Columbia's first McDonald's to close Sunday for reconstruction

Thursday, August 8, 2013 | 5:25 p.m. CDT; updated 6:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 8, 2013

COLUMBIA — Linda Kelly laughed with her friend Hassan "John" Johnson at the same table where she begins every day at the McDonald's on Business Loop 70.

"I come here every day for breakfast or lunch," said Kelly, a lifetime Columbia resident. "It's been here since I was a baby."

The first McDonald's location, built in Columbia in 1959, will close at 10 p.m. Sunday for a two-month reconstruction. The building will be demolished and then rebuilt to include upgraded features, according to a news release. 

With a large vanilla iced coffee in hand, Kelly stared out the McDonald's window while her friend was on the phone.

"This is my thinking station," she said.

Over the years, Kelly has seen the area go through many changes, and she said she was glad McDonald's was making some changes, too.

Kelly lives near the restaurant and walks there every day. While it is closed, Kelly said she will visit the location on Smiley Lane.

"By Oct. 31, we should be back in here," Kelly said of the anticipated re-opening.

Johnson has lived in Columbia for 17 years and also frequents the McDonald's.

"I got a lot of friends across the board who come in," Johnson said. "We try to talk and catch up, but we're going to miss it when it's closed."

The original building has been renovated many times throughout the years, but Lili Vianello, spokeswoman for McDonald's, said it was time for something new.

"At some point, it gets to a place where it just makes sense to start from scratch rather than put a Band-Aid on an already aged building," Vianello said.

The new features will include a side-by-side drive-thru, which will accommodate more cars and allow for better efficiency. There will also be a digital menu display.

Placing an order inside the restaurant will look different, too. There will be a dual-point ordering system that operates similar to a drive-thru. You can order at one area and pick up your food at another, Vianello said.

Free Wi-Fi will still be available inside, but more plug-in stations for laptops will be added throughout the seating area.

Theresa Patterson visits the McDonald's regularly and said she often sees people who use their laptops while at the restaurant.

"Wi-Fi is important to a lot of people," Patterson said. "I think it's great they can do that here."

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.

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John Schultz August 8, 2013 | 11:12 p.m.

I'm surprised they didn't time the demolition and construction to occur while school was out. Now they'll miss out on a couple months of the Hickman students eating breakfast and lunch.

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