This summer, Fort Dodgers will once again have the opportunity to patronize one of the Hawkeye State's most popular restaurant franchises. A Maid-Rite Diner will be opening at 2223 Fifth Ave. S.
Bradley Burt, chief executive officer of Des Moines-based Maid-Rite Corp., has announced that Bernard Condon and his son, Jeremiah Condon, now own the franchise to open a Fort Dodge Maid-Rite. The Condons currently operate the popular Cellar restaurant, which is owned by Bernard Condon. Jeremiah Condon will be the general manager of the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite.
Burt said the decision of the Condons to become part of the Maid-Rite family bodes well for his company's success in Fort Dodge.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Bernard Condon, left, and his son, Jeremiah Condon, display a new Maid-Rite flag in front of what will soon be their new Maid-Rite at 2223 Fifth Ave. S. The location was formerly the site of the Brickyard. Jeremiah Condon will be the general manager of the new restaurant.
"We are pleased to have these gentlemen with their restaurant experience and knowledge, along with being well-known and respected local residents of Fort Dodge, as our franchisee owner/operators of the new Fort Dodge Maid-Rite," he said.
The Fifth Avenue South location was selected because the Condons are enthusiastic about the potential of the city's Corridor of Commerce, Bernard Condon said. Jeremiah Condon said the high volume of people who transit this key local roadway make it an ideal restaurant location. He said market research puts the daily count of cars using this thoroughfare at approximately 18,800.
Maid-Rite is an Iowa-based company with a long history. According to information provided by Maid-Rite Corp., the Maid-Rite concept got under way in 1926 and soon became one of the nation's earliest quick-service, casual-dining restaurant franchise systems. More than eight decades later, Maid-Rites not only dot the landscape in Iowa, but are becoming customer favorites across the nation. There are 40 Maid-Rites in Iowa, 74 nationally and eight more under construction, according to Burt. Maid-Rite now has a presence in 12 states.
Bernard Condon said he and his son evaluated a number of franchise possibilities before deciding that Maid-Rite was not only a good fit for them, but provides and important enhancement to the restaurant world locally.
"It is an Iowa franchise," said Jeremiah Condon, reflecting on factors that influenced the decision to choose Maid-Rite. "It used to be in Fort Dodge. People are familiar with it. They missed it. We really liked the people behind it. ... Even though they are a chain, they are still flexible. They like our ideas mixed with their ideas to make things work."
Bernard Condon seconded his son's praise for Maid-Rite.
"We're really excited to give a restaurant to the community that we know is excited for it too," he said, noting that he's already had people express to him their delight at Maid-Rite's impending return to Fort Dodge.
The Fort Dodge Maid-Rite will occupy a building that recently housed the Brickyard bar and grill, but patrons will find a totally revamped facility, Bernard Condon said. The building has essentially been gutted and is being reborn as a venue totally in sync with the Maid-Rite concept. Bernard Condon said a complete renovation is being handled by Russ Clark Construction.
According to a media briefing provided by Maid-Rite Corp., the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite, with seating for just a bit more than 100 people, will utilize "the traditional Maid-Rite diner-style decor that will include a community table in the middle of the restaurant, along with booths, tables and chairs, along with counter seating."
The restaurant will be family friendly. Bernard Condon said a game room will be one of its features. There also will be a patio area for patrons to enjoy during good weather. He stressed that while prompt service will be featured, Maid-Rite is a step up from the "fast food" genre.
"It's going to be more leisure dining than fast food," Condon said.
The menu will be what the many local residents who are already familiar with Maid-Rite would expect, but will have some variations including bakery items produced by another Condon enterprise, Creative Cakes. Freshly made pies and cookies will be among the offerings.
The traditional Maid-Rite menu includes the classic fresh ground beef loose meat sandwiches that made the company famous, specialty versions of that mainstay sandwich, center cut pork tender-loin sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, and an Italian-Rite seasoned with Italian sausage.
Fresh garden gourmet salads, smoked turkey and chicken wraps, hot roast beef sandwiches, beer battered cod fillet and a children's menu will also be featured.
Jeremiah Condon said the meats used at the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite should prove an attraction that draws customers.
"We will be smoking our own meats in the building," he said.
And there's more. Patrons can opt for homemade potato chips, onion rings, smoked baked beans, coleslaw or country potato salad as well as malts and shakes.
Bernard Condon said one of the features adult customers will find attractive is that the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite will offer beer and wine.
Bernard Condon said the precise date the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite will open will be announced a bit later this summer, but the working target is Aug. 15. Jeremiah Condon estimated that the establishment will provide jobs for 16 to 20 people.