One of the most comforting or disquieting things about fast food chains, depending on your point of view, is how they are the same wherever you go. Whether you’re in Florida or in Alaska or in Dubai, McDonald’s will always greet you with the golden arches, boxy architecture, and plastic booths, with very little else besides minor local variations in the menu to indicate where in the world you are.
But sometimes, you do come across an design variation, and it is to be cherished. My lovely boss Marnie Shure has alerted me to a Twitter feed called nonstandard mcdonald’s where users post pictures from, um, nonstandard McDonald’s all over the world, “active” and “deceased,” in a variety of architectural styles.
There are art deco McDonald’s, Tudor-style McDonald’s, Bavarian McDonald’s ski hut McDonald’s 80s fern bar McDonald’s, Mississippi riverboat McDonald’s, excavated Roman ruins McDonald’s, astronaut- and safari-themed McDonald’s, McDonald’s in what once were private homes, and, of course, the late, great Chicago Rock ’n Roll McDonald’s.
If all your world travel dreams for this year have been dashed, take comfort in a trip around the world, though space and time and McDonald’s. And now that I think about it, this could be a great premise for a sci-fi series in which characters can travel the world through hidden portals in fast food chain restaurants and never be bereft of French fries. Netflix, call me!