On my drive, I was stopped by a train. As I watched the cars roll by, I thought of all of the businesses that have sprouted up, because of the railroads. As my mind wandered, probably the most unusual of them came to me, and I remembered an article I wrote about Fritz’s. This place holds some special memories for me, since I used to visit this restaurant with my father, when he was alive. I hope you all enjoy the read.
There are many cases in life that the original stands out above any and all replicas. How many movies were so good that they created a sequel, and it fell short of our expectations. The original sets the bar that all others will need to attain, if they will be as successful. One of these success stories is Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant. The original location at 32nd & Brown Avenue, was started in 1954 by Fritz and Virginia, after his return from the war. In the mid-60’s they opened a second location at 18th Street & Grandview Blvd. In more recent years additional locations have been added at Crown Center and in Shawnee, Kansas.
Due to a shortage of manpower, Fritz began experimenting with a unique food delivery system. In The early 1970’s, he installed what he called the “Skat Cat”, but was soon labeled a train by customers. At first Fritz tried to play down the railroad aspect, but soon learned to embrace it, and even adding train memorabilia to the restaurant.
Fritz’s has many unique characteristics that remind visitors of a previous time. Small jukeboxes decorate most of the booth walls, where patrons can listen to a variety of classic songs. Telephones hang nearby for placing orders with the kitchen staff. All of these extras add to the atmosphere of the dining experience, but none more than the trains.
The train delivery system is fairly simple in design, but adds an exciting aspect to your dining experience. Hearing and seeing the train head out from the kitchen, patrons await the dropping of the gate that signifies the meal is headed for their booth. Once it is your turn, the food box gets kicked off onto a platform that slowly lowers to allow for removal. When the train is in progress it seems that the entire restaurant is drawn in to the event. Looks of wonder fill the faces of the children, as well as many of the adults.
After all of the buildup the food has finally arrived. Fritz’s menu offers 100% pure beef burgers made to order as singles, doubles, triples, and for those with a ravenous appetite, four patties, all piled high with a variety of toppings. Crisp fries and onion rings help round out the meal, but that is not the limit of Fritz’s offerings. They also offer a handful of other sandwiches, as well as hot dogs. Of course they have a kids section on the menu, but even though you may feel like a kid at heart when you are here, it is still reserved for those 12 and under. You may also want to enjoy one of the shakes, desserts or an ice cold root beer float.
For early birds, Fritz’s serves breakfast from 6:00 to 11:00 at the 18th Street and Shawnee locations. Pancakes, waffles, and French Toast join the standard breakfast foods, as well as a selection of handhelds for those on the run. As you can see, Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant has so much to offer, so why not grab the kids, (or just go alone) and give them a visit this weekend. We bet you will have a memorable time.