When the McDonald's near Crosstown is relocated, it will take a piece of history with it. It's new spot will be at the corner of South Gloster Street and President Avenue, a few blocks south of its current location. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday at the site. And when the new restaurant opens in mid-September, the restaurant will have a throwback look, with a 1950s design with huge golden arches on the building facade. It also will be decorated with Elvis memorabilia.
"Elvis is coming with us," said Rob Hudson, president of Hudson Management and owner/operator of the McDonald's restaurants in Tupelo, New Albany and Saltillo. "This has been a dream of ours." McDonald's opened its first Tupelo location in 1973 at the soon-to-be closed site next to Wendy's. Hudson's father, Bob, bought the restaurant in 1983. "We always thought this 1950s design, together with the Tupelo and the Elvis Presley birthplace, was a great link, but we never had the opportunity until now," Hudson said. The new 4,000-square-foot restaurant will add 25 to 30 employees, bringing the head count to about 100.
While the restaurant has a throwback look, the interior will have interactive stations for the kids - but no playground. It also will have a double drive-through. An entrance will be built on South Gloster Street to complement entrances on President Avenue and help with traffic flow. Once the new restaurant opens, the old one will close. McDonald's Corp. owns the land and the store, and will look to sell or lease it, Hudson said.
Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell, who has helped kickstart interest and participation in the South Gloster Business District association, said he couldn't be happier with the new restaurant. "I'm excited - this is huge for South Gloster," he said. "I think this is the catalyst to get more started." Hudson said he looked at other spots, but could find no better area to relocate. "This is still a great, growing, vital part of town".