California travel expert Veronica Hill of http://www.CaliforniaTravelExpert.com explores the history of McDonalds in this episode of “California Travel Tips.”
To learn more, Veronica visits the original McDonalds Restaurant in San Bernardino.
Though Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a popular barbecue joint here in 1940, they soon realized that hamburgers and French fries were a better bet. (The original McDonalds menu included barbecued beef, tamales and baked beans, and all meals were served with a side of French Fries.)
McDonalds history was made on Dec. 12, 1948, when Richard and Maurice transformed their barbecue joint into the first McDonalds restaurant, focusing on speed, value and high volume.
Back then, a burger would set you back 15 cents. A side of Fries? A dime. And all delivered in about 60 seconds flat, creating America’s first “Fast Food.”
In 1954, the McDonald brothers met milkshake salesman Ray Kroc, who bought the ninth franchise of their restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. Business went well, and Kroc bought out the brothers in 1961 for .7 million.
The oldest surviving McDonalds is located in Downey, California. It was the fourth location, opened on August 18, 1953.
Today, travelers along the Route 66 corridor can see where it all started at the McDonald’s Museum located on the historic site of the original McDonalds. Opened by Albert Okura in 1998, today, the museum also serves as the main offices for Okura’s Juan Pollo restaurant chain.
Inside the museum, you can learn about the history of McDonalds while checking out photos, McDonalds toys and memorabilia from the famous restaurant. I could do without the scary clown dolls, but I did recognize a few familiar faces from my childhood.
Anyone remember McDonalds characters Grimace, the Hamburglar or Mayor McCheese? How about that jazzy lounge singer Mac Tonight? Ya baby!
If all this talk of food leaves you feeling hungry, you’ll have to head up the road to get a taste of McDonalds hamburgers and fries. The original building on this site was demolished in 1972.
First McDonalds Historic Site and Museum
1398 N. “E” Street, San Bernardino, CA 92405
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free
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