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Jan 12th 2006

g.d. ritzys

it was my favorite fast food restaurant ever, and it all but disappeared* a decade ago. now it’s slowly coming back with a modified business plan. more at


*locations that remained open were in evansville, IN, owensboro, KY, and huntington, WV.

29 Responses to “g.d. ritzys”

  1. Christopher Wilson

    Oh my [gosh]. I had my first job at one of those dumps. I really hate to burst your bubble, but you would really not want to know what went on behind the scenes at the one in Champaign, IL.

  2. i’ve worked in fast food, too. i know the kitchens are not pretty. that’s why our immune systems are so useful.

    at the same time, that could be one of the reasons there is no ritzy’s in champaign anymore.

  3. JJ

    I ran the two G.D. Ritzy’s that were in Denver and Aurora Colorado in the Eighties ( from 1984 to 1992).They were the cleanest and best run restaurants you’d ever seen. we had great owners and the concept was just ahead of it’s time. We switched from a Forties theme to a Fifties theme in 1987.
    I welcome their return!!

  4. Clint

    I also worked @ the ritzys in aurora (89-93) and it was always clean and had the best hamburgers(seared in flavor) glad to see them make a come back

  5. Lang

    I too was a huge fan of (G.D.) Ritzy’s and was sad to see them go. In fact, I grew up in Champaign, IL and commonly ate at the establishment that Travis refered to. (I agree that’s what an immune system is for.) In reference to that Ritzy’s I can tell you why it went the way of the dinosaur. Terrible managment which was reflected in its employees. While the food (bacteria ridden as it might of been) was great, the service was horrible. Even as a kid I noticed the poor attitude at the counter, the long wait times and the fact that getting specifically what you ordered was a gamble.

    However, I am happy to say that tomorrow I am going to be making the long journey from Norfolk, VA to Champaign, IL which just happens to take me by Huntington, WV. Any guesses as to what my dinner plan might be?

  6. Tyson

    I was an assistant manager at the very first franchised store (Sandy Springs,Ga.) outside of it’s corporate home in Ohio in 1983. The owners came from the Wendy’s organization and made sure it was a top rate operation. High quality food and cleaner than a whistle. Although I left after 18 months to pursue my actual college degreed profession, Ritzys is still number one in my ratings of fast food establishments and is sorely missed in Atlanta. I hope they open one of the new stores here eventually.

  7. Alex

    I just ate at one of the 3 locations still in Evansville today (3/31/07). STill the best burger you can find anywhere and I’m a manager of a fast food restaurant (I saw my Area Director there too.) The real reason I stopped in though was for the Wild Mountain Blackberry ice cream, after living 6 years in Tampa I’m happy to finally get some awesome ice cream again.

  8. Christopher Millay

    Evansville, Indiana is my hometown. I haven’t lived there since graduating from high school in 1995, but almost every visit home includes a trip to G.D. Ritzy’s for a burger, fries, and as much Mint Chocolate Chunk ice cream as I can eat. I usually eat at the Green River Road location because it’s close to my parents’ house. But occasionally I’ll venture to the West Side and North Gate locations when eating with other friends and relatives. They’re all clean and have very good food. And I can watch them prepare my food from the counter.

    When I went to Duke University for graduate school (Durham, NC) I met a guy from Columbus, OH who loved G.D. Ritzy’s. He was so jealous that I could still get it in Evansville. He threatened to come home with me more than once. I hope the chain makes a comeback elsewhere so I can enjoy the best fries in the world wherever I go.

  9. Ritzy Fan

    I used to enjoy G.D. Ritzy’s in Columbus, OH, when I attended Ohio State (’88-’92). I consider Ritzy’s the BEST Fast Food chain I ever ate at. Those shoestring french fries, the delicious burgers, hot dogs and shakes. MAN I wish they’d come back in more states!

    I live in Southern California now, where In ‘n Out Burger seems to be the reigning king. Horrible burgers. As bland as can be.

    Ritzy’s, get your butt out here! And I don’t mean Orange County, Riverside, or San Bernandino…I mean LOS ANGELES! 🙂

  10. Lisa

    I worked at the Ritzy’s in Akron in the late 80’s right out of high school. Even as an employee, I never got sick of the food and as an ice cream afficianado, I can tell you, theirs was top of the line. I don’t know about the store in Champaign, but the one in Akron was very clean and well-run. I think their downfall was the lazy teenagers that they started hiring after I left. Oh, how I wish I could get a single Ritz and fries again, with an O O Oreo shake!

  11. BJ

    I worked at GD Ritzy’s in Owensboro, KY at the Frederica St location. it was one the best jobs i’ve ever had. in fact had i not joined the ARMY i would still be working there. when i go home on leave next week i will definately stop in for a visit.

  12. Nancy

    I grew up eating at a GD Ritzy’s in Warren OH and MISS the burgers but especially those amazing fries. I live in Houston Texas now and was pleased to find two locations open in Texas!! It requires a road trip but those fries make it all worthwhile

  13. […] me to a hot dog place called G.D. Ritzy’s, which has since all but disappeared (although a comeback is rumored), and we always ordered the chili-cheese dog with shoestring fries and chocolate milkshakes. And it […]

  14. Mark

    The thing I miss the most from G.D. Ritzy’s was the “Cincinnati Sauce” that made everything taste like Skyline Chili. It was at every table. Does anybody else remember that stuff? I wish I could find a bottle of it.

  15. sue

    Who ran the Ritzys in Aurora? I worked for Ritzy’s of the Rockies from 1990 to 1997. The one on Iliff and Chambers

  16. Harold

    I worked @ Ritzy’s in Columbus OH in the late 80’s. I loved it, I met some of the best people from behind those counters. Everyone was friendly & loved the food. I bring up “G.D.” Ritzys to my kids all of the time, when they tell me how good i cook, i owe it all to them!!! By the way, my kids hate when i tell these stories!!! LOL!!! I even drove to Huntington a few years ago just to eat there………

  17. jj

    Hi Sue,

    I ran the one in Aurora, and the one in Denver before it closed. Who are you? I can’t place a Sue, but I’m getting older!

  18. Mike

    I also worked at the one in Akron. I remember Lisa. They didn’t go down hill until after Tom sold it to a new owner. Those were the days. I have a Table, s chairs, the clock and a case of cups from the store still. Oh, and the fake speakers we had on the wall. I loved that place!.

  19. Jim

    Didn’t work at the Aurora Ritzy’s but visited often. I only remember it as 50’s decor, but moved away in mid ’88 so must have visited a lot in a short time. The ice cream was my favorite. And I recall the free cones for A’s offers (and had two very smart kids).

  20. jj

    Unfortunately Jim,
    That one is now a Carl’s Jr.
    The ice cream was originally all made in house, in later years contracted to Lickety Split in Denver.

  21. Clint

    Sue, Lee ran the one there on iliff and chambers when I worked there

  22. sue

    Hey Clint
    Yeah, Lee ran the Aurora one. I was married to him. I worked there too. But I don’t remember JJ who says he ran this one and the one in Denver that closed. Dan O’Brien and Richard Einhorn were owners, along with some guy in Cincinnatti we sent the bills to. I was there til 97 and i don’t remember a boss names JJ. Lee was Gm and then I was. And then Omar Moore

  23. JJ

    Hi Sue,

    Looking at the dates, I understand why I don’t know you. My memory is not what it should be – I left in ’89. I do remember Omar though. Dan ownes the Wendy’s franchise in Boulder now.

  24. Mike

    I remember going to the Ritzy’s in Aurora Colorado as a kid. I remember a guy named Lee always putting a boat load of those red cherries in the cherry coke my mom ordered me.

    That and I miss the shoestring cheddar fries. I was 7 when it closed, I missed the car shows and I cried when we drove by and saw a Carls Junior put there.

    Nostalgia. Dang.

  25. Jim Doyle

    I opened up the first “stand alone” Ritzy’s at High St. and Cooke in Columbus, Oh. Worked there for 2 years while finishing at OSU. Was a great place to work back then.

  26. Cyndi

    Okay…I am really bummed coz we no longer have a Ritzy’s because I loved everything about it. I have looked forever how to make their yummy croutons…I have never eaten any better croutons on a salad in my life. The Ritzy’s that we used to have in my town told me it was old buns that were deep fried. Can someone please tell me if this is the way they were made? I would love to make these! Makes eating salads so much more pleasant. Thanks for any information!

  27. Cyndi

    Forgot to click to be notified of any follow ups…sorry!

  28. JJ

    I think we made those out of the Texas Toast that we used for the PB&J Sandwiches. I had forgotten all about that!

  29. Cllint

    Sue good to see your “out there” I would love to catch up or at least say hello. I still live in Aurora maybe you could find me on face book or something…