Bucktown McDonald's To Meet Wrecking Ball Monday

By Alisa Hauser on February 25, 2013 9:54am 

 Built in 1983, a McDonald's Restaurant at 1951 N. Western Ave. is expected to be demolished Monday. Graffiti artists broke into the site and made their mark on three of four walls recently.
Built in 1983, a McDonald's Restaurant at 1951 N. Western Ave. is expected to be demolished Monday. Graffiti artists broke into the site and made their mark on three of four walls recently.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

BUCKTOWN — The McDonald's at 1951 N. Western Ave is expected to face the wrecking ball Monday.

Built in 1983, the restaurant at the northeast corner of Milwaukee and Western Avenues closed Feb. 16. A new McDonald's will open in its place in June, the fast food chain said.

Jose Velasquez, a full-time kitchen worker at the restaurant, said he's volunteered to keep an eye on the vacant building. He's sad that he's been laid off for three months but promised, "The new one will be better."

According to the restaurant's website, "Bold changes are coming," including a more inviting interior and "landscaping that complements our community."

The renovations are expected to last three months and be similar to work done at another recently remodeled McDonald's at Spaulding and Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. That restaurant closed Sept. 16 and reopened Dec. 5.

Libby Fisher, the regional construction manager for the McDonald's Corporation, confirmed Monday the new restaurant will be a one-story structure, contrary to rumors it would have two floors.

"We are trying to get it open as quickly as possible so we can so we can serve the community again," Fisher said.

Emily Derkin, 33, a therapist, and Leigh Housepiam, 33, a personal trainer, were among a half dozen people Sunday peering over a green construction fence and taking photos of the "I'm McLovin" graffiti prominently defacing the front of the McDonald's.

"It looks cool. [The graffiti artists] did a good job," Derkin said.

While Derkin and Housepiam said they don't eat regularly eat McDonald's, other neighbors of the fast food restaurant are feeling the impact of its closure.

Two days after McDonald's closed, a "No Public Bathroom" sign went up in the window at Margie's Candies across the street at 1960 N. Western Ave., worker Yari Rodriguez said.

Customers would see McDonald's closed and then walk across the street to the ice cream shop to inquire about using its bathrooms, Rodriguez said.

Employees of Margie's have had to make other Sunday morning breakfast plans, too.

Peter Poulos, longtime owner of Margie's, used to buy breakfast from McDonald's for himself and his employees every Sunday, Rodriguez said.

"We love McDonald's and can't wait for it to reopen. Peter was sad [after hearing about it closing] but said it was fine, he'd just eat Cheerios," Rodriguez said.

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