Alisa Reber remembers her days at G.D. Ritzy's well.

For starters, the uniform left an indelible impression; it was a white short-sleeved shirt, a green bow tie and a tissue hat in the style of soda jerks of the 1950s.

"I don't know that I miss working at a fast-food restaurant," said the Clintonville resident, who was an employee at Ritzy's in the mid-1980s while she was attending Westerville North High School. "But for a high school job, it was a good gig."

Reber can't help but feel a little nostalgic for the return of G.D. Ritzy's, a home-grown original now poised to make a comeback in the central Ohio market.

The restaurant, once known for its burgers, shoestring fries, chili dogs and premium ice creams, has made an application with the city of Columbus to take over a former used-car lot at 4615 N. High St. in Clintonville.

Graydon D. Webb, founder of the restaurant, which made its debut in May 1980, said he hopes to open the new spot -- to be called Ritzy's -- by late fall.

The site, once an A&W Restaurant, will seat around 40 and have a walk-up window for those buying ice cream.

The last of the local G.D. Ritzy's stores, which once totaled 100 nationwide, closed in 1991. Franchises remain open in Evansville, Indiana; Owensboro, Kentucky; and Huntington, West Virginia.

Webb said he believes the restaurant is primed for a return, as demand for premium ice cream and fresh burgers has intensified in recent years.

The new Clintonville store would be five blocks from the former site of a Ritzy's that operated at East Cooke Road and North High Street.

"It's a great market, from our experience there," Webb said.

The new site is 1,200 square feet, with a similar footprint as most of the previous stores, and will have no drive-through. Webb said prices will be slightly higher than most fast-food burger chains, but still affordable for families.

Webb opened his first local store in May 1980 at Reed and Henderson roads in northwest Columbus. The company went public in 1982 and quickly grew to 100 stores in five states -- "way too fast," said Webb, who sold his interests in the business when an investment group bought it in 1986.

The restaurant's presence in the local market disappeared in 1991, when the last of 19 central Ohio stores closed.

Webb said the restaurant's foundation, however, is strong.

"If anything, we were ahead of our time," he said. "We were in the gourmet-hamburger business in the mid-1980s."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary