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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Farewell, Old Friend



The Dunmore McDonald's closed last week.  It was torn down yesterday, and will be replaced by another McDonald's.  The owners promise a smaller, but more efficient restaurant.  It's funny to see "efficient" in a sentence about a fast food restaurant.  "Fast" left "fast food" a long time ago.  There will be more drive thru capacity.  Personal experience shows it's faster to get out of the car and go inside

Demolition took only a few hours.  It was up when I passed by at 2:00 AM Monday.  12 hours later, on the way home, it was a pile of rubble.  It won't take long to build the new one.  The message board says it should be ready in a few months.

I know it's silly to lament the temporary closing of a fast food restaurant, but this one was a little different for me.    It was close to home, the place for pre and post high school and college snacks.  It was the place to kill a little time.  My first Quarter Pounder.  Millions of french fries.  Gallons of soda.  Countless bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits and the perfect sandwich, the Egg McMuffin.  Plus, my father was one of the contractors for a mid 70's expansion here.  I can still chuckle at the antics of the project manager.  He was from down south, and had a room down the road, at what was then the Budget Motel.  The man was fond of phoning in phony pledges to the public TV station because he enjoyed hearing his name mentioned on television, and seeing his name crawled at the bottom of the screen.

As I wandered the parking lot Thursday morning, I was struck by how un-remarkable a building it is.  It's not very attractive-- block walls and that 70's style roof line.  Yet another renovation, several years ago, gave the inside an Academy Awards/movie motif, and it was hideous.  On the other hand, I've never met someone who said they visited a fast food restaurant because it was pretty.

I have to admit, I haven't been here in quite a while.  There are too many other choices-- less expensive, healthier, faster, tastier, with better service and ordering systems.  The traffic flow here also left a lot to be desired.  Crossing the O'Neill Highway is an adventure at best, and life threatening at worst.  Even pulling out of the lot, without crossing lanes, is a nightmare.

In spite of it all, I'll be back, at least once, when the new restaurant opens.  Yes, I will have fries with that.