Most Kansas City natives are familiar with Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, a kid-friendly burger joint where the food is delivered by train. A new Fritz's Railroad Restaurant recently opened in Shawnee, Kansas, on the northwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Pflumm. I've eaten at Fritz's new Shawnee location twice, and I think it's a great place to take young children for lunch or dinner. The food is not anything special or particularly healthy, but the prices are reasonable, and the unique trains-as-waiters system makes the overall dining experience fun for kids and kids-at-heart.
Kids love the trains at Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, but what do adults say about the food, service, and prices?
The food is greasy and okay at best. Not great, not terrible--just okay. I don't eat red meat, so I can't personally comment on Fritz's hamburgers. I've tried the grilled cheese sandwich and fish sandwich; of the two, the fish sandwich is better. The onion rings are okay. The crinkle-cut fries are just so-so.
Comparing Fritz's (Shawnee location) to Sonic, which is practically next door, my husband says he prefers Sonic's burgers, and I would also say that I prefer Sonic's onion rings and grilled cheese sandwiches. But brightly-colored choo-choo-ing trains don't deliver our food at Sonic!
Each booth inside Fritz's has its own telephone. When you're ready to place your order, just pick up the phone. A server will bring your drinks to the table. (I shudder to think what might happen if the trains brought out the drinks. Yikes!) The food is delivered by small train engines that circle the restaurant on overhead tracks. Once your order is dropped off, a mechanical tray lowers the food to your booth. To watch a burger-delivering train in action, visit Fritz's website.
Fritz's is a popular place. On a Friday at noon, my son and I were seated right away, but there were just a few open tables left. Our order was taken as soon as I picked up the phone, and we waited about ten minutes for our food to chugga-chugga-choo-choo to our booth. The second time I visited Fritz's (Shawnee location) was on a Saturday afternoon, right before the dinner rush had started; again, we were seated right away, but by the time we left, there were several families waiting to be seated. We had a bit of trouble using the phone to place our order and had to flag down a server, and we waited about twenty-five minutes for our food to arrive. The good news is, even if you have to wait awhile, it's still entertaining to watch the trains delivering food to other people.
Fritz's prices are very reasonable. Most of their burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs cost less than $4.00 (but sides like fries and onion rings must be purchased separately). The “Lil Engineers” kid's meal special includes a choice of hamburger, cheeseburger, hot dog, chicken nuggets, or grilled cheese sandwich, plus fries (or a fruit bowl) and a drink for $4.99. My son highly recommends Fritz's milkshakes. Go here to view Fritz's complete menu.
Fritz's Railroad Restaurant souvenirs are available for purchase. Paper engineer hats for the kids are free.
Fritz's Railroad Restaurant's new Shawnee location is just west of Sheridan's Frozen Custard, at
13803 W. 63rd St. For more info., call (913) 375-1000 or visit www.fritzskc.com. Fritz's Railroad Restaurant has two other Kansas City locations: inside Crown Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and 250 N. 18th St. in Kansas City, Kansas.
Related article: What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Kansas City?