HOME > Chowhound > Great Plains >


Cheese Frenchies

  • r

One of my favorite Midwestern treats was the Cheese Frenchie, a disgustingly artery-clogging (meaning: wonderful!) sandwich.
It consisted of two slices of American cheese, slathered with mayo and placed between three slices of white bread, dipped into batter and deep-fried. The outside coating was crunchy, and the cheese was melted (and would easily burn the corners of your mouth as you bit into it, so watch out!)
I used to get them at King's Food Host in Cedar Rapids, but when they closed in the early 70's, I didn't see them again - until the early 90's, when the Dill Pickle chain in CR sold them again. But those are gone now, too.
Anyone else remember these, or know of any other locations where they used to (or still do) exist?
P.S.) There was also a Tuna Frenchie, but I never went for those.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh Yeah, I remember Cheese Frencies. I loved them too and got them at the same chain. When the chain folded there were still a few holdouts that stayed open including one here in Denver. Unfortunately it closed this year too so i join you in your quest to find the Cheese Frenchie.

    1. You can get Cheese Frenchies at Sally's (formerly the Dill Pickle) in Merle Hay Mall's food court in Des Moines, Iowa. I am also a lover of Cheese Frenchies.

      1. I too fondly remember both the tuna and cheese frenchees. My sisters and I enjoyed them immensely while growing up in Waterloo and I have tried unsuccessfully to replicate the recipe.

        I recently corresponded with someone from Marshalltown who gave me the name of a cookbook author who has the recipe (Gloria Pitzer). I have ordered her cookbook and hope to make these at home in the near future.

        1. I loved cheese frenchies and used to order them at a King's Food Host in Denver, Colorado. I would love to have one again!! (I never cared for the tuna frenchies either!!). I've been thinking about asking the TV show "Food Finds" on foodtv to find a location that serves them. I did a search on my computer and found a restaurant in Lincoln, NE that serves a "cheese frenchie" but I don't know if it's the same thing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cindy

            The resturant in Lincoln, NE invented the things. So, yes they are. There is also two places in Omaha that serve them... Don and Millie's. One is off Center Road near downtown and one is on Center Road near 108th. They have them, and they are good.

            1. re: Scott

              Supposedly Bob Kerry (former Governor and Senator of Nebraska) who owns Don & Millies (there are now 4 in the Omaha area) as well as Grandmother's and Tony Roma's bought all the recipies from King's when they folded (yet still allows the original in Lincoln to use them). That's why the frenchees are the same, supposedly.

              1. re: Scott

                The Dish in downtown Lincoln serves an "upscale" Frenchie. Haven't tried it. I'll stick with their falafel, thanks.

            2. Oh yeah, now we're talking! So many remember King's, yet so little info on the demise. How about the cherry-up float? KF Host seems to be a midwest restaurant: is this so? Doing my internet search now. Looking actually for the syracuse dinnerware that was served on at King's as well as any other info.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dawn

                Kings Food Host was also famous for Worlds Best Hamburger,At a time in late 60s my father supervised close to 50 resturants in Iowa,Home based in Nebraska,also had in Minn,Mo,So Dakota,probably all of midwest,I started to work when i was 9 in Madison Wisc,Kings was on Square

              2. I loved Cheese Frenchies at King's. Today I found what is supposed to be the original recipe from King's.

                Cheese Frenchies

                6 slices white bread
                6 slices American Cheese
                1 egg
                1/2 cup milk
                3/4 cup flour
                1 tsp. salt
                Kellogg's Corn Flake Crumbs
                Oil for deep fat frying

                Make 3 sandwiches, using 2 slices of
                American Cheese per sandwich. Spread
                mayonnaise on bread slices. Cut sandwiches
                into triangles. Combine egg, milk, flour and
                salt. Dip the triangle sandwiches into egg
                mixture, and coat with corn flake crumbs.
                Fry in deep fat at 375 degrees until golden.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SKM

                  I used to go to Central High School (Better known as The Castle on the Hill) in Sioux City, Iowa, there was a King's Restaurant close by. It was one of the main hang-outs before and after games. Great Cheese Frenchies, fun to have jute box at the booth and the phones. 2 other good places were the Green Gables (Famous Hot Fudge Sundae's) and El Fredo Pizza.

                  Green Gables
                  1800 Pierce St, Sioux City, IA 51105

                  El Fredo Pizza
                  523 W 19th St, Sioux City, IA 51103

                2. I see this thread is from nearly 10 years ago, but for reference, you can get Cheese Frenchies at Stella's Blue Sky Diner in Urbandale, Iowa as well. It's long been a favorite of mine. Delicious stuff.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rewdy

                    BOOM! Got a hit on this from Google Alerts and I have to reply. I used to get the cheese Frenchee at King's in Ames, IA. It may have had a dab of mustard (just mayo?) because it had a tang beyond american cheese. Mom always used to complain about how much fat it had. Oh yeah baby. Last saw a King's in the early 80's in Cedar Rapids or Waterloo.

                    In 2008 I went back to the midwest and went to Stella's Blue Sky Diner across from Merle Hay Mall. Their version was an ABOMINATION. It was just a deep fat fried cheese sandwich. That is not a Cheese Frenchee! That's a hamless Monte Cristo you blasmpheming heathens! After all the googlin' about and effort I wanted to punch every last bicuspid out of whoever was responsible. It was the normal version and not the mistake of new employees so rewdy I'd really like to hear that Stella's have changed their EVIL ways. What gives?!

                    I also went to the Drake Diner. Their version was much the correct structure and mouthfeel and crunch but it had weird new parmesan parsley sprinkle on top and other new tastes and not enough cheese.

                    You can't go home man, you can't go home.

                    P.S. Also checked out Maid Rite. Place at Merle Hay Mall had awful...I dunno...cumin?..dry reddish version I hated. Place in NW Des Moines and Ankeny had the good stuff. Ahhhhhhh that hits the spot. Costly though.

                    1. re: CheeseFrencheeLover

                      There's a Stella's out on 100th in Urbandale. There isn't one anywhere near the Merle Hay Mall.
                      Don and Millie's in Omaha does the closest thing to the old Kings Food Host. Based out of Lincoln, there was one Kings there that held on for years after the others had closed. It succumbed in the late 80's or early 90's I think.

                  2. Cheese Frenchies were also served at the Maid-Rite in Marion, IA. We left there in 97, so I don't even know if it's still there. They were just as good as the ones served at Kings in Des Moines.

                    1. I LOVED the Cheese Frenchie - we use to get it after Jr. High School (Belmont :)
                      in Denver at King's. Oh somebody PLEEZE find the recipe.:)))

                      1. UPDATE FOR CHEESE FRENCHIES (from a listener in Atlanta)

                        I was a cook there in the early seventies and made many of these.

                        For 1 cheese Frenchie:

                        2 slices of bread (crusts removed)
                        French dressing
                        American cheese slices (we actually used Kraft slices)

                        Spread mayo on each slice of bread just enough to coat it.
                        Place one slice of cheese between the slices.
                        Cut the sandwich diagonally.
                        After the sandwich is frozen solid, dip in French dressing and coat with cracker crumbs.
                        When ready to eat deep fry til the crust is golden brown!

                        1. UPDATE FOR CHEESE FRENCHIES (from a listener in Atlanta)

                          I was a cook there in the early seventies and made many of these.

                          For 1 cheese Frenchie:

                          2 slices of bread (crusts removed)
                          French dressing
                          American cheese slices (we actually used Kraft slices)

                          Spread mayo on each slice of bread just enough to coat it.
                          Place one slice of cheese between the slices.
                          Cut the sandwich diagonally.
                          After the sandwich is frozen solid, dip in French dressing and coat with cracker crumbs.
                          When ready to eat deep fry til the crust is golden brown!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: raidinaz

                            That recipe has floated around for a while now in various permutations and attributed to various and sundry folks. I just have a hard time with the French dressing and cracker crumbs. I ate a whole lot of these as a teen in Marshalltown, Iowa and just can't recall an orange tinge beneath the crumbs. In my mind, the corn flake recipe rings true.

                            I could be wrong. I guess I'm going to have to put them both to the test. I'll report back on the results.

                            And on the menu, it was a Frenchee. Wasn't it?

                          2. To anyone who wonders where these came from Im going to set the story straight.
                            Kings Food Host based out of Lincoln Nebraska started these,kings filed for bancruptcy in 1972,my father was a state supervisor in Iowa for Kings Food Host in late 60s
                            We moved to Brookings So Dakota in 1972 and then changed our resturant name to crown family resturant,we kept the cheese frenchie around for yrs,My brother and I were thinking of opening a cheese frenchie sand shop many yrs ago in Austin TX

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: mliebelt

                              If you can settle the issue, what was the recipe? And thanks for the history lesson.

                              1. re: IowaBoy

                                I worked at the King's in Waterloo, IA in the early 70's & made Cheese Frenchees. As I recall you spread a light layer of mayo on 2 pieces of bread with the crust on, cheese between to make a sandwich. They were left whole & put in the cooler, not the freezer, for a day covered only with waxed paper. The next day we spread them with a light layer of mayo, not French dressing, then rolled them in the dry mix which came ready made in bags out of Lincoln. I asked what was in the mix but was told it was a secret. My guess would be cornflake or cracker crumbs with flour mixed in as the color was almost white. They went back to the cooler in covered tubs, ready to fry. Yum. If you get to Waterloo, the Highway 63 Diner makes a pretty good one. Just not as good as the original. Good luck finding the perfect recipe.

                                1. re: MariK

                                  Thanks so much for your story.

                              2. re: mliebelt

                                our Kings in KC became our peaches store, of which I was a charter employee.
                                The grease problems for a record store were tremendous. :)

                                1. re: mliebelt

                                  Oh, I so wish there was a cheese frenchie place in Austin! My sister and I grew up on cheese frenchies in Lincoln, NE. The only way we would ever let our parents go out on a Saturday night was if they got us cheese frenchies. I live in Austin now and would be there all the time. Oh, they were so delicious.

                                  1. re: AustinKat

                                    Cheeze Frenchies!
                                    I called Don and MIlies in Linclon and she said it's all about the cracker meal which they get in a 50lb bag. She couldn't tell me the name of them because when they get it they put it into air tight containers.
                                    She suggested using the cheese from Mac N Cheese - put a litte in the egg wash and use really fine cracker meal. They also use Velvetta and NO french dressing.
                                    I have tried all the recipes suggested and they aren't it :(((((

                                    I refuse to give up - short of driving to Lincoln I will figure this out.

                                2. Just ate at The Wood House in Bismarck, ND this weekend - it used to be a King's Food Host back in the day. It still has the phones to put your order in and yes - Cheese Frenchees and Ham and Cheese Frenchees are still on the menu. I had a ham and cheese one. Best wishes on your continued quest for them! :)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Seige

                                    Wondered when someone would mention the Wood House. I used to stop there when on business trips and it was obviously a Kings with the phones in the booths for ordering. It was my trip down memory lane as I grew up in Lincoln and had more than my share. Haven't been back for 5 or 6 years so not sure if any of the former locations exist, I know the Cornhusker HWy location was one of the last remaining on my last trip back. Hmm now I'm really missing those things

                                  2. I know what you mean. The only place that now serves these are Don and Millies in Omaha. I was too tickled that you mentioned Kings, it was at the corner from our house in Lincoln and grandma used to walk us there every friday. If you don't have a Don and Millies where you are than good luck searching.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: lilbear1825

                                      Hi. There is one, that I know of Don & Millies in Lincoln, on south 56th St., just north of highway 2. But the Amigos mexican food chaing has merge with Winchell's doughnuts, and King's Food Host! They serve the cheese frenchie in every location in Lincoln, Nebraska. Not sure about other communities, but they are out there!

                                    2. Lol, I totally remember cheese frenchies from the 80's I worked at a BBQ joint in Wichita Kansas at Brewski's BBQ, the only variation was cracker meal instead of corn flakes and miracle whip instead of Mayo (don't turn up ur nose, I love Mayo, but on a frenchie mw rocks) I have missed those things for years, had to reply

                                      1. I have only eaten cheese frenchies in two restarunts that are located in Lincoln Nebraka. Grandmothers was the name of one of the restraunts, and the Amigos/King's Classic food chain in the state of Nebraska is the other resaurant. They are both very good. I would assume that they are the 2 slices of bread and cheese with cornflakes version of the recipe. I currently live in Southern California and would love to find a place that serves them here.

                                        1. Cheese Frenchees are an amazingly simple dish that just screams FRIED CHEESE. Kings was the place to go in Nebraska for these and now the only place I can think of that you can get them are Don and Millies. Crispy, molten cheese, sooo good. With a thick milkshake...even better


                                          1. The Amigo's/Kings Classic in North Platte, NE has great Cheese Frenchies!

                                            1. So enough with the Frenchies. Does anybody know how the did those peppery burgers? I have never been able to recreate the taste and/or texture of the things. Clearly just dumping pepper on hamburger doesn't do it. Whats the secret?

                                              1. I used to get them at Mom's Restaurant in Fargo, ND. Pretty sure they put a packet of kraft mac and cheese powder in their batter. That was 20 years ago and I still fantasize about that sandwich.

                                                1. For those interested, there is an open group on FB called Cheese Frenchee Fan.

                                                  A girl just posted the real formula/recipe which she wrote down while working there.

                                                  1. I just read that they are serving Frenchies at Sally's Old Fashion Hanbugers in the Des Moines Skywalk.