Reuters; USA

15th Dec 1996

DOWNEY, Calif. - Fast food lovers were served up a taste of history Sunday when the nation's oldest McDonald's restaurant reopened for business after a close brush with the demolition ball.

The restaurant, located about 15 miles south of Los Angeles, first opened in 1953 and had served burgers for the next 40 years when it was shut because of earthquake damage.

McDonald's initially planned to let the lease on the building lapse since its lack of modern amenities like a drive-through window and indoor seating made it hard to turn a profit.

But historic preservationists and pop culture buffs, fought to keep the site open. The building, with its two giant golden arches, is considered an architectural landmark.

"It brings back such nostalgia," said Clay Paschen, who has been running McDonald's franchises in southern California, for more than 30 years and was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

In keeping with the 1950's heritage, hamburgers will be cooked on the original, old-fashioned grills, milkshakes will be individually mixed, and the menu will not offer most of the modern additions like breakfasts, salads and chicken nuggets.

Big Macs and Happy Meals, however, will be offered as a matter of economic survival.

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