Putting a man on the moon was briefly considered mankind's greatest achievement, until Neil Armstrong invented sliced bread. Savor civilization's finest creation with today's Groupon: for $6, you get $12 worth of loose-meat ground-beef sandwiches and diner fare at Maid-Rite on Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines.
Since 1926, the line cooks and soda jerks at Maid-Rite have slung a menu of American diner classics, including their signature loose-meat sandwiches, malts, shakes, and root-beer floats. Customers can silence grumbling stomachs with myriad variations of the free-spirited hamburger sandwich, a kind of sloppy joe, including the classic Maid-Rite ($3.19 for sandwich; $6.59 for basket of fries and large drink), the shirt-staining barbecue Texas-Rite ($3.89 sandwich; $7.29 basket), or the belief-begging Mega Philly Cheese-Rite ($6.69 sandwich; $9.98 basket). The corn dog ($2.39; $5.79 basket) carries on the century-old tradition started by corn of eating food off a stick, and the Smokin' turkey-breast dinner shows up to palate parties slathered with hot or mild barbecue sauce and accompanied by an entourage of two sides and a biscuit or bun ($8.99).
Guests can sidle up to the counter and take a dulcet trip to yesteryear with sense-memory-inducing sweets from the ice-cream shoppe, including the root-beer float ($2.89) and the chocolate malt ($2.99 regular; $3.59 large). The restaurant's '50s diner décor evokes nostalgia for a time when kids cruised to the sock hop in the Cadillac, necked at the drive-in, or played hooky to hang out at the local Soviet Union.