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The Shock & Awe McDonald's

The Shock & Awe McDonald's
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  • The Shock & Awe McDonald's

    Post #1 - October 10th, 2005, 8:53 pm
    Post #1 - October 10th, 2005, 8:53 pm Post #1 - October 10th, 2005, 8:53 pm
    That's what I call the fancy new River North glitzoplex that used to be the Rock & Roll McDonald's. I don't know its official name-- it's not the Rock & Roll McD's, anyway, like many another headbanger it has grown up and put in serious furniture (Barcelona chairs!) and plasma screens tuned to news channels. A few bits of leftover rock memorabilia from the previous incarnation (Elvis gold records and white Beatles figures who look like butter sculpture from the state fair) weirdly get their own little building, which sits in the parking lot next to the main building, like the Tomb of the Unknown Hamburglar.

    Somehow I had managed not only to not go there before-- well, that wasn't hard-- but not even to have seen the new building before, a testament to my resolve to avoid what that part of River North has become (although arguably it's a public service-- by drawing tourists away to McD's and Red Lobster and California Pizza Kitchen, it keeps Al's Italian Beef and Frontera from being too full to fit Chicagoans in). But I needed to take the kids somewhere, they'd been pretty good about eating wagyu brisket and such things Dad forced on them, and so I thought, if they have free parking, we'll go there, they'll enjoy it and so will I-- once.

    All I know about the building is that Blair Kamin, Trib architecture critic, ripped McD's a new one for hiring the likes of Helmut Jahn to design postmodern statements on hamburgerdom, then ignoring those designs and letting their in-house architects do up a supersized version of the original McD's building. I saw his point and yet if there's anything about McD's I actually like, it's the 50s moderne look that it had when it opened, all gleaming white tile (so much prouder than the depressing brown grime-hiding tile which I spent a couple of my teenage years mopping) and yellow arches leaping forward from the building like the company's bright, optimistic future. From the outside it's a bold, happy architectural statement, and unless you're a total architecture grump, far less a blight on the landscape than, say, the giant frog adhering to the Rainforest Cafe a few blocks away.

    Inside, however, it's a very odd mix which seems to think that not only Barcelona chairs but a coffee and gelato bar will somehow enhance the McDonald's experience. I guess the model is the rather posh McD's they have near Wall Street, but the combination of leather seating and Quarter Pounders is sort of like the way that, the more a "gentleman's club" plays up the supposed poshness and exclusivity, the more it drives home that you're drinking Bud by yourself in a titty bar with a dollar sign on your forehead. If they'd gone totally playful, hey, I'd have dined in a giant red shoe while watching old "You deserve a break today" commercials or, better yet, Willard Scott as Ronald (yes, he really was). But a serious, upscale McDonald's? Does not compute.

    But the kids loved it. They wanted to eat at this McDonald's every time they eat at McDonald's. At their age, they don't yet realize that there's a way that Dad could promise a thing like that-- and fulfill it on his own terms.

    McDonald's
    600 N. Clark St.
    312-664-7940
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  • Post #2 - October 10th, 2005, 9:13 pm
    Post #2 - October 10th, 2005, 9:13 pm Post #2 - October 10th, 2005, 9:13 pm
    The Wife and I cruised the joint after watching a nearby Seth Zurer play earlier this year. As I recall, it (the McD's) was breathtaking, in the same way as a nuclear blast: an awesome, horrible explosion of retro-post-modernity. Many of the chairs were quite comfy. and I sat in one of each variety.

    Mike G wrote: I guess the model is the rather posh McD's they have near Wall Street, but the combination of leather seating and Quarter Pounders is sort of like the way that, the more a "gentleman's club" plays up the supposed poshness and exclusivity, the more it drives home that you're drinking Bud by yourself in a titty bar with a dollar sign on your forehead.


    Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that…talk to the gleam.

    Just so you know, Seth's play was entertaining and benign.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - October 11th, 2005, 10:38 am
    Post #3 - October 11th, 2005, 10:38 am Post #3 - October 11th, 2005, 10:38 am
    Mike,

    Thanks for "the Tomb of the Unkown Hamburgler." It was a snort-chuckle-out-loud that I really needed on a grim Tuesday at work.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #4 - October 16th, 2005, 3:23 pm
    Post #4 - October 16th, 2005, 3:23 pm Post #4 - October 16th, 2005, 3:23 pm
    Mike G wrote:but the combination of leather seating and Quarter Pounders is sort of like the way that, the more a "gentleman's club" plays up the supposed poshness and exclusivity, the more it drives home that you're drinking Bud by yourself in a titty bar with a dollar sign on your forehead.

    Mike,

    Good logo material here, don't you think?
    :roll: :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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