Historic Speedee McDonald’s
10207 Lakewood Blvd. (at Florence Ave.)
Downey, CA 90240 – (562) 622-9248
The oldest McDonald’s in the world
We had just come back from test driving a new Scion FR-S (see our review of the FR-S below) at Longo Toyota in El Monte and we were hungry. So we stopped at the worlds oldest McDonald’s located on the corner of Florence and Lakewood Blvd. in Downey, California. It is the 3rd originally built and the oldest remaining McDonald’s in existence. In 1984 it was listed in the National Register of Historic places and has become Downey’s top tourist attraction. It is the third McDonald’s restaurant, and opened August 18, 1953. It was the second restaurant franchised by Richard and Maurice McDonald. This restaurant is the last prior to the involvement of Ray Kroc. It still has the two original 30-ft Golden Arches and a 60-ft animated neon “Speedee” sign that was added in 1959. Since this particular McDonald’s was not franchised by the McDonald’s Corp. but rather directly by the McDonald’s Brothers, it was not subject to the mandatory changes that other franchises were required to do. So this little loophole has saved this landmark.
The McDonald’s Museum
Located on the property is a McDonald’s Museum. Here you can see a collection of McDonald’s materials from the past as well as see their story. There is also a gift shop where you can buy a number of souvenir items including plates, hats and other McDonald’s paraphernalia. There is seating in the museum where you can eat out of the elements and bask in the McDonald’s glory. The museum has a lot of interesting items to help make lunch a little different.
The McDonald’s Review
CARL: What can you say about McDonald’s that hasn’t already been said? McDonald’s is an American classic and the taste and experience are uniform worldwide right? Well, not at the “Oldest McDonald’s” – things are slightly different here. You get the classic McDonald’s offerings but you also get a lesson in American business history. Oliver and I took some time and browsed the modest but fascinating displays showing the history of Ray Kroc and the beginnings of one of the most successful businesses in the world. I enjoyed my Big Mac, large Fries and large Diet Coke. As always, the Big Mac was predictably delicious, the fries are among my all time favorites and a reasonably priced Diet Coke makes my day. I like McDonald’s and this location just adds to the fun. I suggest all of our readers check this place out of you are in the area.
OLIVER: McDonald’s is something that is a part of my childhood as much as any other thing, I can remember growing up with my friends and we would talk about how great it would be to have a McDonald’s next door to your house. Or a trip to the mall with your friends in the 7th grade, and lunch was always at McDonald’s. Seems funny now, but it was definitely a part of the American culture. One of the moments that really sticks in my memory is when McDonald’s had their Olympics game in 1984. Only problem for McDonald’s was that the former Soviet Union and other eastern block countries pulled out and boycotted the Olympics leaving the US to win nearly every event. I ate for weeks on those game tickets. It was a great time to be young in America. Interestingly enough, it was also the first time that China competed in the Olympics since 1952.
What do I like at McDonalds? I like their Filet-O-Fish, their Chicken McNuggets have always been a favorite, the Hot Fudge Sundae is a nice finish to a big meal. Back in the day, I would get a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, a six pack of Chicken McNuggets and if I was hungry, a Filet-O-Fish. It sounds crazy, but it is the truth. For a while Fridays were 99 cent Filet-O-Fish but that has been replaced.
$3.99 for 2 Big Macs
The deal on the bright red 1946 GMC 1 ton truck parked out front was “Two Big Macs for $3.99″, so that is what I ordered, add a large coke and I was out a little over $5. That is a pretty good deal, and it actually tasted great. Yes, it tasted great. I sat in front of the gift shop window and took in the whole ambiance.
So how many pigs can a McDonald’s get? Well, the pig scale is truly a sliding one if ever one existed. I could tell you about the birds on the table or the retro music playing over the speakers, or the great burger and classic fries. This review is really more of a feature, and we wanted to let you know about this little known gem in the LA area. As far as history, food and just plain fun, I give this McDonald’s 5 Pigs. But in a way, I don’t feel right with that. McDonald’s is more than a few pig faces, it is the memories of millions of kids who grew into adulthood, it is the number of kids who still remember the ingredients to the Big Mac as sung on commercials countless times. “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”
McDonald’s really is a part of the our culture. Richard and Maurice McDonald, Ray Kroc, thanks for making burgers a little more fun and changing the way America and the world eats.
2013 Scion FR-S Review
OLIVER: Longo Toyota is where the very first Scion FR-S was delivered to its first US customer. That works well with this McDonald’s review. The car was incredibly fun. It was like a scalpel as you cut away through the traffic, the 6-spd manual transmission was smooth as silk with a very short shift. Instead of handling like a go kart, it truly handled like a refined sports car. The joint developed Toyota Subaru Boxer 2L has a nice broad curve allowing you spin the motor up to over 7000 RPM and it pulls smoothly through the whole band. This makes for loads of really fun driving. I got the chance to drive it aggressively and I did. Alan the sales man riding along with me was strangely silent and when we finally got back to Longo Toyota he ran off the moment the car was stopped. Did I scare him? The car fits you like a leather glove holding you in place and not allowing much room for those who might be larger. There is no backseat despite what they claim, there is just enough room for you, your skinny girlfriend and an overnight bag, in case anybody was wondering. The car is tight inside and out. I must say that Toyota hit it out of the park with this one. If cars got pigs, they would get 5 for this dish.
CARL: I went to my favorite Toyota dealer, Longo Toyota to put down a deposit on a new Scion FR-S. I have purchased somewhere around 8 Toyota/Lexus cars over the years and most from Longo. I was all set to put down my deposit and wait in line to get delivery. My test drive went well and I enjoyed the car but it was a tad too small for me and my family. I’ve got a wife, 2 kids and some seriously big hockey bags that just wouldn’t fit in this compact coupe. Scion hit a home run with this car but it just isn’t in my ballpark. I was set on the FR-S but now I am thinking BMW again. Stay tuned……
So comes an end to a Lunch Pig Road Trip. We had a lot of fun, ate some food, learned about history and got to drive what will be the hottest new car of the year and perhaps for a few years to come. Till next time…