If you enjoy eating at McDonald’s, you might be curious about learning history related to the fast-food chain, such as where McDonald’s first store was located and what type of food was served.
So, what was the first McDonald’s restaurant like? If you’d like to find out, continue reading this article to learn more on this topic!
McDonald’s First Store
McDonald’s first store was located in Des Plaines, Illinois, and opened on April 15, 1955, and was the first restaurant to feature the golden arches. However, Maurice and Richard McDonald opened up several restaurants before Kroc, including the first McDonald’s location in San Bernardino, California in 1940.
If you’d like to learn more about where the first McDonalds is located, when the first McDonald’s opened, what the first McDonalds served and more, keep reading this article for more facts!
Where Was the Very First McDonald’s?
The very first McDonald’s was located in Des Plaines, Illinois (west of Chicago, Illinois for reference).
McDonald’s officially recognizes their Des Plaines location as the first store (even though it was the ninth store) and is considered the first restaurant of modern McDonald’s, as it was the first store that had the full vision of Ray Kroc, the future CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.
At the time, this location opened under McDonald’s Systems Incorporated, which was changed to McDonald’s Corporation once Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers.
When Did the First McDonald’s Open?
The First McDonald’s opened up on April 15, 1955, with Ray Kroc at the helm, and featured the golden arch customers have now come to associate with McDonald’s as the company’s trademark.
Who Opened the First McDonald’s in 1940?
The first McDonald’s location was opened by Maurice and Richard McDonald on May 15, 1940, in San Bernardino, California right off of Route 66.
Further, this first McDonald’s location was before Kroc was involved with the brothers, which makes it even more iconic, though it is not officially recognized as the first McDonald’s brand restaurant.
There were only nine items total on the menu at the very first McDonald’s store back in 1940.
However, this small menu was pivotal and was the groundwork for what we’ve come to know as essential McDonald’s food.
The first McDonald’s menu consisted of the following items:
- Root beer
- Milkshake (in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry)
- French fries
- Orange drink
Furthermore, the menu used adjectives to describe the nine items on the menu, such as “Tempting Cheeseburger,” “Delightful Root Beer” as well as “Golden French Fries.”
Is the Original McDonald’s Still in San Bernardino?
While the original San Bernardino, California, McDonald’s location is still standing, it’s no longer a functional McDonald’s restaurant.
The location has now become the Unofficial McDonald’s Museum and it contains a lot of vintage McDonald’s memorabilia and advertisement pre-Kroc era, such as newspaper articles.
Additionally, there are menus, straws, cups, and a copy of the menu from that McDonald’s location as well as old mascots and Ronald McDonald figurines.
How Old is the Oldest McDonald’s?
The oldest McDonald’s restaurant that is still operating today is the Downey, California location which was built in 1953, and it’s a blast from the past that customers can enjoy seeing in person.
Further, Downey is only about 15 minutes southeast of Los Angeles, but it looks nothing like the McDonald’s locations of the modern era when Kroc got involved, and may likely be unrecognizable to most McDonald’s customers.
What Can You Order at the Oldest McDonald’s?
The oldest McDonald’s location offers not only a look at what the first store was like in terms of architecture and design, but also food that isn’t like other McDonald’s franchises today.
The Downey location was franchised with the McDonald brothers in an agreement long before Kroc bought out the company.
Therefore, while other McDonald’s stores had to change to the golden arches or change menu items, this store didn’t.
You can still go to this McDonald’s location and order a deep-fried apple pie, which is what used to be served before 1992 when McDonald’s changed to baked apple pies.
Furthermore, the prices are also much cheaper than other McDonald’s locations, since this location hasn’t had to raise prices in recent years. For example, customers can purchase a hamburger for only $0.95.
McDonald’s recognizes their Des Plaines, Illinois location as the first official McDonalds restaurant, which opened on April 15, 1955. However, the oldest location that is still operational is the Downey, California location, which was opened in 1953.