Possible World's Largest McDonald's
The McDonald's Service Plaza in Vinita was built in 1957, one of the first of its kind -- filling a bridge that crosses I-44. For a time the "Glasshouse" was the undisputed biggest McDonald's in the world.
But it was "largest" in square feet only -- and some of that was leased out to other stores. After seeing the giant golden arch hanging over the highway as we approached, it was disappointing to find that much of the interior was just dead space, not ordering or seating areas. The order area was the same size as the local mall outlet.
There was a well stocked gift store with souvenirs -- nice t-shirt -- and several display cases of vintage McDonald's collectible items, but a golden opportunity to vent compressed grilled meat smells down onto passing vehicles seems to have been missed.
Another World's Largest McD's appeared in Moscow in 1990, which some believe may have brought about the fall of the Soviet Union. Vinita's response to the situation was to post a memo listing points of comparision between the two restaurants.
Then a World's Largest Entertainment McDonald's (and Playplace) opened in Orlando, Florida, filling bellies in a building decorated to look like a large bag of fries.
Note: Roadside America trivia fans may recall that former RA associate Jack Barth spent a week working the counters at the Vinita McD's and wrote about his hilarious experiences in his 1990 Fireside book, "American Quest."