Since becoming an Odyssey writer, I’ve written quite a bit about my feelings on leaving home, high school, and adapting to college dorm life. There’s a lot I miss about home when I’m in Williamsburg, one of them being the bizarrely excellent McDonald’s a short walk from my house.
Dear readers, I understand it must be strange to hear anything described as “bizarrely excellent,” but I assure you that this McDonald’s more than lives up to this account. To put it simply, the McDonald’s near my house is a glorious palatial estate, described by a friend of mine and fellow William & Mary student as a “McMansion.”
Having grown up in the quiet, Long Island village of New Hyde Park, I can assure you that it is far from an exciting place to live. However, I feel confident in boasting that it arguably has the finest McDonald’s restaurant in the world.
Known as the Denton House, the McDonald’s building itself is a historic landmark, an official one determined by the town of North Hempstead. It’s existed since 1795, beginning its life as a farmhouse and later becoming a Victorian or “gingerbread” style mansion in 1860.
The Denton House went on to house a variety of restaurants in the 1900s and perhaps most peculiarly, a funeral home, before being bought by McDonald’s in 1985, albeit in poor condition.
The restaurant chain intended to demolish the decrepit building, but the Denton House was saved by the people of New Hyde Park (New Hyde Parkers?). They gained for the building a designation as a historic landmark, which meant that McDonald’s had to work around the building rather than destroying it outright.
My hometown thus became graced with a truly tremendous McDonald’s: a restored Victorian mansion, complete with a drive-thru. Yes, it is a McDonald’s through and through, now complete with electronic kiosks as of its most recent renovation, but it is one wrapped in a truly unique, historical package.
Therefore, I conclude that my neighborhood McDonald’s is a restaurant truly fit for a king. Of course, back in Williamsburg, I may eat at Cookout, Cosi, or Qdoba. They may serve good, high-quality fast food, but I doubt they’ll ever serve it in a Victorian mansion.