Kurt Ritz contends that cheese is the most important part of a horseshoe, the open-face kitchen-sink pseudo-sandwich of Springfield, Illinois. Canned cheese sauce, which some Springfield shoe makers use, is easy and bright, but it cannot match the silky orange emulsion that starts with the roux Ritz makes each morning, to which he adds Old English cheese and milk to achieve a consistency that will cling to meat and potatoes but not weigh them down. Although beer is not part of most recipes, Springfield’s better sauces have hopsy verve that balances their thickness and offers contrast to the heft of potatoes above and meat below. Ritz’s is good enough that many customers pay 50 cents to get extra sauce for their shoe.
Ritz’s serves very nice shoes (as well as smaller “pony shoes”) for breakfast, starting at 5:30am as well as for lunch. Potential ingredients include burgers, turkey, fish, sausage, grilled tenderloins. You even can substitute American fries or hash browns for the more typical crinkle-cut French fries.