15 Places McDonald’s should have Left Alone


19th Dec, 2012

I‘ll admit, I enjoy the occasional Big Mac just as much as the next mass-consumerist, but you know what I enjoy more? Beautiful historic places that haven’t been given a McArchitecture make-over.


1. An Art Deco building in Victoria, Australia, formerly the ‘United Kingdom Hotel’ dating back to 1937. Photo credit here




2. Believe it or not but this is a McDonald’s in Paris, France. Located on Rue Saint Lazare in the 8th arrondissement, the building dates back to 1892 and is a listed historic monument. Photo credit here and here.



3. McDonald’s took over this old steamboat on the Mississippi river in St.Louis. It closed after flooding in 1993. Picture credit here



 4. On 42nd street in the historic Theatre District, Broadway, New York. It looks like something straight out of the golden age of theatre. And then you realize it’s a McDonalds. Photo credit here.



5. This is probably the fanciest McDonald’s I’ve seen. It’s in Independence, Ohio and I couldn’t find any historical information on the red-brick building but my guess is it used to be an old bank. Photo credit here and here.



6. Galleria Emanuelle Vittori in Milan is Italy’s oldest shopping mall, built in 1861. With a spectacular glass dome and glass-vaulted arcades, it’s a proud city landmark. After 20 years of occupancy in the mall, this year the McDonald’s restaurant was prevented from renewing its tenancy. It was the only tenant of the mall to be denied the right of first refusal on its new lease, and McDonald’s contended that the public tender to replace it was “unfair”. 


McDonald’s has sued the city of Milan (their landlord) for €24 million in damages. During the last few hours before its closure, the restaurant offered free food and drink to over 5000 customers. McDonald’s will be replaced with the mall’s second Prada store. Photo credit here

7. Denton House, in New Hyde Park, New York. A gorgeous Georgian mansion that dates back to 1795 as a farmhouse and later a funeral home. When McDonald’s bought the property in 1985, it was abandoned and on the verge of collapse and the plans were to tear it down. However they underestimated the power of the local community who pleaded with politicians for the historical spot to be preserved.


In the end, the residents won and McDonald’s had no choice but to fully restore the property. But locals still have mixed feelings about the fast food chain setting up shop in one of the town’s most beautiful buildings. “I think it’s a shame that something like the Denton House could be replaced by a commercial place of business that already has massive amounts of locations. It’s unnecessary,” said one local resident. Photo credit here and here


8. A Saxon House in Hameln, Germany. Picture credit here



9. Yangshuo, province of Guangxi, China, famous for its amazing karst landscape and a haven for rock-climbers and backpackers from all over the world. Picture credit here.


 10. A 1850s Greek Revival colonial and former sea captain’s house in Freeport, Maine.  McDonalds bought the property in the 1980s with plans to raze it to the ground but much like the residents in New Hyde Park, New York, they intervened and demanded the historic house be preserved.


Inside the property, McDonald’s made a little effort it seems, maintaining separate rooms as if part of a house rather than a vast capitalist temple of cholesteral, with a fireplace, and dining room-like chairs. Photo credit here.


11. Kristiansand, Norway. As you can see at the top of the building, it dates back to 1897 and looks like it probably used to be a bank. Exactly, what is McDonald’s trying to tell us when it picks locations like these? Photo credit here.


12. In the Museum of Communism, Prague. Photo credit here.

McDonalds meets Museum of Communism, Prague

13. Probably one of the oldest locations on our list, in Landau, Germany, McDonald’s set up shop in one of the finest examples of handsome Bavarian historic architecture. The 15th century historic building still has its original stepped gables and colorful facades. Only the best for Mickey D’s hey? Photo credit here.



14. A New York townhouse on Canal Street, New York. Is this McDonald’s trying to be hipster? Photo credit here


 15. Taupo, New Zealand put itself on the map with a decommissioned DC3 as their McDonald’s restaurant. Tables are set up inside. Aviation enthusiasts will probably hate me for it, but this McDonald’s location is kinda growing on me.  Photo credit here.


 McDonald’s Locations with the MessyNessyChic stamp of Approval:

Fast-Food Train:

In Barstow, California, diners can eat inside of decommissioned railway cars. Most of these retired carriages end up being dumped into the sea, so it’s nice to see a few get a second life. It’s not very clear as to why McDonald’s decided to do this though! Picture credit here.

Retro MacDo:

You sometimes forget that McDonald’s has its own history too and opened its first restaurant back in 1940. In Fairhaven, Massachusetts there is a vintage 1950s restaurant still operating and looking fabulously kitsch! Photo credit via here and here.




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