McMichigan  /  World Famous 50's McDonald's


It took more than a year - and $500,000 - but Eric Bardha succeeded in creating a spectacular, one-of-a-kind McDonald's® in 1988.        His Dearborn Heights restaurant looks like any McDonald's on the outside but inside, the life-sized Superman hanging from the ceiling and six-foot tall statue of Elvis Presley let you know you're in store for something different.        The restaurant is a tribute to the 1950's complete with juke box and photos of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Captain America dotting its walls. The marble walls and floors imported from Italy give the budget eatery an upscale and swanky feel.         "I wanted to give people not only a place to eat good food, but to have fun as well," said Bardha. "We wanted people to walk in here and say, 'Wow!'"        Bardha was planning to build a new restaurant to replace his aging McDonald's and he wanted something unique.        "I decided to go with the 1950s because I am of that era, and those were good times," said Bardha, who moved to this country from Albania in 1957. He hired a Chicago design firm, Artifax, to help.        At one time, Bardha considered modeling his restaurant after a McDonald's located in Rome but after visiting that outlet, he decided he could never duplicate the feel that the restaurant's 700-year-old structure provided.        McDonald's, the largest fast food maker with more than 7,600 U.S. restaurants, doesn't have any data on how many of its locations have unusual interiors but company spokesman John Onoda said the percentage would be small.


Karen King, President of McDonald's USA's East Division received the Women's Foodservice Forum Leadership Award April 2011.