Disfranchised Pittsburgh McDonald's demolished instantly, avoiding fate of disfranchised Pittsburgh Burger King

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/17/disfranchised-pittsburgh-mcdon.html




this happened in my town. A burger king was there on Monday when it was announced they would close by end of week, and by Friday it was gone. The owner decided to stop being a BK franchisee and is opening a bank in its place.

There are literally 6 banks within a half mile of that spot. :thinking:


The Strip District McDonald’s always struck me as being odd. It was the only major chain restaurant in the neighborhood and it felt like you had to go through the alley to use the drive-thru.


Landlords loooove banks. Banks are nice stable businesses that are never late with the rent.


They should have just re-branded themselves McDowells.


Cleo McDowell: “Look… me and the McDonald’s people got this little misunderstanding. See, they’re McDonald’s… I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.”


This location was down the street from my high school, near a mall in Queens, NY. Before filming they took over an existing location and turned it into a the quasi McDonalds with the almost McDonalds sign and slightly off color scheme. Some people were excited a new chain was opening and then confused when construction was finished. I rode by it , but never tried to go in.
This website says it was 85-07 Queens Blvd Elmhurst NY.
http://onthesetofnewyork.com/comingtoamerica.html There is a new multi-story office block there now.


Still better than my local Burger King which was finally shut down because they dealt drugs out of the drive up window. Officially they said it was a low performer. It’s still there after over a year in all it’s boarded up glory.


There is a property nearby that housed a Krispy Kreme donuts. The shop closed, it turned into the a bank, but the hollow neon Krispy Kreme sign still remains, including the neon tubes with the “HOT” indicator.

The bank recently closed too, yet the sign and the bank remain standing.


[Not a great story, so feel free to skip this comment.]

One of my old postal routes had a Friendly’s restaurant on it. Went in a few times one week, said hello, handed off the mail and left.

That Saturday the place was vacant. The door was unlocked but hundreds (thousands?) of drinking glasses, plates and silverware were on the counter in those large commercial dishwasher racks. And NOBODY was there. I walked into the restaurant and the kitchen but no further. I didn’t need to be part of some mass murder. It was like The Rapture happened without a single Fribble or SuperMelt left behind. All very odd.

News article says they closed 80 locations in the CT/NY/NJ area in March of 2000. Seems about right.


That was definitely the masters’ way to get fed there, to drive west down the alley instead of east down Penn. Very odd that the drive-through lane was immediately parallel to a working alleyway wider than the actual drive-though lane, with no barrier between them.

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It’s a corporate owned store, not a franchise location, so they probably just figured that even with having to pay the lease on the land until it expires they were better off closing it down. Once a location closes it’s just bad PR to still have it visible but out of business, hence the rapid demolition.

I have a Sizzler steak house just down the street that’s had been there for at least 30 years and then suddenly closed last autumn. They just removed the sign and locked the doors; all the booths, chairs, and salad bar stations are still there.


Sometimes, they just clip the arches.


So today I learned that Reddit is a “Pittsburgh social media site”. That’s some good reportin’ right there.


Crazy how recognizable that wall in the photo is. One glance and I knew that was the strip district.

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That “Burger King” story is weird-- the customers say the food tasted “different”, but they didn’t say it was worse. They seem disappointed that the food came in generic wrappers instead of BK branded paper, like it really matters.

Owner should have just removed the “G” from the sign, “We’re Burger Kin now, we’re related to other burger joints!”



It wasn’t just random passersby. There’s a possibly-apocryphal story that when they built the McDowell’s set, they got official permission from McDonalds, but word didn’t make it down the corporate ladder, and so they had an irate local McDonald’s person show up and demand they close the new “restaurant.”


I remember a Burger King I used to drive past on a daily basis on Rt8 north of Pittsburgh. One day it was there, the next day it was gone, and pretty much the day after that a completely new Burger King stood in its place. It must have been amazing to watch.