The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Local Maid-Rite  Closing Catches People Off-Guard

Several past Jefferson residents have contacted us here at Jefferson Iowa News wanting to know why we have not included the Maid-Rite in our ongoing restaurant reviews. For those of you who have not been in town lately, we can state that the Jefferson Maid-Rite has, in fact, been closed for a number of years.

The Maid-Rite, an Iowa icon, was located for many years just west of the square in downtown Jefferson along the old Lincoln Highway.

Many meals were served there, and locals grew to expect a comfortable, home-style atmosphere until it was abruptly closed just a few short years ago. The editors of this web site, in fact, spent many lunch hours in the friendly confines of Jefferson's Maid-Rite. This led us to ask the question - "Why was it suddenly shut down?"

On a recent trip back to Jefferson, our staff tracked down several people who were previously employed at the Maid-Rite and asked them that question. It seems that the problems leading up to our favorite restaurant's demise can be traced to one solitary factor - the clientele.

We were told that many hours of preparation went into each day's meals. Daily specials were diligently prepared and created in advance. On many occasions, chicken, beef stew, chili, or other entrees were prepared in anticipation of the upcoming day's lunch rush.

The proprietors were caught off-guard, however, by a continual onslaught of orders for maid-rites. When folks continued to walk through the door demanding maid-rites, the unprepared staff was unable to keep up.

The final straw was when several pounds of prime rib were prepared ahead of time, only to have the entire noon-time crowd demand maid-rites. "Who could possibly have expected a group of customers wanting only maid-rites?", questioned an anonymous ex-employee.

We were personally told that a maid-rite order would require a wait of nearly one hour. "When a customer walked in and ordered a maid-rite, it always caught us completely off-guard. We would have to make that from scratch", stated the ex-employee. "There was absolutely no way of knowing what to prepare in advance."

Rick Bland, 01-18-2009