Every Monday, my wife, Gay, and I get to have lunch together.
We love exploring new-to-us places together. The only catch is we have to keep our lunch choices near the Interstate 435 and Roe Avenue area in Overland Park so I can get back to work in a timely fashion.
This constraint limits the places we can visit. Even though I have a long standing list of lunch options for us to choose from, we always seem to have a hard time making a decision.
You know what that’s like:
Never miss a local story.
“Where do you wanna go?”
“I don’t know. What are you in the mood for?”
We usually get in the car — clock ticking — and just starting driving.
That exact scenario was playing out this last Monday. We happened to be traveling north on State Line Road, just past I-435, when Gay pointed to the left and shouted, “Reuben!”
I crossed three lanes of intermittent traffic, like a stunt driver on the set of “The Fast and the Furious.” I finally ended up in the left turn lane at 103rd Terrace. I was a bit shaken by the maneuver, but I knew exactly why my wife reacted as she did.
We ended up in the parking lot of Fritz’s Meat & Superior Sausage at 10326 State Line Road in Leawood.
You see, a couple of months ago, Gay and I went to Fritz’s and ordered a Reuben. Or, tried to order a Reuben.
“Sorry, not for a few weeks,” we were told. Utter disappointment.
“We only serve them near St. Patrick’s Day, starting on March 2 and running through March 19.”
OK, we pledged to go back later.
So, we’ve been talking about the Reuben at Fritz’s for a while. We even notated the potential start date on our shared electronic calendar. Maybe that’s a sign that we are too obsessed with food, or perhaps we just really appreciate a good Reuben. For right now, I’m going to chalk it up to the latter.
As we entered Fritz’s, I could see that we were not the only ones that got the Reuben “memo.” The place was packed.
“Nothing that we can’t handle,” said one of the workers. And I believed him. Behind the counter flowed the elegant choreography of a well-seasoned staff as they sliced through the orders, getting customers taken care of in a timely and friendly fashion. From someone that has worked in retail for years, I was duly impressed.
If you order the Fritz’s version of the Reuben, expect to wait a bit. They prefer to heat the sandwich in an oven versus toasting. Basically they create two, equal-ingredient open-faced sandwiches, topped heavily with Swiss cheese.
They then place the open-faced sandwiches in the oven to get all of the ingredients warm and to ensure that the cheese sufficiently oozes over everything. Then they slap the two halves together for a thick double-decker monster.
If you’re interested in this limited-time offer, Fritz’s is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The good news is that while you’re waiting for your sandwich, you’ll have plenty of time to peruse the other products that this great smokehouse has to offer. I know we loaded up on a few extra items to take home.
One word of advice: Please plan your trip to Fritz’s in advance. I don’t want you to have to perform any stunt driving maneuvers like I did. After all, it’s only a sandwich. Yes a really good sandwich, but a sandwich all the same.
Craig Jones is a live-fire cooking expert, the Grill Mayor for Food Network (2012), and owner of Savory Addictions Gourmet Nuts. He’s also a certified KCBS barbecue judge, a student of pizza crafting and an enthusiastic supporter of the greater Kansas City food scene.