I‘m aware that the above headline may horrify and disgust some readers. To those readers I say: I see you, and I’m sorry. I’m also aware that a small but not insignificant number of readers are currently nodding their heads in solidarity, fully aware of, and sympathetic to, the impulse behind writing (and publishing!) an 600-word article titled “A tribute to my favorite McDonald’s.” To those readers I say: I see you, and I’m sorry.
I eat a lot of McDonald’s. There, I said it. I’m neither proud of this fact nor am I especially ashamed. I ate a lot of McDonald’s as a kid. I ate a lot of McDonald’s as a young adult. I eat a lot of McDonald’s as an old adult. I eat a lot of food that isn’t McDonald’s, of course—local and legitimately good food—but sometimes I’m hungry and I just want to get it over with. Thus, McDonald’s. Also, I have the good fortune of possessing a metabolism that ensures I don’t look like I eat a lot of McDonald’s. (My insides may or may not be another story.)
But even if you only occasionally partake in McDonald’s—or any other fast food, for that matter—you likely know the feeling of having a “favorite location.” The fries, somehow, taste crispier at this special unicorn location. The soda tastes sweeter. The burgers taste like actual hamburgers. Maybe they have one of those double drive-thrus. Maybe it’s just close to your office.
For me, my favorite McDonald’s is the one on 1st Street in Walker’s Point. You know, the one that’s near the corner of 1st and National. The one that’s behind Sabbatic on 2nd Street. The one where the fries taste crispier, the soda tastes sweeter, the burgers taste like actual hamburgers, and they have one of those double drive-thrus. It’s also the one closest to my office.
But beyond all that, this McDonald’s is ridiculously fast. Ever go that McDonald’s on the East Side, just past the corner of North and Oakland? If so, you’re likely still there, because that McDonald’s is slooooooooow. But not the 1st Street McDonald’s! It’s fast, it’s accurate, and whenever I stop in for breakfast and coffee (four days a week, TOPS) they get that shit to me in no time at all. I’m not a stickler for “good service” (what is it with people who always seem to get “bad service” wherever they go?), but the service at this McDonald’s is indeed good. They’re not messing around, and it shows.
Other things I love about the 1st Street McDonald’s:
• When you’re waiting in the drive-thru (always a short wait, mind you) you can see the T-shirt-famous Rockwell Automation temperature tower peeking out from above the volleyball fence at Fat Daddy’s.
• Speaking of that fence, there’s a dumpster alongside it and there’s always something weird in it. Probably from Fat Daddy’s.
• One time when I was waiting in the drive-thru (always a short wait, mind you) the person in the car ahead of me slapped a Breaking & Entering sticker on one of the poles. Unless it was a superfan of the Milwaukee music blog, it was totally one of the guys who write for Breaking & Entering. I love that. They sticker was later torn off, but I recently saw a new one in its place.
• BAGEL ARE BACK. It’s changed now, but for the longest time the sign alongside 1st Street read “BAGEL ARE BACK.” Incredible. Even more incredible: A few months ago I snapped a picture of the sign with the US Bank and Northwestern Mutual towers in the background. (It’s the picture at the top of this article.) I posted it to our social media accounts with the caption “Milwaukee Skyline (2023).” PEOPLE GOT PISSED. Some sample comments:
“This has got to be one of the worst skyline pictures ever.”
“You couldn’t do better??”
“You could have at least put Texas Jay’s in the shot.”
With apologies to the last comment, I did just that and then some a few years ago. Texas Jay’s, Cousins, D.I.X., and 69, all in the same frame. Name another McDonald’s in town where you can snap that iconic picture. Nice.