The first McDonald’s restaurant is off Route 66. Found in a Southern California small town, travelers stumble over this gem that is waiting to be discovered. This McDonald’s location is no longer serving hamburgers, but it’s impossible to miss it in San Bernardino, California as it’s the birthplace of the famous chain restaurant. The Unofficial McDonald’s Museum is a free museum and guests love to check out the birthplace of one of the most famous burger joints in the world.
Considered part of the Route 66 experience, the first McDonald’s location is now a museum. Visitors are always seen in the parking lot as they stop by during business hours and check out memorabilia from the McDonald’s chain. While one might expect an offbeat museum like this to be intriguing, this location is jammed full of items reflecting on the popular fast food chain. There are so many items that the place literally has run out of space. In fact, Happy Meal boxes served over the years hang from the beams of the ceiling.
Considered a real American gem, the extensive collection is a look at the beginning of McDonald’s way before the billionth burger was served. Started in San Bernardino, the idea of the restaurant was the brainchild of two brothers. Yet, they didn’t sell hamburgers when they opened the restaurant in 1940, they sold barbecue ribs. Dick and Mac McDonald opened McDonald’s Barbecue Restaurant, but after eight years the brothers decided to shut down, change their menu and go in a different direction. In October 1948, McDonald’s reopened and the customers were introduced burgers and shakes.
The low prices and fast service attracted attention of the mass and the brother’s techniques on food preparation helped make a name in the food service business. Ray Croc heard of the brothers and had a vision of making McDonald’s restaurant part of America’s way of life. In 1955, he founded the McDonald’s Corporation and began duplicating the efforts of the food making in restaurants across America.
Today, Juan Pollo restaurant chain owns the memorabilia and offers visitors a look at the Unofficial McDonald’s Museum in exact location of the first McDonald’s restaurant. Buying up one-of-a-kind items to put on display, this museum is a local treasure. Guests come from as far as Tokyo to see the timeless items. A genuine tribute to the two men who started the restaurant, the real museum reflects an Americana feeling inside and outside. From Ronald McDonald out front to the look at one of the first McDonald’s menus, the journey into the history of McDonald’s is extraordinary.
This offbeat museum isn’t hard to find when driving through San Bernardino. Look for the golden arches and right underneath Ronald McDonald will be waving you for you to stop by and check out his humble beginnings.