Friday, December 13, 2019

Gyros and Heroes

A break in format is due. I hope you think it no crime, 
That I’ve written a blog post completely in rhyme. 
I hope no estate sues me or tells me to back off, 
Because I've blatantly ripped off the late, great David Rackoff.

You may think it obsessive or slightly pathetic, 
My passion for fast food with Art Deco aesthetic. 
G.D. Ritzy’s, the chain whose demise sparked curiosity, 
And caused me to travel and write with extreme furiosity. 

I dined at all that were left of the six-score strong chain, 
Half a dozen of them were all that remained. 
I had an awkward encounter with Graydon D. Webb,
The man who founded the chain, a local celeb. 

Later on, I had lunch at Webb’s brand new Ritzy’s, 
It was perfectly fine, but felt vaguely chintzy. 
It lacked the magic of its cousins in Southwest Indiana, 
That are ‘80s originals and sell ice cream with banana. 

But Ritzy’s was born in Central Ohio, 
In a town named for a man with a troubling bio. 
Columbus, explorer, who committed atrocities, 
Has a town and a day named for him, paradoxically. 

Columbus, the town, is the place with the most, 
Converted Ritzy’s buildings, old stucco ghosts. 
I took a trip there to visit these modern-day ruins, 
In the town of Blue Jackets, not Red Wings nor Bruins. 

I went to four old Ritzy’s that didn’t fool anybody, 
Origins clear, as conversions were shoddy. 
I’ll post pictures here now, if you'll scroll down below, 
Each comes with two couplets so I don’t interrupt flow. 

First some photos for reference from the Hoosier State,
In Evansville town, where G.D. Ritzy's does great.
Note the curved fin up front and diminutive foyer,
On a building so small, you'll think of Verne Troyer. 

Inside you'll note mirrors on the back wall's curved bevel,
And find dining tables on a whole other level.
I fear I'd be guilty of a personal failing,
If I didn't point out the aluminum railings. 
These are the traits that I looked for, and found,
All over Columbus where old Ritzy's abound.
Now that you're familiar with the corporate architecture,
I can get on with my dumb little lecture.

Gyro Express was the first stop of the tour,
The building, a Ritzy's, that's to be sure.
With a fresh coat of paint like the Greek flag, white and blue,
From the exterior, it looked nearly new. 
Once in the door, I found an updated interior,
But the convex corner had its original mirri-ors.
Though the tiles and railings had all been replaced,
The dining room was still an elevated space. 
The next spot I went on this silly excursion,
Was a Mr. Hero, whose sign provided diversion.
A rare surviving G.D. Ritzy's sign post,
Had been converted by the restaurant's new host. 
The building, as well, was a sight to behold,
With original lighting on gooseneck-type poles.
The stripe on the left, too, was a Ritzy's hallmark.
Retail architecture like this far exceeds Walmart's. 
The inside was updated, but like at Gyro Express,
The mirrors remained, and I must confess,
That I sat and I thought as I caught myself staring.
Could these mirrors persist because they're load-bearing? 
Gyro City Grill was my next port of call,
And I'm ashamed to admit I took no inside pictures at all.
But the outside, of course, looked as Ritzy as ever.
And like Mr. Hero, its lights were not severed. 
Just outside of Columbus is the town of Grove City,
Where you'll find the fourth and final old Ritzy's.
These days the building serves as a Rally's
It looks good for its age, just like Sally O'Malley. 
Once you're inside, though, the decor is sparse.
I guess the decorator couldn't be arsed.
But at long last, I had found my white whale!
The Grove City Rally's had an original rail. 
With my journey concluding and my energy fading,
I ate at the new one, at which I've thrown too much shading.
I hope my long poem gave you a laugh or a grin.
All that's left to say is...


  1. Your piece de resistance!
    Your best steps of all in a wild Ritzy dance.
    Architecture revamped, a topic that's tall,
    You've covered and smothered and gave it your all. Janet<3

  2. Well done! The Ballad of Ritzy's shall be repeated through history! Or how long my addled brain holds onto it.