Brisbane eatery Fritzenberger buys original Sizzler cheese toast machine

Brisbane eatery Fritzenberger buys original Sizzler cheese toast machine
  • PublishedJune 7, 2024

A Queensland restaurant has answered the prayers of diners everywhere and resurrected the all-time greatest of Australian side dishes: Sizzler cheese toast.

Inarguably the sole reason to visit the all-you-can-eat buffet chain before it became a mass casualty of Covid-19, the iconic food has had plenty of imitators – and more than one “authentic” recipe – in the four, hard years we’ve been without, but is impossible to truly replicate. Until now.

Brisbane eatery Fritzenberger has announced it’s procured an actual cheese toast machine – AN ACTUAL CHEESE TOAST MACHINE!!! – from Sizzler to take its dupe of the carb-y delight to new heights.

The toaster was purchased by a friend of the Fritzenberger team at auction when Sizzler’s Maroochydore location shuttered in 2020, according to The Courier-Mail, who then sold it on to the South Bank restaurant.

“The team were very excited at the procurement of the machine and to offer the iconic item to our customers,” a spokesperson told the paper.

Sweet prince, how I’ve missed you!

Sweet prince, how I’ve missed you!

No doubt imbued with the ghosts of cheese toast slices past, surely the machine will deliver diners that hallowed Sizzler flavour we’ve been so cruelly deprived of.

Fritzenberger, best known for its burgers, parmies, wings and ribs, prepares their cheese toast with the holy trinity of ingredients – thick white bread, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and “crystal salted butter”.

“We’ve stayed true to the iconic recipe,” executive chef Sebastian Calais said.

“But, we’ve used higher quality ingredients to really intensify the flavours. There may never be a better way to do it.” (Until Gina Rinehart quits complaining about artwork in her likeness, puts her money to good use, and resurrects the chain to its former glory, that is.)

Fritzenberger's take on Sizzler's cheesy toast. Molto bene! Bellissima!

Fritzenberger’s take on Sizzler’s cheesy toast. Molto bene! Bellissima!

Australians were first exposed to the bowling club carpets and American diner booths of Sizzler 39 years ago, when the suburban dining stalwart’s first restaurant opened in the Brisbane suburb of Annerley.

At its peak in 1993, the chain boasted 83 locations nationwide. Diners all around the country enjoyed the endless vats of Alfredo, potato skins and full control over a soft serve machine with not one but two flavours – a luxury normally afforded only to pimply-faced teenage fast food employees.

Where else could you squeeze cheese-coated bread, chocolate mousse, potato bake and a trilogy of bizarre salads that you’d only take one bite of (before discarding to the side and heading back for another round of carbs) and call it dinner?

But then, like with all good things in life that we’re awarded in limitless supply, we became ungrateful.

The temptation of a meal that wasn’t entirely comprised of beige elements or manhandled by a family of 12 grotty children before you elbowed them out of the way and put it on your plate became too hard to resist.

Sizzlers across Australia began to shut – until just eight remained: four in my native Queensland, three in Western Australia, and one near Campbelltown, on the fringes of Sydney.

Then the pandemic swept in and sh*t all over it, and took down the rest.

“Sizzler revenues and earnings have been slow to recover from peak COVID-19 impacts,” Collins Foods, Sizzler’s parent company, announced on that fateful day in October 2020.

“This has been a difficult decision for Collins Foods, especially given the impact it will have on our dedicated Sizzler employees and customers in Australia,” Collins Foods’ CEO Drew O’Malley said.

“The ongoing impact of Covid-19 on revenues has meant that unfortunately these restaurants have not established a clear path to profitability in the foreseeable future.”

Those last eight restaurants took their final bow on November 16 packed with diehard fans, itching to overeat to an astonishing degree and pester the staff for multiple plates of that beloved complimentary entree one last time.


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