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The World’s Oldest McDonald’s Is About to Make a Major Change

According to sign displayed at the location this is the world's oldest operating McDonald's hamburgAccording to sign displayed at the location this is the world's oldest operating McDonald's hamburg
The world's oldest McDonald's in Downey, California.Photograph by Irfan Khan—LA Times via Getty Images

The world’s oldest McDonald’s (MCD) outpost has avoided conforming to conventional McDonald’s standards for about 60 years.

The restaurant is located in Downey, a small city in California southeast of Los Angeles. Fox reports that McDonald’s has requested approval from the Downey Planning Commission to add a drive-through to the historic building’s infrastructure. According to Curbed LA, it originally opened in 1953, was soon after torn down, and then was built back up again in 1957. It has survived all that time without a drive through, which is an essential feature of other McDonald’s locations.

The old McDonald’s differs in other aspects, aside from its lack of drive-through. Its entire appearance is completely different from the standard McDonald’s most people would recognize today. It sports a sign that simply advertises “hamburgers” protruding from a single golden arch, half of the familiar bright yellow “M” we generally see, accompanied by “Speedee,” a neon-lit character in a chef’s hat winking at customers and passersby.


Curbed writes that the quirky, longstanding establishment has struggled to be profitable lately. Even though it would sacrifice some of its old-timey charm, adding a drive-through could help. The Downey Planning Commission is set to take up the proposal on Wednesday.