Graydon Webb finally has an answer to a question people have been asking him for nearly three decades.
The question is, when will the shoestring fries-deprived residents of Columbus see the return of G.D. Ritzy's, a restaurant chain Webb founded in May 1980?
The answer is that the updated version -- simply called Ritzy's -- is, after several setbacks and delays, scheduled to open the second week of August in what once was an A&W Restaurant at 4615 N. High St. in Clintonville.
G.D. Ritzy's grew into a chain of 100 outlets across the country, but the last local one closed in 1991, and the only remaining stores are in Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.
When Webb announced in May 2017 that he planned to revive Ritzy's in Columbus -- with help from sons Bryan and Corey Webb and their friend, Drew DeVilbiss, all of whom were reared in Upper Arlington -- he projected a fall opening date.
Delays and unexpected expenses -- including having to pony up a quarter of the $160,000 city officials insisted was required for improvements to the intersection of High Street and Garden Road, where the restaurant is rising -- pushed that timetable back considerably.
"It was painful for the first 10 months," Graydon Webb said.
"A little bit of Murphy's law happened with some stuff," Bryan Webb added. "We're happy to have it working out.
"We want to bring back the concept as close as possible to what people remember, without alienating new customers."
That means, he said, the resurrection of shoestring fries, crispy burgers, hot dogs that pop on first bite, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
"We have a feeling that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich might be a niche item for us," Corey Webb said.
"Our ice cream is where we feel we really have something special," Bryan Webb said.
Westerville resident Rick Brown wants to sample it all.
"Back in the day, when I worked downtown, I would go to one that was close to where I was on High Street," Brown recalled. "I thought the hot dogs were amazing. The ice cream was just something that I couldn't get anywhere else. The french fries were out of this world and the hamburgers were terrific.
"There was nothing about Ritzy's that I didn't like."
When the new Ritzy's finally opens its doors -- and Brown has the date circled on his calendar -- he plans to order a hamburger. And a hot dog. And, of course, shoestring fries.
"And I will have ice cream," he said. "I will do everything all together that I ever did. I can't wait to see that menu, and I will be taking people there.
"They say you can't go home again, but I'm willing to try."
The restaurant will seat 40 and will not have a drive-through.
Ritzy's hours are still up in the air, but Graydon Webb said the store would be open from "lunch and dinner to early late night."
A walkup window for ice-cream sales may stay open a little later, Corey Webb added.