Fritz's Chili owner says he's calling it quits

August 13, 2018 - 5:11 am

Fritz's Chili, at 6737 West 75th Street in Overland Park, is closing its doors for good next week.

One of Johnson County's oldest restaurants, customers know the place and menu as anything but fancy. Just good food at a good price, where the chili is served on a plate, not a bowl. Their chili is not soupy like the stuff served in most places. The decor is pure old school, with picture frames hanging on the wood-paneled wall near the cash register and a red-and-white checkerboard floor.

 "I'm happy for the owners, if that's what they're ready to do, but it'll be sad to see it go," said one devotee. "It's a unique establishment; you don't see very many like it around."

"The owners are very welcoming," a woman said. "They remember you and they know what you like."

The restaurant first opened as a Dixon's Chili Parlor in 1966. Three years later, Bruce Fritz's parents bought the place. He was 13. It was his first job. 

Years later, Bruce bought the restaurant from his parents and named it Fritz's Chili. Now Bruce, whose customers know him as Fritz, says the lease is up and it's time to retire from the only occupation he has ever had.

"It'll be nice not to have six, seven days a week," Bruce said. "But to go from that to zero's going to be different."

There are no paper menus at Fritz's Chili, just a menu board that includes hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, tamales and, of course, chili. The secret to longevity and success has been to keep things simple.

"It's always consistent, I mean we make it the same all the time," Bruce said. "We use good ingredients, we don't try to buy cheap stuff. They just like it."

Four generations of the family have worked at the restaurant over the years. Fritz is waiting to see what comes next. 

"I don't know," Bruce laughed. "My wife'll probably have something for me to do."

Fritz's Chili will serve its last meal on Friday, August 24.

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