Monday, May 27, 2013

Riverstone MacDonald's: To Cheers It Or To Jeers It?

White Colonial Mansion McDonald’s in New Hyde Park, New York. Could this be the same look planned for CdA's "fancy" new Riverstone McDonalds?

A McDonald's is a McDonald's is a McDonald's is a McDonald's, right? It's a little freaky that you can do the walk of shame into any McDonald's anywhere on the globe and have EXACTLY the same experience, an experience we've all had, whether we are loathe to admit it or not. You could fall into a wormhole and suddenly land at a McDonald's in Higashiomi, Japan or Flin Flon, Manitoba and you would end up with the same dispassionate brown plastic tray containing the same exact boxed Big Mac and the same exact non-biodegradable fries with the same exact "baked apple pie" (and btw: Dear McDonald's, for the sake of humanity, bring back the cherry pies!)

Personally, it's one thig I've always appreciated about the world's most inescapable fast food chain: they are consistent. Their drones are trained to run a clean, tight ship, and I can at least rely on the fact that my monthly Filet-o-Fish with extra cheese is going to be genetically identical to the Filet-o-Fish I had on this date seventeen years ago at the McDonald's on Madonna Boulevard in San Luis Obispo, California.

McDonald’s in Patershol, Ghent, Belgium

I've always had the theory that you can accurately determine an area's population growth rate and level of prosperity by how many Macdonald's exist there. The first CdA area McDonalds appeared on former farmland on Appleway at some point in the early-mid 1970's, when Appleway was basically considered to be somewhere out in the boonies on your way to Hayden Lake. Actually, things had picking up a bit in that part of town for a little while with the opening of Cd'A's tiny first indoor shopping mall a few years earlier, but I don't think Appleway was even paved until a couple of years prior.

Flash forward to 1993, and the significantly larger (but still not so huge) Silver Lake Mall has been been a few miles north of Appleway on Hanley Ave in an area that was once again considered to be the outer edge of civilization for those living close to downtown. McDonald's is to shopping malls as flies are to a fresh potato salad at a summer picnic, so naturally plans were eventually forged to install one across the street from the new mall but not everyone was thrilled with the idea.

Naysayers wanted to slap McDonald's with a bill for impact fees, and McDonald's whined that the city was picking on them because they were "so big". Somewhat insanely, the dispute was over a mere $25,589 in impact fees. But hey, clearly CdA was growing if people were worrying about big-town issued like impact fees for possibly the first time ever.

Debrecen, Piac utca - Arany János utcai Mcdonalds

McDonald’s on Piac Utca in Debrecen, Hungary

Over subsequent years, local McDonald's restaurants have emerged in downtown CdA (shuttered quickly after failing to compete with neighboring Hudsons), Post Falls (2), Kellogg, and even that wee northern berg of Rathdrum. Now, ground has been broken and yellow bulldozers have been pushing earth around at the Northwest Boulevard entrance to CdA's Riverstone development, and ever since McDonald's announced this new location earlier this year, the McD's haters have been hatin' hard and harping like a bunch of bitchy Umbrella Cockatoos.

The always charming commenter "concernedcitizen" wrote: "This is TOTAL BULL. Riverstone was to be higher quality than McDonald's. The one that is a mile away on Appleway isn't close enough? Nothing says come see our great downtown like McDonald's at the main entrance. The people that are ruining this city ought to be tarred and feathers for their stupidity." Also at, "NAS4AH2" (his mama was a robot) commented: "Is this the mayor's new franchise? This town is going to he!! in a happy meal."


Colonial McDonald’s in Independence, Ohio

Over at Huckleberries Online, Randy Meyers was only a hair more enthusiastic, offering: "I think it will perform well. Too bad that's the direction Riverstone went." The whole subject had the reliably vegetarian Stickman stirring up one of his loveable rants. "Randy, it's too bad that society is leaning that way as well. Terrible food. And Sherlock, I am not an elitist food snob, but the food there might be okay for you, but not for me. I won't go there, and that would be nice, as I wouldn't run into you. You must love that stuff. Being a non elitist food snob that is."

I have heard it personally from all kinds of folks. What a ridiculous idea it is, they say, to bring a McDonald's into an area of town that was supposed to be some kind of upper crust food and dining concept involving only ceviche and satay, artisinal vodkas and sea urchin rolls. How dare a corporate elephant like Micky D's invade the air of this precious and exclusive space?

Guess what, I say. Coldstone Creamery, Red Robin, Aeropostale, Regal Cinemas, Zumies. These entities aren't exactly on the same scale as McDonald's, but they're hardly run by local farmer's market hippies either. Anyway, McDonald's has said they are planning a design that fits in with the aesthetics of the Riverstone area, so that's cool, right?

I'm not windex clear or what exactly the Riverstone aesthetic is, but at least we know that in a few months we're hopefully not going to end up with yet another one of their butt-ugly red-brick classic designs. Also, chicken that was processed, reprocessed, re-reprocessed, and then processed again tastes seven shades brighter inside of a "fancy McDonalds", versus a plain old boring McDonalds.

And for you Stickman, I swear by their $1.69 side salads with ranch dressing. They're fresh as freedom and although it might take two or three of them to feel satisfied, no animals died in the process of their creation. We won't mention the Monsanto pesticides and futuristic, evil preservatives used to keep these vegetables in these unnaturally crisp and pleasing to the discriminating American palate. Yum, see you all there!


Jake C. said...

well written patrick! as a former golden arches employee, i can honestly say that yeah, it's not even close to the greatest or healthiest place too eat, but the health, cleanliness, and safety standards are top notch. great points man :)

Joe Butler said...

This is one of your better pieces, Patrick!

Not to get all Pulp Fiction-y, but there are minor menu differences in different countries but generally the same look and feel. Real milk in the milkshakes in France, no beef in India, and until a couple of years ago, Canada was the only place in N. America to get the "classic" McChicken (the US had a different style.)