Cheese Frenchee and A Walk Down Memory Lane

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Nebraska cheese frenchee
If you were luckkingsfoodhostsigny enough to grow up in the Midwest in the 1960’s or 1970’s you just may have fallen in love with the Cheese Frenchee.  I was and I did.  Just the name evokes fond memories of sitting at the King’s Food Host in Scottsbluff, Nebraska or sometimes in Lincoln munching away on their cheesy creation and their famous onion rings.

white bread
It’s remarkable how many people still pine for Frenchees of days gone by. Recipes for the most cherished of these, the Cheese Frenchee, a battered, deep-fried cheese sandwich with a crunchy cornflake exterior, are all over the internet.  I found this website, inthe70s.com where lots of folks, just like me, fondly remember the Cheese Frenchee or its sister, the Tuna Frenchee.

ingredients cheese frenchee
On a recent trip back through Nebraska, I ate at a restaurant in Omaha with Cheese Frenchee on the menu.  I immediately knew what I would be eating for dinner that night.  Even though they over-fried it slightly, it was still a delicious reminder of how much I loved these as a kid.

mayo on cheese frenchee
Frenchees were the creation of King’s Food Host, a fast-food chain catering to families and college students in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the chain’s units were located in the middle of the country, with headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, where there were once nine units.

The first – King’s Drive-In – was started by James King and Larry Price in 1955, on North Cotner in Lincoln. I wonder if the first one had telephones at each table that patrons used to send their orders to the kitchen?

dip cheese frenchee
Since King’s went out of business in the late 1970’s I didn’t even think the Frenchee was available anymore.  Back home in Tennessee, I knew I needed to share this childhood memory with my Chief Culinary Consultant.  He is a grilled cheese connoisseur and quite interested in my description of the Cheese Frenchee.

dip x 2 cheese frenchee
After surfing the net and comparing many recipes, the recipe I used seems to be the most popular among those who say they worked at Kings!

corn flake crumbs on sandwich
Requirements include white bread (crusts removed), mayonnaise, American cheese, flour, egg, and milk batter, and crushed corn flakes.

frying frenchee
I don’t have a deep fryer so I made my frenchee grilled in butter.  This worked beautifully.

cheese frenchee on wht plate
I didn’t cut off the crusts but next time I will.  I also didn’t cut the bread in half before cooking and next time I will.

cheese frenchee bite
All in all the flavor is exactly as I remember it to be.  Is the cheese frenchee a fond memory for you too? If so, at what King’s Food Host location did you dine?

Happy Eating!
~Blessings, Catherine

cheese frenchee on wht plate

Cheese Frenchee

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes

This Cheese Frenchee will take you on a walk down memory lane if you were lucky enough to eat these fantastic sandwiches when King's Food Host sold them throughout the Midwest during the 1960's and 1970's.

Ingredients

  • 6 slices American, Cheddar, or Velveta Cheese
  • 6 slices white bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cornflake crumbs, crushed fine
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons butter, for frying

Instructions

  1. Prepare 3 sandwiches, using mayonnaise and 2 slices of cheese for each. Cut each sandwich in half.
  2. Combine egg, milk, flour, and salt.
  3. Dip each triangle into the egg mixture and then coat with the cornflake crumbs.
  4. Lightly fry each sandwich in 2 tablespoons butter, turning to brown each side.
  5. Repeat with each sandwich.

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51 thoughts on “Cheese Frenchee and A Walk Down Memory Lane”

  1. I grew up in Kearney Nebraska and would go to the Kings there weekly to get one of these. When Kings closed their doors, I figured I was just out of luck to ever get another cheese frenchee. After moving to Omaha for my career, a friend and I went to a Don and Millies to eat. about fainted when I saw a cheese frenchee on the menu. I am now retired and moved out of State and I haven’t been able to find one since. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
  2. Why, oh WHY did Kings ever go out of business?! With the “pandemic” of today, Frenchees would be serious comfort food — not the bland, tasteless sawdust served by most fast-food places! While there’s something to be said about consistency (every McD’s hamburger tastes the same), what happened to FLAVOR and… well, real food, fast/junk or not? If one craves “unhealthy” stuff occasionally, why not a Frenchee & the best onion rings EVER!

    Reply
  3. Hi. I grew up and still live in Manitoba Canada. I lived in Winnipeg ( Go Jets) till I was about 30 and then moved to rural Manitoba. So Kings was on Pembina Highway. So in 1970 I was 15 which means I went with my parents. They had the order at the table ( high tech lol) and I always got the crazy yummy cheese Frenchee. Seriously. It ruled. It was so perfectly balanced. There’s another childhood cheesy thing That’s long gone. Eaton Grill Room cheese squares. It was a thick square of crust less bread. Like the shape of a child’s building block. It was covered in cheese on all sides with a few charred cheesy bits all over. Like how? How did they do it. You got 3 on a plate. Seriously perfect cheesy block of bread with cheese. Like a French loaf dipped in cheese fondu and lightly broiled on all sides. Miraculous:) anyway love that I found your recipe. Stay safe and well. I am missing restaurants a lot.

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  4. Kings in Vincennes, IN was at 6th & Niblack! My fav as a kid was calling in my family order, and having the chipswisswich and fries!

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    • I live I Denver Colorado
      There were 2 high schools that hung out At Kings every day after school and after football games, and dances
      My absolute favorite food there was the cheese drenched
      I crave it still and it 60 years ago that I met the cheese drenched
      Thank you for the recipe ❣️

      Reply
  5. I grew up in Omaha and my uncle was the manager of Kings in Leavenworth street. I loved going there. It Had both a sit down restaurant (with phones at every booth) and a drive in.

    Reply
    • I grew up in Lincoln and graduated from east highin 72and I was at kings every weekend on Cotner. We also had the Nebraska Runza it was very good also. Loved the prime rib at Mistys restaurant, I was a bartender at uncle Sam’s for three years why it was on 25th and o in Lincoln Nebraska why I was in college.Mark

      Reply
  6. I used to eat at Kings Food Host as a child of the 70’s in Fargo, ND. ALWAYS had the cheese frenchee!
    Moved to Bismarck, ND and worked at The WoodHouse(used to be Kings)where they are still serving the cheese frenchee. 🙂

    Thank you for the trip down memory lane!
    I will be making these!!

    Reply
  7. I just had one tonight in Omaha. They are served at a couple places there (I live just north) including Amigos/King’s Classic. Guess Nebraska’s culunary claims to fame are this and Runzas, lol.

    Reply
  8. Kearney Nebraska….college years 1967-1970. Tuna Frenchees and Cheese Frenchees at Kings. It was a treat to go out with friends. On a college budget so didn’t do it very often.

    Reply
  9. Bill Holtorf,

    Reading that you were from Gering, you may know some of my relatives from that area. My grandmother’s family were the Gallawa family (there were a lot of them in the area at that time) and my distant cousin, Rob Manka, was from Gering. His parents were Gene and Gerrie Manka.

    Reply
  10. Although my mother’s family grew up in Scottsbluff, my memories of King’s were in North Platte, Nebraska. I was a cheese frenchee junkie. My order was a cheese frenchee with onion rings. I am salivating right now thinking about these.

    Reply
  11. Scottsbluff main street,I am from Gering and after ball games or just dragging main,Kings was the place,cheese frenchee, onion rings OMG. What memories…

    Reply
  12. My sister and I wete just remembering the Frenchees we ate at KFH in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was looking thru the NY Times cookbook where I saw a sandwich similar to the Fremchee, called Mozzarella in Carrozza. So I called sis to remind me of the sandwich we used to order on the phone. I will try your version. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Thank you so very much for sharing this recipe. I frequented King’s Food Host in Council Bluffs, Iowa as a teenager.Cheese Frencies and Tuna Frenchies were on the plate every visit!
    You inspired me to make some for dinner tonite for the family!
    Blessings!!!

    Reply
  14. I loved these things in high school. Before basketball games we would drive 12 miles to Fremont Nebraska and have these and their great onion rings. This was before we knew about greasy meals before playing. I have tried to make some but they sure don’t have the taste of the original but now I will try this recipe i

    Reply
  15. As a kid in the 60’s, I remember eating Cheese and Tuna Frenchees at King’s Food Host in two locations in Topeka, Kansas. One was on 21st Street just west of Topeka Boulevard and the other was in Downtown Topeka in the 600 block Kansas Ave. The restaurant had phones in all the booths and you would pick it up and place your order. I loved these sandwiches and am so excited to get to taste them again. My memories of this place are very sweet and bring a smile to my face. Blessings!

    Reply
  16. I have craved these sandwiches since I left Denver in 1969. Got them from a walk-up, hole in the wall, shop on the back side of the block from The Denver Post where I worked. Walked up to the half door, placed my order and if it was payday added ham, few minutes later off I went with my sandwich. Didn’t even know or remember what the official name of it was and pretty sure the little hole in the wall didn’t have a name either (must have been one somewhere). Anyway, finally got serious and googled a long random sentence and up popped all these memories from people in the midwest talking about that darn sandwich. I scanned down and sure enough people from Denver were adding their messages as well. They all talked about some place like a Denny’s, not my little hole in the wall but it’s the same sandwich.
    I am an AZ native and never heard of it before or after living in Denver. I married a man from Kansas and he didn’t know what it was either. I DON’T REALLY CARE I HAVE THE RECIPE NOW AND I AM AT PEACE!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Dear Joyce, thank you for taking time to write to me. I love those memories too! I hope you will find time to make these – they are absolutely delicious and very close to that walk down memory lane. Have a blessed weekend!

      Reply
  17. As a Northeast native, I have never heard of these; but I can totally get behind the concept. I would have loved it if my mom gave me one of these for lunch 🙂

    Reply
    • Even though it looks like a grilled cheese sandwich, the batter and cornflakes take on a whole flavor of their own, not to mention the crunch. Oh for Heavens sake this is making me hungry! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Have never heard of them! And still in the town I grew up, in the middle of Kansas. You would think talk of them would of drifted this way! Those sound very good.

    Reply
    • I’ve read on a restaurant history site that they were in these 18 states and Canada. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. BUT, I have no idea where in Kansas. Probably in the bigger cities, and especially around colleges.

      Reply

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