Although a fixture on Elm Street since 1974 is coming down this Thursday, the tear-down of the old McDonald’s restaurant will usher in the construction of a brand-new McDonald’s at the same location.
Beginning at around 9 a.m. Thursday, the existing McDonald’s will be demolished by crews from Mark-L Construction, a company based out of the Columbus area. It’s a bittersweet moment for Nick Epifano, owner/operator of McDonald’s of Fayette County, given the building’s rich history, but he said it’s time to update the building and move toward the future.
“This restaurant has been here since 1974, so it’s been a big part of the Washington Court House community,” said Epifano. “A lot of people have grown up around this restaurant, and throughout their lives have had birthday parties and so many other kinds of functions. Many have worked here and then went onto other jobs. It’s got quite a history, especially with the schools being so close.”
The Washington City Schools campus is right down the street from the McDonald’s restaurant.
“For some time now, we’ve been looking to rebuild, but haven’t been able to make it work until now,” Epifano added. “We think this is the best situation, especially with the schools consolidated now, to make this major investment and rebuild this restaurant.”
Normally, it takes about 90 days for a new McDonald’s to be constructed. The rebuild process will start immediately — at almost the same exact location as the building that’s coming down — and the existing sign will remain.
“We will keep the same sign, but it’s going to be an entirely redesigned restaurant, similar to the one at the other end of town (the McDonald’s on Leesburg Avenue),” Epifano said. “It’s also going to have the newest McDonald’s kitchen layout — it will be the first in the Ohio region. It will have the latest equipment, our new grills, our new fryers, it will have the kiosks. Customers don’t have to use the kiosks, but they are available. It will have the latest digital menu boards outside and inside, as well as the latest decor.”
Epifano also encouraged McDonald’s consumers to download the McDonald’s app to make their food orders even more efficient.
“If you download the app on your phone, you can bypass the inside and the drive-thru, and pull into one of the check-in stations out there,” he said. “We will bring your food out to you as you have already paid for it on your phone. Every restaurant is geo-cached so we know when you’ve arrived. Also with the app, you accumulate points and we provide discounts and offers.”
With a fresh start of sorts for the Elm Street restaurant, Epifano also took the opportunity to publicize that for the first time since the 1960s, McDonald’s restaurants have gone back to serving fresh beef.
“We’re the largest user of beef in the world,” Epifano said. “The thing that differentiates us from other places that have fresh beef is that now when you come into any McDonald’s and order a quarter pounder, it’s made fresh. It’s grilled fresh just for you. We don’t hold it in any cabinet or anything like that. It takes a little bit longer to get, but it’s grilled just for you. None of our competitors do that. When you get a quarter pounder, you’re going to notice a hotter, fresher product. It’s 100 percent pure beef with salt and pepper….that’s all that’s in it.”
As the rebuild of the new restaurant gets underway, Epifano encourages the community to visit the Leesburg Avenue McDonald’s and the Jeffersonville location.
“With the approximately 90-day rebuild, it should be ready to go around the time school starts,” said Epifano. “We look forward to having a really fun grand opening. We’re just glad to be able to continue to invest in this community and be a part of it. We appreciate our great customers….we’re nothing without them. Everything that they do, all the money they come in and spend, we’re going to continue to give back to the community.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica