Lately, I’ve been playing a game with myself where I use Google Earth and Street view to attempt to spot former G.D. Ritzy’s locations. By virtue of the fact that I’m familiar with the rough outline of the one-time operating area, typical surroundings, and architecture, I’m pretty good at it.
The Huntington, West Virginia G.D. Ritzy's, as seen when I visited late last year.
G.D. Ritzy’s (sometimes just branded as Ritzy’s) was a chain of fast food restaurants that sprang up in Columbus, Ohio in the early eighties, and expanded outward, peaking at around 100 locations. The menu included the typical burgers and fries, but also unique items like steamed vegetables and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the additions of fresh strawberry slices and crushed salted peanuts. They also offered several flavors of hard ice cream, usually made in-house. A strong emphasis was placed on food quality with a nostalgic bent. Buildings were built in a neo-art deco style, with rounded corners and flourishes on the outside, and lots of stainless railings and hexagonal tile on the inside. At the early locations, G.D. Ritzy himself, a mascot sporting a bowler hat, no doubt named for chain founder Graydon D. Webb, would be enjoying the sheer luxury of the the sign.
The sign outside the still-operating Huntington, West Virginia Ritzy's.
Aerial view of a former Ritzy's; note the rounded upper right corner of the building.
G.D. Ritzy's: We have the meats!
The real fun starts when there’s an atypical building that may have been a G.D. Ritzy’s. Such a find sparks speculation and debate over why this one location in particular was different. This extra large building with typical Ritzy's flourishes is one such example. I suspect this location may have had a large ice cream production and/or storage facility on site to service multiple nearby Ritzy's locations.
So much room for activities!
The best part is you can play this game with virtually any commonly reproduced distinctive building that is likely to have changed in purpose. Converted Hot 'n Nows, A-Frame IHOPs, Howard Johnson's, or Stuckey's are all fun to try and spot on Google Earth. Give it a try today!
You can't fool me with that fancy new facade, Papa John! You're making pizza in a Ritzy's!
You see a lot of Hot Head Burritos locations in Ohio. You used to see a lot of G.D. Ritzy's in Ohio. This is the point on the graph where their respective lines intersect.
The '90s comedian wants to say since there's a Starbucks on every corner, there might as well be one in an old Ritzy's.
The self-serve frozen yogurt trend claims a G.D. Ritzy's.
Interesting to note, Starbucks have come and gone in many smaller venues and towns like a fall carnival blowing though. The appear almost overnight and in a fortnight, the leave a unique but all too often small building which seems designed as a legacy for a cheap third teer mobile phone provider.ReplyDelete
I can't recall ever seeing a Starbucks go out of business, but I'm sure it happens. Mobile phone store seems like a reasonable use for a defunct Starbucks I know of one other Starbucks operating out of an old G.D. Ritzy's. The conversion makes sense, as the footprint is almost identical to a purpose-built freestanding Starbucks and there's already a drive thru.Delete
There are 3 of these in Evansville, IN. There used to be some in Indianapolis, but not sure if they are still there.ReplyDelete
Yep! Read onward. A month or two after I wrote this, I went on a trip to every operating Ritzy’s, including the ones in Evansville.Delete
And the 2 in Owensboro, KY. Where is the last one?Delete
There are three in Evansville, INDelete
Two in Owensboro, KY
One in Huntington, WV
And one in Columbus, OH
In bloomington Indiana,there is a five guys restaurant that used to be a gd ritzy'sReplyDelete
Cool! I didn't know about that one. Looking at Street View, it looks like it even has the original sign out front, repurposed with Five Guys graphics, of course.Delete
Montgomery Alabama had (at least one) G.D. Ritzy's in the 1980s. I remember going there, it was like an upscale Wendy's. At some point in time, it was re-branded as a Flip's. Flip's re-did the color scheme as sky blue trim paint and awnings.ReplyDelete
Currently the building is totally gone; Google street view shows the now grassy lot, but Google map satellite view shows the distinctive architecture: small narrow building; curved corner, with awnings. The satellite view straight down shows an obvious G.D. Ritzy's, but angling the satellite view to be 45 degrees shows the re-branded color scheme and the Flip's name.
3900 Atlanta Hwy
Montgomery, AL 36109
Flip's Uptown Grill's Facebook page explained what happened to that location. It shut down 31 Jan 2014 after a fire which occurred Oct 2013. They say there were close to celebrating 20 years (as a Flip's). The Oct 2013 post mentions another location (which I vaguely remember as in a strip mall, not associated with G.D. Ritzy's). I assume both shut down Jan 2014Delete
Note that the Facebook page is still up (but not updated) and shows several pictures of classic car shows with the G.D. Ritzy's building in the background
There are three in Evansville, IN and one in Ownesboro KYReplyDelete
Read on. I've been to all five of them, plus the ones in Huntington, WV and Columbus, OH. There's blog posts about all of them. The ones in Evansville are my favorite.Delete
There are 5 between Evansville and Owensboro. You missed one of the Owensboro locations. One is on Frederica St. The other on Hwy 54.Delete
The one in Myrtle Beach SC simply renamed itself to Burky's. Very similar signage and menu.ReplyDelete