|The 'Rock 'n Roll' McDonald's (above) will be torn down to make way for a new neo-retro unit that echoes the chain's earliest architectural look (bottom).
Located in the heart of the Windy City's tourist district, the 21-year-old facility is the third-busiest McDonald's in the nation and the 12th-busiest in the world.
To be razed
The popular attraction will be razed to make way for a new neo-retro McDonald's concept that incorporates elements of the chain's original "red and white" design, punctuated by two 60-foot-tall golden arches, double drive-thru lanes and twice the seating capacity of the old unit, according to the company.
The popular Rock 'n Roll burger eatery has murals of music icons such as Jimi Hendrix and the Supremes painted on its exterior and a vintage jukebox inside booming out classic hit songs. It has long been a must-see for visiting celebrities, tourists and local nightclubbers. Soon, those former patrons can remember that July 19, 2004, was the day the music died in the burger joint at the intersection of Clark and Ontario streets.
J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, vice president and general manager of McDonald's Greater Chicago region, acknowledged that the old unit "will be missed," but said the new flagship would be the "centerpiece" of McDonald's upcoming 50th anniversary on April 15, 2005.
Exact details unavailable
Exact details of the planned replacement structure were not available, aside from executives' brief but non-specific mentions of plasma screens, Wi-Fi, interactive gaming features and small meeting rooms.
"We'll have a few surprises," said Mr. Gonzalez-Mendez, noting that the interior will reflect McDonald's "past, present and future."
Company executives said the rebuilding is part of a $16 million investment to freshen 21 restaurants in the local market as part of a national effort to revitalize older units. Seven hundred units already have received face-lifts, with another 1,500 already in the works or planned, said Mike Roberts, president of McDonald's U.S.A. He said new-look units on average gain 5% more sales over their market peers, particularly those that double capacity through additional drive-thru lanes or seating.