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The story behind the famous little sandwich people will drive hundreds of miles to get

After the Annie Oakley Festival, stop by or drive-through and try the famous little Maid-Rite sandwich that has received national attention.

If you’ve never heard of Maid-Rites, let us introduce you to this famous little sandwich you can find in Greenville, Ohio. 

This little slightly sweet loose-meat sandwich — best described as like a Sloppy Joe minus the sauce — has a bit of a cult following. 

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Louise Maher opened the Greenville business on North Broadway in 1934 with her brothers Tom and Gene Maher. The mainstay of the restaurant is Maher’s own recipe for the slightly sweet, steamed loose-meat sandwich. LISA POWELL / STAFF

People will drive crazy distances for one. There are copycat recipes all over Pinterest. Here’s the story behind the Maid-Rite. 

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The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe is a destination diner. It’s a tiny little building covered in gum. Yes, it’s really covered in gum. It’s long been a tradition that diners would affix chewed-up gum to its walls. The diner opened in Greenville in 1934 and is famous for its sandwiches and shakes. Just fyi, it also serves ice cream and beer. 

"It's such a well-known novelty here in Darke County,” said Matt Staugler, the executive director of the Darke County Visitors Bureau. 

Louise Maher opened Greenville's Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in 1934 with her brothers Tom and Gene Maher. LISA POWELL / STAFF (Lisa Powell)

The meat for the Maid-Rite sandwich isn't fried in its own grease. "It's steamed ground beef with a seasoning put over it," said Mark Koontz, one of the members of the family that's owned and operated restaurant since it opened more than 80 years ago. 

What is its secret ingredient? "A lot of love and family dedication," said Koontz, who added that he's been around that restaurant "ever since I was little." 

The sandwich comes with your choice of mustard, pickle and onion, on a bun, for $2.15. Add a slice of cheese and the price is $2.40. If you’re daring try the Big Jim, which adds ham. 

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Greenville's Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe is known for its steamed loose-meat sandwiches. The shop opened in 1934. LISA POWELL / STAFF (Lisa Powell)

“One of the most unique eateries around, the Maid Rite lures hungry visitors from hundreds of miles away just to taste the legendary sandwich made just right in a modest shoppe located in the little rural Southwest Ohio towne of Greenville. If any one place can reflect the city’s heart and soul, it is this miniscule eatery with a big attraction,” according to OhioTraveler.com.” 

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In 2016, Mental_Floss came out with a list of “The Best Burger in All 50 States,” and Ohio’s winner? The Maid-Rite. Even thought it technically isn’t a burger. 

"Many Ohioans know and love Swensons in Cleveland (including Akron native LeBron James), but few have heard of hidden gem Maid-Rite in Greenville. Established in 1934, Maid-Rite’s loose-meat burgers have a cult following among those in on the tasty secret, with many driving hours out of the way to get their fill of delicious Maid-Rite and Cheese-Rite sandwiches." 

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe 

WHERE: 125 N. Broadway St., Greenville OH 

HOURS: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday 

INFO:  937-548-9340 or www.maidrite-greenville.com

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