Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Rax/Rix/Jax Pics

Things haven gotten weird, and I haven’t posted for a while.
I am stuck at home, and I can't travel. 
So I thought I’d write about fast food with style
In hopes that my sanity doesn’t completely unravel. 

Rax Roast Beef is a chain that’s been on my mind,
For the past couple years, since my Rax meat-cute. 
Their decline left hundreds of buildings behind, 
I thought I’d show you some from Google Street View. 

But before I do, I should probably produce, 
From my vast, fast food photo archives, 
Some pictures of Rax locations that are still in use, 
That lurk in dark corners of my hard drive. 

Harlan, Kentucky, birthplace of Raxgiving
Has a classic Rax with slot windows and a solarium.
As the last Rax in the state, it's quite good at outliving,
And functions like a 1980s vivarium.

Joliet, Illinois has the world's oldest Rax.
Despite the roof, it never sold pizza nor breadsticks.
This architecture was typical of Jax,
Jax changed to Rax after it was Rix 
Of these building types there is quite a glut.
If you keep an eye out for their features,
You'll see more Rax buildings than Seymour saw butts, 
When he hid out under the bleachers. 

This Rax in Anderson was the last in Indiana,
But it closed in 2011
It now does Hibachi just like, Benny and Hannah
Hey, at least it's not a Bob Evans. 

This National Coney is an old Rax, you can tell,
On the east side of Metro Detroit.
All things considered, I'd say its aged pretty well,
Which is more than I'd say for Jon Voight. 

Uncle Alligator left this empty Rax long ago,
Back when people still carried a beeper.
How much longer it will stand, nobody knows.
(Please ignore my old Ford Festiver.)

Grand Rapids, Michigan has its own Jax/Rix era relic,
Though it served its last BBC in antiquity.
It's roof resembles the mustache of Tom Selleck,
Now on with the next part of the soliloquy.

Taco Johns removed the solarium here,
At this old Rax in Billings, Montana.
But the slotted windows make its first occupant clear,
Despite the big yellow veranda. 

Frisch's Big Boy took over the Perrysburg Rax,
That's just down the street from Ground Round.
They still serve a buffet and salad bar snacks,
Like they did when Rax was in town. 

Skyline annexed this Rax in Columbus,
To serve a taste of old Cincinnati.
The new color scheme probably caused quite a ruckus.
Blue like Gonzo, yellow like Selma and Patty. 

Canadians brought about this Rax's defeat,
But their victory showed little promise...
...when a new Rax opened right down the street,
In a structure built by Dave Thomas.

So keep your eyes open when you can go out safely, 
There might be an old Rax 'round the corner. 
But for now, please stay inside, even if you're not gravely,
And await restoration of order. 

Thanks for reading this post that I wrote while sheltered in place. 
I hope that things soon start back toward normal. 
I'll try to write more, soon despite no trips outside of my space.
Though the rhyme schemes may become more informal. 

Special thanks to Columbus Restaurant History and Forgotten Michigan for providing information on the addresses of former Rax locations. 


  1. Been eating at the Joliet Rax about once a month recently. Trying to explore the menu a bit. I highly recommend the potato skins and the turkey bacon club.

    1. A Rax run will definitely be in order once we get the all clear in Michigan.

  2. My first Rax was in Columbus, Ohio.

    1. Two of the five Rax locations that are still open are within half an hour of Columbus. Central Ohioans still love their Rax.

  3. The Rax building in Lafayette, Indiana, has been a used-car dealership for about two decades. Still has its "Rax Room," as I used to call the solarium. I took a pic off of Google Streetview, but I guess I can't post pics in a comment. Another oddity is that a house near where I grew up acquired the solarium off of the Crawfordsville, Indiana, Rax building when it was being torn down and attached it to their house as a sunroom. I haven't been by the house in awhile to see if that still lives on.

    1. I've been by the used car Rax in Lafayette when I was in town to eat at Dog 'n Suds and Spageddie's. I even included a picture of it in my post, "Man Bites Dog" from October 2018. It was still instantly recognizable when I saw it.

      I'll have to hop on Google Street View and see if I can find that Rax Solarium house one of these days.

    2. Pretty sure I found it at 7217 N 100 W, Crawfordsville, but the angle makes it hard to see perfectly. Happy hunting!

  4. I came across this and had to check and was disappointed to find out what was the closest Rax to here, in Bellefontaine, Ohio, is no more. It's some other kind of roast beef restaurant.

    1. It's called Rancher's Roast Beef now. It's basically still a Rax in all but name. I've been there. You can read about it in my post titled "Same Food, Different Name" from February 2019.

  5. Sir, I may have been a Geo Metro owner myself but I CANNOT ignore a teal Ford Festiva.

    Especially if that's the one with the STEAMDHAMS license plate (Simpsons headcanon; Krusty Burger is a broken chain with only three locations - 2 in Springfield and one in Shelbyville - down from over 500 in 1990).

    1. That is indeed the STEAMHAMS Festiva, and color me impressed you got the spelling of the novelty license plate right.

      Krusty Burger could totally be a broken chain that Krusty lent his name to in the late '60s when celebrity-endorsed fast food was fashionable, but slowly disappeared in all but a couple of markets, kind of like the arc or Arthur Treacher's.

  6. What's going on with this being listed as a March post and what happened to the Hot'N'Now one?

    Also, a BBC reporter today stating that Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Lysol, warned people not to inject or otherwise ingest it. The reporter abbreviated the company's name and put it in possessive, apparently oblivious to the fact that, over the radio, that turns it into the name of an unrelated company in an unrelated field (and makes us miss Jon Stewart).

    "Arby's. Do not take internally."

    1. I've had trouble lately with photos disappearing from certain blog posts, and the Hot 'n Now post was one of them, so I took it down temporarily. I'll fix it when I can muster the motivation, which, admittedly, is in fairly short supply for me these days.

      This post has been up since March 24th, and was the immediate predecessor of the rhyming Hot 'n Now post.

      Thanks for reading, and try to have a nice day despite global circumstances making that increasingly difficult.

  7. Just thought you'd like to know what brought me to your blog. Former A.V. Club Head Writer Nathan Rabin runs his own site now, "Nathan Rabin's Happy Place", where he's expanded his "My Year of Flops" column to "My World of Flops" covering failures from movies to political campaigns.

    His most recent Flop, and the reason to mention it to you, is the short-lived, misguided "Mr. Delicious" ad campaign for Rax, a Broken Chain that you seem to have a great fondness for. (https://www.nathanrabin.com/happy-place/2020/11/9/the-short-sad-strange-life-of-mr-delicious )

    Did you ever hear of Mr. Delicious?

  8. I sure wish Rax would come back to Indiana. That was my very 1st job at age 15 in 1985. Loved almost all of their menu!