The Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s, the iconic restaurant in the heart of Chicago full of music and pop-culture memorabilia, is ditching its rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. The massive, two-floor location will close on December 30 at 600 N. Clark Street in River North for a remodel. When it reopens in the spring, the restaurant’s memorabilia will be gone. McDonald’s will replace the nostalgic items with touchscreen self-serve kiosks and more modern amenities.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman is promising “an experience of the future,” according to the Tribune, which broke the story. After the remodel, parts of the restaurant will also offer table service. The remodel will likely match another River North McDonald’s at 10 E. Chicago Avenue. That restaurant added touchscreen kiosks in 2016.
This isn’t the original iteration of the restaurant, which serves tourists, school groups, and late-night bar customers. The original Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s opened in 1983. That building was razed to make room for the giant 24,000-square-foot replacement that opened in 2005. It’s one of the only McDonald’s in the country where customers have to pay for parking.
The move comes less than a month after McDonald’s announced it was razing its museum in suburban Des Plaines. The restaurant was replica of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s and was often mistakenly referred to as “the first McDonald’s” (It’s not, a location in California predates this one). McDonald’s is also putting the finishing touches on its new headquarters on Randolph Street, on the former site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios in the West Loop.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s was part of Chicago’s cultural fabric. Native son Wesley Willis immortalized the restaurant in a song. The memorabilia from the restaurant will go into the franchise owner’s personal collection, according to the Tribune.