Merichkas Salad Dressing

Merichka’s Salad Dressing is one of the best kept secrets in the Chicagoland area. This is the original house dressing from Merichka’s and is a “must have” when ordering their famous Poorboy plate. I have looked for it on the web and it is nowhere to be found. My source must be kept secret.

bowl of salad dressing

Merichkas Salad Dressing

bowl of salad dressing

Merichkas Salad Dressing – don’t miss out on this Midwest favorite.

You can make the Merichkas salad dressing at home with this easy copycat recipe. 
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Salad Dressing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 89kcal


  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder


  • Mix all ingredients together in a salad oil bottle, chill and pour over salad. Enjoy!


Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sandra

    5 stars
    I agree, I don’t why all the web sites show orange, it’s very red. Thank you for clearing that up and the revision is right on. Thx you. Long time customer

  2. Jay

    I went to grade school with the daughter and two sons of the owner, had sleep-overs where we’d go to “the tavern” for spper and watch Rosie in the kitchen making poor boys. Your recipe is correst except eliminate the water and add a small finely grated onion with the juice. Let stand at least two hours for the flavors to meld. And shake well before serving.

  3. bjn

    5 stars
    Use to live in Cresthill where Merichka’s is…my Mom’s recipe from way back in 60’s is same except use only 1/4 c cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp of black pepper and add 1/4 tsp. salt. (It’s my husband’s favorite)

    And it’s like a French or Russian dressing. Red, not like picture. The picture looks like a thousand island or something.

  4. ChelleG

    k so I go to post my comment and I am new so I type everything and put a name, email, password and then a disappearing act…everything I typed is gone…ok 2nd time around……I was floored when I saw this recipe on here…being a resident of Joliet my entire life and now reside in Crest Hill!!! I too have this recipe and received it from my mom’s friend who worked there for a long time many years ago and was close friends with the family there…I have just about everything that Phil put on his recipe, except these differences…I have apple cider vinegar instead of vinegar, (I am sure the difference is not that drastic) also I have 1 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. My family loves this salad dressing so much I usually have to make a double batch or it is gone quick 🙂 I WOULD love the actual recipe for the garlic butter, however Merichka’s does sell the butter in 3 different size tubs and they are pretty reasonable price (not so good for those of you that are from here and have moved away though). On another note…every 4th of July cookout my uncle uses the garlic butter to make grilled garlic butter shrimp…it is soooo yummy and is gone quick(even though every year more shrimp get made then the year before lol)

  5. Phil1953

    The recipe for the steak poorboy is simple: Grilled cube steak with lots of garlic butterine (garlic, butter, margerine) slathered on lightly toasted french bread. Add hamburger pickles on the side; I like swiss cheese on mine. Add a twice-baked potato with the salad and you have the poor boy plate. Enjoy!

    • Mdademail-web

      What is used on the cube steak when grilled? What measurements are used for garlic, butter, and margerine?

  6. Phil1953

    I’m the one that posted the recipe with “my source must be kept secret” and I can tell you 100 percent that this is the recipe.

  7. Sandbyrd216

    I was glad to find your found secret, I used to have it because my friends had it from their sister working there. Thanks to you I have it again, awesome! The picture you have does not look like the bright red color that it really looks like, oh well, they will see.

    • Phil1953

      Yeah, I posted the recipe, CopyKat added the picture, not even close, but this is the authentic recipe. I’ve had it since the 1960’s.

      • Bernie

        Hi Phil,

        Thanks for posting the recipe for everyone to enjoy!! 🙂 I don’t understand why people (aka “Paula” below) won’t post the recipe for others to enjoy….That’s what this website is all about! Food is meant to be enjoyed and of course SHARED with others!

        I went to Med School in Chicago and really enjoyed and now miss this dressing. Thanks again!!

      • Phil1953

        Hi Bernie:

        Could be she’s part of the Merichka family and she’s discouraging people. I lived in a small town in Illinois where the owner of Merichka’s also lived and he gave me the recipe. I also have the recipe for the poorboy. My family has enjoyed this for many decades and I posted it on Copykat.

        This is absolutely authentic and if you use the recipe exactly (I like Heinz Ketchup), your taste buds and memory will confirm it.

        It’s not rocket science folks!

  8. Paula

    We have been going to Merichkas for the last 35 years and I can tell you with 100 percent surety that this is NOT their infamous house dressing recipe. And I know this because I personally have the coveted recipe that we got from an employee about 20 years ago.

    • Mary

      I also have the coveted recipe & love it! I lived in Joliet for 30 yrs and grew up on Merichkas food. I moved away 22 years ago but my entire family still lives there. Everytime I visit I have to have a Merichkas poorboy! I would like the garlic butterine recipe. Any help?

    • Rod Chamberlin

      Hi Paula,

      I grew up in New Lenox, and now I live in Florida. I sure miss Merichkas. Can you send me the recipe.

    • Sam

      Hi Paula,

      I am originally from Joliet and now live in St. Louis, far too many miles from this beloved dressing. Could you share the recipe with me as well? I could tell from the ingredient list it wasn’t the recipe I remember.


  9. Amanda

    First test taste with EXACT ingredients, and yep thats the stuff! YUM!!! I can’t wait for it to get chilled! Aloha!

  10. Jill

    I lived in Crest Hill in the early 60’s and my mom would take my brother and I to Merichka’s for lunch. They had the best poor boys I’ve ever eaten. This salad dressing is outstanding as well.

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