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G.D. Ritzy's serving up diner fare with a side of nostalgia

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 09:50 PM

HUNTINGTON -- G.D. Ritzy's was a Columbus, Ohio-based chain of 1950s-themed restaurants established in 1980 when a number of Wendy's franchisees left over a disagreement in management.

At its peak, Ritzy's were found throughout much of the East Coast and Midwest. Today only a few Ritzy's locations remain, with the one on Hal Greer Boulevard being the oldest one still standing. The venerable diner will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013.

Owner and General Manager Sid Torlone has been with the restaurant for a full 29 years.

"I think being a '50s diner, we have a niche, and people like the nostalgic feel," he said. "When we first came here there wasn't a McDonald's down the street, we were down the street from Fairfield Stadium, and there was a shopping plaza where the cancer center is now. This neighborhood has really changed. We're grateful to be here. We hope to do something big for next year."

In addition to nostalgia, Torlone said the food is special, too.

"Our hamburgers are thin on the edges and thicker in the middle. It gives them a different flavor and taste with crispy edges," he said. "That's how they did them back in the '50s, so that's how we stick to that. Over the years we've added a little more variety to the menu. We now have chicken quesadillas and a Philly steak sandwich."

Other new additions to the menu include a Mushroom Swiss Burger and The Big Bopper, a fried bologna sandwich. Ritzy's also continues to serve up 16 flavors of ice cream ranging from chocolate to amaretto as well as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. New sundae toppings include strawberry, marshmallow creme and caramel. Any soft drink can be flavored with cherry or vanilla.

The diner continues to have some of the best deals in town with a number of items under $5. Ritzy's classic hamburgers start at $2.89 for a single, $3.99 for a Double Ritz and $4.99 for the Triple Ritz. Classic Coney hot dogs sell for $1.69. Ice cream goes for $2.30 for a single scoop and $3.95 for a double.

"We also have seven-way chili which is a big item," Torlone said. "It's a Cincinnati favorite. It has chili, spaghetti, beans, onions, tomato, peppers and cheese. It's a big item with a lot of food."

G.D. Ritzy's is located at 1335 Hal Green Blvd. It is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Cash and most major credit cards are accepted.

For carry-out orders or more information, call 304-523-7019.

If you go: G.D. Ritzy's

Food: Hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream

Address: 1335 Hal Greer Blvd., Huntington

Phone: 304-523-7019

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day

Payments accepted: Cash and most major credit/debit cards.

More online: For more than 150 restaurant profiles and growing, visit the entertainment page at www.herald-dispatch.com.