McDonald’s isn’t known for having stately restaurants, but there are super fancy exceptions.
An elegant Golden Arches establishment sits inside a 19th-century mansion in Freeport, Maine, with a sign bearing the fast-food chain’s famous logo subtly perched in the front lawn.
The building has a colonial façade, and inside, patrons feast on lobster rolls and Big Macs in a sophisticated dining room, complete with a stately fireplace and chandeliers.
The McDonald’s in Freeport, Maine (pictured above), opened in 1984 (cc by 2.0)
The original mansion was built by Maine merchant William Gore around 1850
According to the Freeport Historical Society, the property, known as ‘Gore House’, is a ‘combination of Italian-style architecture and Greek Revival’ and was built by Maine merchant William Gore around 1850.
In the early 1980s, McDonald’s tried to introduce the chain to the city, but locals objected – the fast-food restaurant’s signature red and yellow architecture went against the city’s strict building design codes.
McDonald’s made a commitment. In late 1983, the Freeport Zoning Appeals Board allowed the chain to install a restaurant within the historic Gore House.
“ The citizens of Freeport were angered when McDonald’s Corporation bought the Gore house, ” reported the Freeport Historical Society in the 1996 book. Images of America: Freeport.
Gordon Hamlin, a spokesman for the North Main Street Neighborhood Organization, who opposed the restaurant at the time, told the New York Times they were “really disappointed” with the decision.
‘The exterior of the house was preserved to maintain the aesthetics of the centuries-old seaside town [of Freeport]’Says McDonald’s
The sophisticated dining room is completed with a stately fireplace and chandeliers.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s corporate media spokesman Stephen Leroy told the publication: ‘What we’re doing there is something we’ve probably never done before in terms of design and the amount of time and effort involved.
“We are willing to spend the money to make it compatible with the area, the history, the community and the people who live there.”
The McDonald’s Corporation explained in a recent Instagram post: “The exterior of the house was preserved to maintain the aesthetics of the century-old coastal city.”
The restaurant opened in 1984 and is still a hit with fast food lovers today. In keeping with the grandeur of the architecture, early interiors featured carved wooden dining chairs and Roman blinds.
Contemporary style wooden seats and industrial pendant lights were introduced in recent years. The walls are covered with giant archival photographs of Freeport landmarks.
A drive-thru was built on one side of the mansion, hidden out of sight from the main road.
Cyndi and Ron Lydick have owned and operated the business since 2007. “People love to visit just to see the uniqueness of the restaurant,” Ron told McDonald’s Corporation.
McDonald’s added, “Ron and Cyndi work closely with the Freeport Historical Society to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the city, working together to ensure that the location honors the heritage of the city and the building itself.”
McMansion’s interior underwent a modern makeover in recent years, introducing contemporary cabin-style wooden seats and industrial pendant lights.
Staying true to the building’s Freeport roots, the walls were covered with giant archival photographs of local landmarks, complete with gold information plaques that shared data on the area’s history.
On the walls, gold information plaques share facts about Freeport’s history.
The traditional wooden seating in the dining room was renovated and the fireplace remodeled with red brick and polished white paint.
Technology was also built into the makeover: Today, standalone touchscreen robots bring your order indoors.
Outside, wooden benches and picnic tables are dotted with colorful flower beds.
Lobster rolls are served in the summer months, but otherwise the fare is typical McDonald’s.
“McDonald’s” is written above the front door, but the signage is subtle. A Yelp reviewer admitted that they “drove without realizing it was a McDonald’s.”
A discreet Golden Arches sign is located in the front garden of the estate (cc by 2.0)
The traditional wooden seating in the dining room (pictured) has been updated in recent years.
The photo above shows the restaurant before its renovation. Today, autonomous touchscreen robots bring your order indoors
“It’s a McDonald’s with a twist because it just doesn’t look like any Golden Arches you’ve ever seen. Congratulations to the company for approving such a wonderful design, ”wrote another.
A third fell in love with the great decor and wrote: ‘The food is standard Mickey D’s, but the setting is worth choosing. Located in an old house but with all the comforts. Even a fireplace.
There is another McMansion in New Hyde Park, New York.
Originally built as a farmhouse in 1795, the Long Island estate became a mansion for Joseph Denton, a descendant of one of the founders of the town of Hempstead in the 1860s.
In 1988, the building was designated a historic landmark, so McDonald’s restored the building, mimicking the building’s appearance from the 1920s, before opening it in 1991.