surmise from this that either the Lampp's bought the equipment and started a new Maid-Rite or there were two all along. Thanks for point that out to me - I had no idea there was one on 10th street.

  3. The Maid Rite was located on S. 10th St. on the corner. Next to it was a church Bethel Tabernacle. The Maid Rite was on the S.E. corner and across from it on the N.E. corner was Claudes Shell.

  4. Teresa the Maid Rite on the corner of 10th and Conger was a poplar place to go in the 60's. Bob Green and his wife ran it then but was probably started with the Lampp's. I remember Tom and I going there on dates. There were car hops. Judy Green Osborn was his daughter and I think she know works in the Recording dept at the Court House.

    1. Thanks, Mary Jane, wish I had a photo or post card of the Maid-Rite on 10th as well! I don't remember ever seeing this one for some reason.

  5. Hi Teresa- I well remember the Maid Rite in Mt Vernon. It was just north of 10th and Perkins on the left hand side headed south. If you remember Beechie Brumbaugh's gun store, it was almost right across from there. My grandmother used to take me there sometimes. She could make 'em almost as good in her kitchen and I try to make them at home every now and then- finely crumbled ground beef, mustard, pickle and onion. Killer sammitch! Looked way different that the post card, if you remember the old A&W on N 37 it looked alot like that.

  6. Update, Teresa- I just spoke with my mom and dad who still live in Mt Vernon. Fred and Rosemarie Lampp did run it for awhile and Bob Green (Joe Bob Green) also ran it awhile- my dad used to rabbit hunt with him. There's some disagreement as to how maid rites are made. My grandmother made 'em with just salt, pepper, ground beef and mustard with a dash of Worcestershire. My aunt says just salt, pepper, onion and some onion powder. I make them like my grandmother did and they are great- like Krystals only not made from ratmeat :)



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