Upscale McDonalds?
December 6, 2001 11:20 PM   Subscribe

Upscale McDonalds? Could this work? It looks like such a waste of investment dollars its not funny. This reminds me of the big plans McDee's had to combine its restaurants with gas stations. I don't think most if not any of those are around anymore.
posted by skallas (72 comments total)
i go by a mcdonald's / gas station every day on my way to work. granted, it's the only one i've ever seen...
posted by moz at 11:26 PM on December 6, 2001

The only question in my mind is; What kind of books would McDonalds choose to put on it's shelves?

If anyone lives by this McDonalds, please, Please, sneak "subversive" works onto the bookshelves. Issues of 2600, Mien Kamf, Pro-Vegetarian Pamphlets, Steal This Book, etc. etc. etc.
posted by Newbornstranger at 11:31 PM on December 6, 2001

there's a nice mcdonalds in salzburg, austria. it has no humongous neon lighted m outside, rather a small golden arch hanging from a delicately carved, well... here's a picture of what it's like so you can see for yourself. it matches the surrounding medieval environment, and the interior decoration also reflects the location. i think it's a delightful idea, i wonder if there are any other cultured mcdonald restaurants out there that are like this one?
posted by dai at 11:34 PM on December 6, 2001

Ooooh... woodgrain tables! Books!

I doubt if this McDonald's is as "upscale" as the poster or the article writer or its interviewees would have us believe; probably just a little "boosterism" on the part of the local paper. I mean, they may be earth tones instead of primary colors, but I'd bet the seats are still made of hard plastic, designed more to make you leave after a short sit than to linger. And, of course, we all know just how "upscale" the food is. Chances are the average TGI Friday's still "outclasses" this new Mickey D's.
posted by verdezza at 12:10 AM on December 7, 2001

Exactly. It doesn't matter if there are (fake?) books lining the walls; as long as the food is ...well.. as it is, it won't ever be upscale anywhere. Even so it is a good thing, I think. Reducing the mcdonaldism by an order of magnitude.

As to more stylish McDonald's restaurants, I saw a one in the medieval German town of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber (spelling is probably a wee bit off), which blended completely with the general facades of the street. There was no mistaking the interior for anything but McDonald's and the food was still the same, unfortunately.
posted by cx at 12:28 AM on December 7, 2001

When McDs wanted to put a restaurant in Freeport Maine they made them have waiters. They had to build it in an old farm house with no drive through, no big McDs sign, wood tables. I even think the have bookshelves. Food still sucked though...
posted by jeblis at 1:03 AM on December 7, 2001

I go by a McDonald's / gas station every day on my way to work as well Moz (in Seattle) so I guess they're still around.
posted by kokogiak at 1:07 AM on December 7, 2001

I believe McDonald's is still at many of the Connecticut highway rest stops, which also have gas stations. And while we're on the topic, may I recommend the book "McDonald's : Behind the Arches" by John F. Love if you want to learn more about the history and workings of the company.
posted by girlhacker at 1:10 AM on December 7, 2001

We have a McDonalds/gas station here in Brisbane (Aus) too. The gas in question is Shell, and just down the road BP have built a humungous gas station with, you guessed it, a Hungry Jack's (=Burger King) attached.

I think "attached to a gas station" is about as upscale as a McD's can get. We're not exactly talking haute cuisine.
posted by sennoma at 1:14 AM on December 7, 2001

an atmosphere that would draw the family in, something that isn't as rushed

And I'm sure one of these will be moving into downtown Berkeley soon... where we have a drab and dirty McDonald's with bright yellow signs telling you that you may not sit for longer than 15 minutes, or have someone else buy you food (some bizarrely phrased order intended to make it impossible for the homeless to eat there on your dime), with a locked bathroom, with hazards ranging from the smell of urine to staff with dirty fingernails or who will never know how to make a sundae...

My point is, there is already an incredible comfort gulf between urban and suburban fast food (within any one brand name). The Carmel golden arches can be just as nice as they say, and it wouldn't be a radical expansion of the spectrum on that end.

This has often amazed me, since I am convinced that a clean, occasionally renovated, and well-managed McDonalds, BBQ joint, or whatever, would take in money hand over fist from the huge student population here. But the corporate folks obviously aren't watching with concern what goes on in the bottom reaches of their fast food empire. (BTW, the inner-city neighborhood I know from my high school days had a perfectly nice McDonalds... better management, maybe, or perhaps East Bay Squalor just has something of a religious hold on people...)
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:25 AM on December 7, 2001

We got a McD's attached to a gas station in north Dallas, just off the tollway, for the rich upscale neighborhood of fast-paced corporate types on the go. Personally I'd drive right past it and circle around off the tollway for a Subway Club back when I travelled that way to get to work. Took more time but the food was a little healtier, and tasted a whole lot better.

Are there still people on this planet who eat at McDonald's? I stopped bothering with McDonald's back in college. I think they came out with the McDLT which caused me to return briefly to try it, but except for when that item first came out, the portions at McD are consistently small (and get smaller and smaller though the prices go higher) and the taste is bland or nonexistent. Why is this franchise so successful? I'd only eat there when there's no other choice nearby, and in the last several years I find I go out of my way to avoid McD's. Most recently I try to avoid fast food places altogether, but I'll go to Wendy's or Burger King before I go to McD's.

This is interesting:
"The food industry certainly contributes, but it’s hard to know whether the industry is responding to demand from consumers or is shaping food preferences..."

Which came first; the chicken or the egg mcmuffin?

"...The New York Times recently ran an article on McDonald’s. It said that three new McDonald’s come on line every day, that a corporate goal is to have no American more than four minutes from one of its restaurants, and that seven percent of Americans eat at McDonald’s on any given day..."

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

"...McDonald’s signs now say ‘billions and billions served.’ When it becomes ‘trillions and trillions,’ will we be better off?"

Come to think of it, the last time I ate at McD's was a few months ago, when a friend was in the hospital. A McD's had attached itself to the cafeteria of the hospital, like a cancerous tumor. It was the only place within walking distance. I was with some other friends, and we were waiting out the results of our friend's condition. They had no problem with McD's and looked at me funny when I flinched at the thought of eating there, so I shut up and took it. Ugh. The food was terrible. But our friend turned out to be okay so it was a good day.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:44 AM on December 7, 2001

The piece of Americana that I hope stays hidden is the McWalmart(Mcdonalds in a Walmart) My god, the smell, but how can you complain, your in a damn Walmart, after all. The essence of culture.....
posted by Mack Twain at 2:17 AM on December 7, 2001

According to the restaurant locator on their page, I live within 20 miles of 327 McDonald's (and, somewhat unrelated but still interesting, 97 Taco Bells). That is very disturbing.....I already live within 4 minutes of not one but three (maybe four if I hit the traffic lights correctly) McDonald's
posted by Caz721 at 2:31 AM on December 7, 2001

I personally think the popularity of MacDonalds has to do with its blandness. It's just nice enough. It's cheap and exactly the same wherever you go. Plus where else can you get something hot which you can buy and eat in five minutes before - getting the bus home after a night out/ getting a train/ going out drinking/ going to the cinema/ going to a football match etc etc. Apart from KFC and Burger King that is.
posted by Summer at 2:35 AM on December 7, 2001

I think part of the popularity also has to do with anonymity.

My heart sank one day many years ago I saw that a McDonalds had taken the place of a longstanding, beautiful jeweler on the Gran Vía in Madrid. I thank them that at least they didn't tear down the facade (I'm imagining they probably couldn't have anyway because of municipal laws in favor of architectural preservation.)

Now about books, I can foresee that, instead of marginalia and the occasional found photo or document, you'll find greased pages and, amongst them, the occasional flat french fry or grain of hamburger meat.
posted by mmarcos at 3:31 AM on December 7, 2001

In Australia they have McCafes. They're regular McDonalds, except that there's an extra counter where they serve pastries and real coffee (in non-disposable cups I think). Not sure if there are McCafes in other countries, but the reaction of tourists to the McCafe concept suggests that it's unique to Australia.
posted by jedro at 4:25 AM on December 7, 2001

This isn't completely original: I remember my parents taking us to a Burger King in Boston in the 80's that was in an old bank and looked like a restautant for bankers: woodgrain, leather seating, etc.

It was still burgers.
posted by yerfatma at 5:04 AM on December 7, 2001

I remember seeing those in Australia jedro. I've never seen them anywhere else. Wonder what it is about Australia that makes MacDonalds think it has to change its strategy. Maybe it's the proliferation of good food down under.
posted by Summer at 5:12 AM on December 7, 2001

jedro: No, unfortunately they're not!
posted by davehat at 5:19 AM on December 7, 2001

I wish more restaurants had books. My theory is that people would eat out a lot more if they felt they could do it solo, without having to stare off into space, bored witless, while eating. And when I eat solo, I read.

Of course, in reality the eventual implementation of this idea will probably involve tables organized around TV sets, as we see in sports bars now. But I can dream.
posted by luser at 6:06 AM on December 7, 2001

The McDonald's near my university has faux marble floors and a sort of art deco interior. It has all these silk plants around as well. I always feel odd going there because you would expect to get a quality sandwich or tea, and you're left with Chicken nuggets. It is also losing out to the pretty standard Burger King down the street that is open 24 hours.
posted by bluefly at 6:06 AM on December 7, 2001

In and around Claremont, CA, you can find not only (1) A gas station(Chevron)-McDonalds and (2) a McWalmart but you can also find this*: (3) An "old-timey" McDonalds

All within 3 miles of my alma mater.


*Not the exact restaurant, but you get the idea.
posted by thewittyname at 6:09 AM on December 7, 2001

The McDonalds near Wall street used to have a piano.
posted by riffola at 6:10 AM on December 7, 2001

McDonalds opened a shop right across from the castle in my home town of Windsor. They were not allowed to use their usual red and yellow plastic, so instead everything is wood and brass.

It's still shit though.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:23 AM on December 7, 2001

No question that McD's is just awful. But -- you know what isn't half-bad? These burritos. Ol' Ronald owns a majority share.
posted by Mid at 6:26 AM on December 7, 2001

They ought to open some new restaurants that look like this. It was built in 1955, in Des Plaines IL. I used to eat there when I was a kid.

'50's era fast-food restaurant architecture was bizarre. Each place had some kind of theme: space ships, giant cows, cowboys etc. Lots of tile, neon and stainless steel. And drive-ins...

Sorry, now ending baby boomer nostalgia trip.
posted by groundhog at 6:31 AM on December 7, 2001

Ooooooooh man, I come from Denver, where Chipotle started, and all I have to say is kneel before the burrito goodness....I'm dying here in Boston without them, and my only hope is the raw franchising fury of McDonalds Inc. will deliver me from hunger.

Save me Ronald, save me.
posted by thewittyname at 6:33 AM on December 7, 2001

At one of the local colleges, there once was a Burger King on the main strip of campus. The walls were COVERED with quite possible the most annoying wallpaper I've EVER SEEN with huge colorful 3D fonts reading "Radicool!" "Eat Now, Study Later!" schlock. It was one of the most cringe-inducing restaurants I've ever visited (and yes, the wallpaper was copyright Burger King). They lasted about a year.
posted by glenwood at 6:47 AM on December 7, 2001

Whenever I have seen "books" in a restaurant, they were castoff encyclopedias from yard sales and the like. Judging from the themed McDonalds I have seen, the article was more spin than an accurate portrayal.
posted by mischief at 6:48 AM on December 7, 2001

Carmel (pronounced -in true Indiana style- like the candy, not like the city in California) is a bedroom community of Indianapolis. Very upscale, very white, very rich. They will probably love this.

Indiana is the test bed for many McDonalds new products. Do you remember McPizza? Probably not, but I do because is was test marketed in Evansville. Heard of the McDiner? Probably not, unless you have been to Kokomo, but you can read about it here and here (scroll down a bit).
posted by internal at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2001

The McDonald's in Budapest was serving a McCordon Bleu when I was there. I haven't eaten in a McD's in a couple years but I had to see what a European one looked like; that one set me back. Of course, it was also during the Mad Cow thing and there were also lots of ads for fast food products made from pork.

Anyway, fast food isn't about the burgers, it's about the fries. It's where the money is (the profit margin is much higher than on burgers), and it's also where the market is -- people crave them. As an internal memo from McHQ to its franchisees said, you gotta keep your eyes on the fries!
posted by mattpfeff at 6:53 AM on December 7, 2001

there's a combo mickey-d gas station in baldwin, mi.
posted by quonsar at 6:58 AM on December 7, 2001

Chances are they are buying their books in bulk from some wharehouse, chosen primarily by the look of the spine and with no regard for content. Purely for show. And patrons will probably be discouraged from pulling them from the shelves anyway.
posted by SteveS at 7:03 AM on December 7, 2001

there's a combo mickey-d gas station in baldwin, mi.

And they built a new combo McD's in Mason, MI about a year and a half a ago. We're a two McD's town now!
posted by iceberg273 at 7:15 AM on December 7, 2001

Oh, look! Some of the MeFi community is up in arms about McDonald's! How very Starbucks and of you.
posted by KLAX at 7:17 AM on December 7, 2001

Wow, you people are harsh. Doesn't anyone here ever get a craving for a Big Mac or two cheeseburgers with fries? It's not the greatest food in the world, but, geez, it ain't that bad.

Granted, I never actually eat in McDonald's, considering my complete and total obsession with the drive-through...

For the record, I have to chime in that Chipotle sucks. Baja Tortilla Grill, baby!
posted by mrbula at 7:20 AM on December 7, 2001

KLAX: And your point is......?
posted by davehat at 7:31 AM on December 7, 2001

When they first opened the McDonald's in downtown Evanston in my senior year of college (1984), it was decorated in chic mid-80s pink and black, with cut-glass bud vases on every table, and a little guy in a traditional French waiter uniform (short jacket, bowtie, and *white gloves*) who bussed every table the instant you stood up.

Any Northwestern Univ./Evanstonites/Chicagoans who can comment on the current state of said McD?
posted by briank at 7:36 AM on December 7, 2001

Doesn't anyone here ever get a craving for a Big Mac or two cheeseburgers with fries?

Frankly, no. At least not from McDonalds. I haven't eaten lunch or dinner from a McDonalds in years (I do eat breakfast there on rare occasion, maybe once every three months or so).

Big Mac? I'll take a Whopper any day--the raw onions alone make the Whopper better.

Basic cheeseburgers? Steak & Shake, if there's one around, or Wendy's.

Fries? I prefer Arby's curly fries.

I can't say I dislike McDonald's food, but it's simply not as good as what's available at half a dozen other fast food outlets.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:40 AM on December 7, 2001

I wish that, instead of improving the look of the store, they would work on food that doesn't slowly rot you out from the inside.

It's not the greatest food in the world, but, geez, it ain't that bad

sure it is. and if the food wasn't bad enough, I've heard far too many stories of employees taking a little creative license with their food preparation to ever consider eating there.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:47 AM on December 7, 2001

I live in Carmel just a few minutes from this McD's. It's on the main drag (Keystone Avenue, the only 50mph road in this bedroom community...) as you come up from Indianapolis. The city's been tearing up the surrounding street (Carmel Drive, no less) and finishing the brick-and-fancygreen-streetlight revitalization that a lot of Indiana towns decided to fund with the excess tax revenue collected in the late 90s. This McD's is just across the street from a recently Simonized mall area that used to be propped up by a lone Target.

The McD's was a squat brown brick affair with the familiar roof bits easily identifiable with McD's. I still remember eating my first Big Mac there when moving down from Muncie. I remember damn near splitting my skull open when I slipped on those ass-brown floor tiles when someone forgot to mop up a spilled coke. I remember the tables were funny smelling and the chairs were starting to look worn and the whole place reminded me of just about any other McDonalds that I'd been to in my life.

Tell you the truth, the new design is just white sides with the same green hang-downs from the roof. The insides now remind me of the newer Arby's restaurants, but one step up in comfort class. Yes, there's woodgrain. Yes, it looks a little more upscale to fit in with the new Simonized upscaling image of every damn commercial facet of this suburban hole. Make no mistake about it, though - the place still stinks like McDonalds, the food is still McDonalds, and I have yet to see a change in the regular clientele of construction workers and folks-in-a-hurry.

I guess what irks me about seeing this McDonalds in its new state is how eerily the renovation's intention and progress has mirrored that of Carmel: A place that's nothing special and arguably has not much innovative to offer (save location) but a place that desires a new look and feel in hopes of attracting... well... more money. I guess I want something substantive, something a bit more interesting, something that gets attention not for looks or gimmicks but because there's something challenging and unique in the place of by-the-binderbook success formulas. Carmel is still struggling to find an identity, trapped between those who want it as a bedroom community and those who want a small town.
posted by salsamander at 8:04 AM on December 7, 2001

Take heart! There are still more public libraries in the U.S. than McDonald's restaurants.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2001

this reminds me of a crazy McD's that just opened in downtown chicago....think it's called McCafe. it's nothing more than a somewhat pricey coffeehouse.

the thing i love most about chicago is getting all these bizarre concept stores and restaurants. we've already been home to the Viacom Store, featuring all your favorite MTV/nick/star trek merchandise. it died in six months.
posted by patricking at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2001

Jeez, I find it hard to believe mrbula and I are the only ones who actually like McDonald's once in a while. Is it just because it's cool to beat on the Big Corporate Machine? But this isn't a rant against MeFi snobbery, so I'll shut up.

I've never been to a McDonald's in England (I'm English; live in the US) that didn't completely go against the principles of fast food. It's not fast, and it's not food. If all you jaded people think the servers in US McDonald's are surly, just try one in the UK. If you ever *do* actually get your food, be prepared to find it swimming in grease.

But although I do enjoy the odd Extra Value Meal #2, my favorite fast food place happens to be Jack in the Box. Cooler commercials, more variety, and the best Westernized egg rolls ever. And a public "thank you" to the staff at the Shoreline JitB in Mountain View, CA for always getting our order right, and always being friendly - we've never found a better JitB in our travels around the US.
posted by SiW at 8:27 AM on December 7, 2001

It's not the greatest food in the world...

Yes it is!
posted by spilon at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2001

When McD's wanted to put a restaurant in Freeport Maine they made them have waiters. They had to build it in an old farm house with no drive through, no big McD's sign, wood tables. I even think the have bookshelves.

jeblis, I think your remembrance of the Freeport McD's is a tiny bit off. They were forced by the village council to build in an old farm house (to meet local zoning laws about building removal and appearance), but there have never been waiters. There are wood tables, and a very, very cool conference room upstairs, but no bookshelves, and no bright yellow and red sign outside (its a woodlike substance). They weren't able to add a drive through when they converted the property, 'cause the lot was too small, but they do have one now. (I've searched and searched for a photo on-line with no luck.)

It is the same old food, though, and due to local noise ordinances they can't use any speakers outside, so the drive through is this very weird "customer talks to machine, machine prints out replies" thing that's annoying to use.

I get coffee there on the way to work 'cause there's no Dunkin' Doughnuts (or anything else) between me and the corporate cafeteria coffee.

If nothing else, the Freeport McD's should serve as a lesson to small communities that - although they can't (and shouldn't be able to) stop McD's from coming into their community, they can at least write local zoning ordnances so that the community hosts them on their own terms.

FWIW, Here's a link to an oddball theme Burger King.
posted by anastasiav at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2001

The most unique McDonalds I have visited is off the 680 freeway in Fremont, CA. It features a large mural of the Guidonian Hand for some strange reason.

Also, Sedona, AZ has the only Teal Arches in the world, a condition set by the town in order to keep with existing southwest aesthetics.
posted by gazingus at 8:48 AM on December 7, 2001

Doesn't anyone here ever get a craving for a Big Mac or two cheeseburgers with fries? It's not the greatest food in the world, but, geez, it ain't that bad.

No, honestly, I don't have any such cravings. That you do worries me - having recently read about the process of artificial flavour synthesis, I have to wonder whether McDonald's has included some addictive substance into their offerings to induce such a reaction.

It's not the greatest food in the world, and I know it's not supposed to be - but when I try to think of anything worse, all I can come up with are those plastic-wrapped sandwiches they keep in the refrigerators at gas stations. I mean, really - for a sandwich, what McDonald's serves is pathetic. The bread is substanceless, flavourless white fluff that packs down to nothing if you actually try to grip the sandwich with it; the meat is a tasteless mealy patty of something only identifiable as beef because I know beef is cheap and the patty doesn't look like anything else; limp, dead vegetables overwhelmed by huge slathering piles of ketchup and mayonnaise (loaded with preservatives and flavour-enhancers, I'm sure). It's not food, it's body-fuel; a more palatable and less effective version of the PowerBar.

McDonald's can put their big redheaded clown on the shelf, tone down the mustard-bottle-yellow interior, and otherwise scale back their candy-plastic kiddie kitsch, but as long as it's the same crap food, they're going to remain the same crap restaurant.

posted by Mars Saxman at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2001

The piece of Americana that I hope stays hidden is the McWalmart(Mcdonalds in a Walmart)

They have a McDonald's in a Meijer in East Lansing, MI. They still do good business despite being just yards from Meijer's own deli and bakery. Go figure.
posted by kindall at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2001

speaking of shitty themed restaurants in chicago: ed debevic's. never eat there. i wanted to punch the waiters. imagine johnny rocket's, but ten times worse and filled with hordes of out-of-towners.
posted by moz at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2001

...McDonald’s signs now say ‘billions and billions served.’
I've always referred to that as the Carl Sagan sign.

The Burger King in my home town has wood paneling, bookshelves and for awhile had table service. It does no better than the standard-packaging McDonald's across the street. I don't think an upscale McDonald's will fare any better.
posted by me3dia at 9:38 AM on December 7, 2001

Crap is still crap no matter how you deliver it.
posted by holycola at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2001

Moz -- sounds just like foodlife.
posted by Mid at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2001

salsamander: looks like you and me would be the only ones at an Indy MeFi gathering...

moz: I liked Ed Debevick's, but I was a tourist. IMO, it is entertaining. But I can't imagine eating there if I lived in Chicago.
posted by internal at 10:46 AM on December 7, 2001

There's a McAmoco on Rt. 50 in Wisconsin. Somewhere between Lake Geneva and Kenosha. I remember that because it struck me as odd that McDonald's would merge with a gas station. Just like in Savanna IL there's a KFC/Pizza Hut combined restaurant. I've also seen Taco Bell/Pizza Huts. If you can't get gas at one of those, you're my hero.
posted by schlaager at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2001

McDonald's is kinda like copious amounts of alcohol. You decide you want to partake, eat/drink it, feel terrible and swear you'll never do it again. But you usually do.

I like McDonald's, just not all the time.

Observation - fries in US McDonald's taste different than the McD's in Canada. In the US they're more like potato chips. So it's not 100% the same everywhere.

I read this article in Maclean's back in August about the upscaling of fast food places and it talks about Tim Horton's, Krispy Kreme, and the McCafe further into the article. Interesting stuff
posted by melissa at 11:26 AM on December 7, 2001

There is a McDonalds/Thornton gas station in Woodridge, IL, the next town over from where I live. There used to be a McAmoco nearby but the McDonald's pulled out. The Wal-Mart in Bolingbrook used to have a McDonalds in it but no longer does, it has the Radio Cafe or something like that. (Of course, the fact that there is a McDonalds right across from that Wal-Mart may have had something to do with that. There are other Wal-Marts in the area which still have McDonalds in them)

I used to be big into McDonalds in high school and early college but I burned out on the place.

Side note: The reporter who wrote the story was one of my editors on the IU newspaper way back when. How funny is that?
posted by SisterHavana at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2001

Stockholm has a library-themed McDonalds, I believe. Dark wood shelves, ficus, whatnot. Perhaps the rows of "mail-order" classics were glued to the shelf. I didn't go in. What would be the point since they stopped deep-frying their cherry pies years ago???
posted by G_Ask at 12:00 PM on December 7, 2001

The really scary ones are the combo KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Huts.
posted by chason at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2001

Read Fast Food Nation and you'll never eat fast food again........
posted by conquistador at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2001

Chason: you mean the Kentucky Taco Hut?
posted by arco at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2001

Can we all just stipulate that the original poster was wrong, and McGasStations are not disappearing but are in fact proliferating? (That way I won't also feel compelled to list all the McAmocos, Subway-Speedways, and Burger-King-Citgos I see everywhere I go...)
posted by Tubes at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2001

Observation - fries in US McDonald's taste different than the McD's in Canada. In the US they're more like potato chips. So it's not 100% the same everywhere.

That's because in Canada they're fried in tallow.
posted by modofo at 1:24 PM on December 7, 2001

I don't go to McD's, BKs, PHs, Tbs, etc. I love eating at home and at restaurants. Even street vendors are more enticing to me. On top of that I live in a country full of cafes and bars with lots of fresh food for snacks, etc.
posted by mmarcos at 3:02 PM on December 7, 2001

Wow, you people are harsh. Doesn't anyone here ever get a craving for a Big Mac or two cheeseburgers with fries? It's not the greatest food in the world, but, geez, it ain't that bad.

Try telling that to these guys.
posted by betobeto at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2001

Burger King to revamp menu with 14 new items: Whopper lovers beware!
posted by Carol Anne at 3:24 PM on December 7, 2001

Oh my god, somebody said Chipotle. I'm going to Denver over Christmas and Chipotle's all I've been able to think about of late. The heaping dollops of guacamole they slap into those burritos are irrefutable.

Also, a place I miss, that is now owned by McDonald's and another once Denver original, is the ever controversial food of Boston Market. Some people like some people don't. I love. Half chicken, tortellini salad and stuffing. There still are husks of what once were Boston Market's all over Seattle.
posted by crasspastor at 4:17 PM on December 7, 2001

Yeah, Boston Market is one of the very few things I miss about Detroit.

On another topic entirely, the first fast food restaurant to pledge never, ever to have a "playland" or "kid's meal" or or a clown mascot or other features designed to attract small children will get all my future business.
posted by kindall at 5:00 PM on December 7, 2001

Geez, the mere mention of McDonald's turns people into either conformist, destructive carnivores or up-tight vegetarian snobs.

I'm not above heading to McDonald's maybe once a month, but I agree that McDonald's is as bad as advertised/subvertised.

Meh, as long as you still have a choice, there's no reason to go nuts over a burger joint (albeit a sprawling, corporate, social-infestating burger joint).
posted by Down10 at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2001

I still fondly remember helping my Sister move home to Pennsylvania from a temporary job in Arizona. We drove for what seemed like a million miles northeast of the Grand Canyon. Drove through the friggin dessert until we thought we would fall off the end of the earth and just when we thought they were going to find our bones picked clean by the vultures on the side of the road, we found a Burger King.

The BK was the only piece of cilvilization for probably a hundred miles and the strangest part was that it housed a pretty substantive World War II veterans memorial display in the dining area. I still think Rod Steiger must have owned that particular franchise because we were certainly on the edge of the twighlight zone.
posted by Greggbert at 10:12 PM on December 7, 2001

Even the promotions at MDs have a bad taste.
posted by mmarcos at 3:39 AM on December 8, 2001

In the town where I used to live, a McDonald's abandoned its old building for a better location a short distance away, leaving the old building was vacant for a while. Then a gay bar moved in. The best part is that with the roof and all, it still looks like a McDonald's. Except it most certainly ain't.
posted by yourpalbill at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2001

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