McDonald's straddles Interstate 44.
This McDonald's straddles Interstate 44.

Former World's Largest McDonald's

Field review by the editors.

Vinita, Oklahoma

This McDonald's will be closed from Summer 2013 to Summer 2014 for interior remodeling.

It's another fleeting claim to fame that still lingers along many a highway -- the World's Largest McDonald's. The one in Vinita, also known as the "Glasshouse," was documented as "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, the Vinita restaurant was a disappointment. A bunch 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 yawn. Even 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.

Today, a newer World's Largest McDonald's (and Playplace) fills bellies in Orlando, Florida, in a building decorated to look like a large bag of fries.

It's only a coincidence that Vinita's other civic boast is its annual Calf Fry Festival, held in early September. "An Oklahoma delicacy, known as the 'cattleman's hors d'oeuvre,' calf is served fried, boiled, battered, grilled, and seasoned to visitors by champion calf fry chefs."

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."

Update - March 2006: Two tipsters took us to task about our naivity regarding the Calf Fry Festival. We had incorrectly written: "Cute little baby animals are always the tastiest." Calf Fry is a regional term for the "sliced, battered and fried testicles of neutered male calves" (think Rocky Mountain Oysters). We admit it -- we're sorely lacking in hands-on expertise in this department...

Former World's Largest McDonald's

Address:
I-44, Vinita, OK
Directions:
I-44 Will Rogers Turnpike, straddling the highway. Scheduled to close Summer 2013 for an interior upgrade; will reopen Summer 2014.
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July 26, 2014

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