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80s Franchise G.D. Ritzy’s Eyes Clintonville for Central Ohio Return

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega 80s Franchise G.D. Ritzy’s Eyes Clintonville for Central Ohio ReturnDesign by David B. Meleca / Meleca Architecture.
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G.D. Ritzy’s is preparing a Central Ohio return. Anyone remember it? The gourmet hamburger franchise soared in the 80s, serving up shoe string fries and milkshakes in diners reminiscent of the 40s. After its 26-year hiatus, G D R Concepts LLC has put in an application with the Clintonville Commission to put a brand new Ritzy’s (losing the “G.D.”) on North High Street in Clintonville.

Graydon D. Webb, Ritzy’s Founder, had run-ins with a couple fast food giants — KFC’s Colonel Harland Sanders and Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas — before starting his own Midwestern chain. Taking the experience from his position at Wendy’s as vice president of franchise sales, Webb started Ritzy’s in 1980.

The restaurant took off fast, going public within two years. Franchises popped up around the Midwest, making up two-thirds of the 90 stores that opened by 1989. Despite the apparent success, Ritzy’s wasn’t making enough to cover costs. In 1988 the company launched Daddy-O’s, a second, cheaper drive-thru concept, to boost profits. It didn’t help. By 1991, every Central Ohio Ritzy’s was closed, some becoming Rally’s. One Ritzy’s remains, in Huntington, WV.

Ritzy’s is pegged for an old Auto Expo shop at 4615 N. High St. The Clintonville Area Commission will hear the application at their next meeting on June 1.

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