Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers opened its 201st restaurant last month in Shiloh, and Freddy Simon, 91, showed up for the grand opening.
“It was a special privilege to have Freddy here,” said Todd Hatze, 42, a regional manager based in Kansas City. “He tries to get to as many (openings) as he can, but he can’t always make it. He lives in Wichita.”
Even when Freddy isn’t around, customers feel like they know him. Restaurants are lined with black-and-white photos from his childhood, military service and career in the beverage industry.
It was his two sons, Bill and Randy Simon, and their partner, Scott Redler, who opened the first Freddy’s in Wichita in 2002.
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“Our concept is built around family,” Todd said. “It’s very common when you go to our stores to see families, kids running around and people coming in after church.”
The restaurant specializes in steakburgers on butter-toasted buns. It also serves hot dogs, chicken tenders, chili, soft-serve cones, sundaes and concretes.
The most popular menu item is Freddy’s Original Double Steakburger ($4.59). It’s often paired with crispy shoestring fries, which customers dip in fry sauce made with ketchup, mayo, pickle juice and other seasonings.
“We prepare all of our food fresh to order,” Todd said. “When the guest orders, that’s when we start cooking. There (are) no microwave ovens. There (are) no heat lamps.”
Decor is reminiscent of ’50s soda fountains with red booths and spinner stools, diner-style tables and pendulum lighting.
On a recent weekday, customers included Bonnie and Jim Noeninger, of Shiloh, who anxiously had awaited the restaurant’s opening this summer.
“We were in Springfield in March, and we ate at Freddy’s, and we absolutely loved it,” said Bonnie, 74, a retired beautician. “I had a patty melt, and it was hand-pattied, just like you’d make at home. It was great.”
In Shiloh, the Noeningers ordered Signature Turtle sundaes ($3.49 to $4.49) with vanilla soft serve, hot fudge, hot caramel, toasted pecans, whipped cream and cherries.
A few tables away sat another customer who had tried Freddy’s in Springfield. Mike Schaeffer was working as a boilermaker in Peoria at the time.
“It’s got great food and fast service, and it’s higher quality than regular fast food,” he said, finishing off a Single Steakburger with fries ($5.49) and Hot Dog ($2.99).
On this day, Mike, 33, of O’Fallon, was eating with stepson Grant Williams and stepdaughters Storm’e and Samya Williams.
Freddy’s has individually owned franchises and company owned restaurants, like the one in Shiloh, in almost every state.
Shiloh is the third location in the St. Louis area and the third in Illinois. The building used to house Johnny Rockets.
“What sets us apart (from other restaurants) is the quality of our food, the hospitality of our team and the cleanliness of our store,” Todd said.
At a glance
- What: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
- Where: 3320 Green Mount Crossing Drive in Shiloh
- Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
- Seating: 90
- Handicap-accessible: Yes
- Information: Call 618-206-6236 or visit www.freddysusa.com