Cheese and Tuna Franchees were well known deep fat fried sandwiches on the menu at King’s Food Host restaurants in the 1960s and 1970s. They were cheese or tuna salad sandwiches dipped in batter, rolled in cracker meal and deep fat fried. The sandwiches were served along with a tiny paper cup of thousand island dressing, mayo or French dressing to dip them in. The sandwiches were cut into triangles and an order consisted of three triangles. A side of French fries or onion rings was extra.
The restaurants were located mainly in the American plains states and were usually close to universities. The company was based in Lincoln Nebraska. The company failed sometime in the 70s after expanding too fast.
A few things made them unique to the time period. No cigarette machines were allowed in the buildings, no tipping of staff by customers was permitted (anyone found accepting a tip would be fired on the spot) and each booth had a phone along with the menu so customers could call their orders into the kitchen. They advertised that they were family friendly. Their ads stressed that no tipping was allowed so a family could save money but still receive good service.
They hired a lot of high school kids because they could pay them less than adults, at least the one in the city I grew up in did. It was a learning experience that I haven’t thought of in years, low pay, no tips, and we were allowed to only use hot water and vinegar to clean the booths. You smelled like a darn pickle when you left work.
This recipe will make 4 sandwiches.
Cheese Frenchee Sandwiches
- 4 slices of white bread
- 8 slices of American cheese
- Boiled salad dressing or mayo
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
- 50 soda crackers, or more, crushed into fine meal
- Cooking oil to fry the sandwiches in
Crush the crackers into a fine meal, put in a shallow pan and set aside. Mix the milk, egg and flour together in a shallow dish. It will be a fritter batter. If too thick add a bit more milk.
Lay out the slices of bread and cut off the crusts. Spread mayo or boiled dressing over one side of each slice. Lay two slices of cheese on 4 slices of bread, cover with the other slices of bread. Cut each sandwich into triangles.
Dip each triangle into the egg, milk, and flour batter. Put each into the cracker meal and thickly coat all sides. Lay the battered and coated triangles on a sheet pan. Refrigerate for about an hour or freeze until you want to cook the sandwiches.
Fry the sandwiches in deep hot fat until golden brown. You can fry them in about ½ inch or so of cooking oil in a large frying pan. Brown on one side, turn to brown the other. Drain sandwiches on a wire rack or paper towels.
Tuna Frenchee Sandwiches
- 1 can of tuna
- 1 tablespoon of minced onion
- ¼ teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon or more of pickle relish
- Enough mayo to hold the mixture together
- 4 slices of bread
- 4 slices of American cheese
- Mayo or boiled salad dressing
- Same batter and coating as cheese Frenchee recipe
Mix the tuna salad ingredients together or use your own favorite recipe. Lay out the bread slices, cut off the crusts and spread one side of each slice with mayo. Lay a slice of cheese on 4 slices of bread, cover the other 4 slices of bread with the tuna salad. Put the cheese and bread slices on top of the tuna and bread slices. Cut sandwiches into triangles.
Dip in batter, coat in cracker meal and refrigerate as in the cheese Frenchee recipe. Fry in deep fat or in a frying pan as in the cheese Frenchee recipe.
- 2 large onions, sliced ¼ inch thick and sparated into rings
- Batter and coating the same as the sandwich recipes
Peel and slice the onions. Dip each onion ring into batter and then into cracker meal. Lay on a sheet pan and refrigerate or freeze until ready to fry. After frying lightly sprinkle with salt.
The sandwiches are good dipped into your favorite salad dressing. Thousand island or Russian is good.
The cheese Franchise is better with sharp cheddar or Swiss cheese. Mustard can be used instead of mayo on the bread. Slices of tomato along with the cheese are fantastic. If you like onion, add a thin slice of that.
Slices of deli ham along with cheese are another good combination for the sandwich.