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Apple Bucket List: Apples Are Rolling Onto Menus Faster Than

Apple Bucket List: Apple Bucket List: This time of year, apples are rolling onto menus faster than Ichabod Crane’s head can fly off his shoulders. From savory dishes and desserts to cocktails aplenty, here’s everything apple-flavored that you should be eating and drinking this season.   Fat Rice: Anything Fat Rice does merits attention and […]

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Oct 20, 2014 04:48 AM
Brunch Bites: Princesses, Pirates, Whisky Edition

Brunch Bites: When you think of Sunday brunch rituals, princesses and pirates probably aren’t the first things to come to mind. Unless you regularly brunch at Disney World. But soon, kids and families (and lords and ladies) get the opportunity to brunch amongst royalty and seafaring scoundrels at Shaw’s Crab House in Schaumburg. The restaurant’s first annual […]

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Oct 18, 2014 08:23 PM
Ditka Day, Ramen Battle, Stone Crabs, The Best of Bucharest, : Weekend Planner

Ditka Day:   Ditka Day and Super Fan Challenge at Timothy O’Toole’s In honor of “Da Coach’s” 75th birthday on October 18, Timothy O’Toole’s is celebrating Mike Ditka Day with festivities, food, and an unruly eating challenge. From 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to partake in the “Da Super Fan […]

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Oct 18, 2014 12:10 AM
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McDonald's First Store Museum

You can't actually buy food at this replica of the first McDonald's. For that, there's a routine, modern version across the street. But the site is the genuine birthplace of the fast-food empire.

The original structure, built on this site in 1955, was torn down in 1984, but this re-creation, open limited hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day, was built according to the original blueprints, twin Golden Arches and all. Its "Speedee" sign is original, and the equipment displayed inside dates to days when fries were made fresh from potatoes peeled on the premises and Coca-Cola and root beer were hand-drawn from barrels. Among the items displayed is an original Multimixer, the milkshake machine that started McDonald's founder Ray Kroc on his business career.

In the basement, you'll find historic photos, memos, early advertising, memorabilia and a short video on the company's history.

Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened a hamburger stand in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1948. They attracted the attention of Kroc, a Multimixer salesman from Oak Park, lII., who was intrigued by the large number of the milkshake machines the brothers had bought. In 1954, Kroc became the exclusive national franchise agent for McDonald's, at first a scheme to sell more mixers.

On April 15, 1955, Kroc opened his first McDonald's on this site in Des Plaines. The chain officially dates its beginnings from this event, which turned McDonald's from a restaurant into a phenomenon. The first day's revenues totaled $366.12, but within a year, Kroc had built a dozen more stores in the Chicago area, California and Texas. By 1957, he had 40 restaurants, and the following year, the chain sold its 1 millionth hamburger.

In 1961, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million. He introduced a stylized "M," symbolizing the Golden Arches, as the company's logo and "Look for the Golden Arches" as the first advertising theme. That year, the company also opened Hamburger University for its personnel in the basement of the Elk Grove Village McDonald’s and conferred Bachelor of Hamburgerology degrees to the graduating class.

The company opened its 1,000th McDonald's in Des Plaines in 1968, and introduced the Big Mac. In 1971, by then an international concern, McDonald's established its headquarters in Oak Brook. The next year, it opened its 2,000th restaurant in Des Plaines, and a year later, its 2,500th in Hickory Hills.

McDonald's celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005 with the opening of a flagship restaurant in River North with a supersized take on the iconic design of this first location.

—Leah A. Zeldes

Photos, from left: Ray Kroc's original McDonald's, 1955; replica museum; Kroc with Multimixer.

Contact Information

Address: 444 S. River Road (restaurant), Des Plaines, IL 60016

Neighborhood: Northwest Suburban

Region: Northwest Suburban

County: Cook

Phone: Show phone , 847-827-1220 (restaurant)

View website




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