San Bernardino, California: Original McDonald's Site, MuseumThe founder of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain bought this property in a foreclosure sale and turned part of it into a McDonald's Museum. Bonus: Behind the museum Juan Pollo gag delivery cars.
Visitor Tips and News About Original McDonald's Site, Museum
San Bernardino is the home of many firsts, including the first U.S. appearance by The Rolling Stones. It's also the birthplace of Taco Bell, Bakers, and home of the World's First McDonald's! The original building was demolished in 1972, but the current property, also home to the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, hosts an amazing collection of pre-Ray Croc McDonald's items. Some date back to 1940, when the McDonald Brothers moved the "Airdrome" to San Bernardino.
Come on a weekend; the tour guide we had was really fun, and he was also one of the artists who worked on the outside mural. It depicts the history of San Bernardino, McDonald's, and Route 66. There is also a great military museum next door. And they are both FREE![American Tourister, 01/09/2013]
The Route 66 memorabilia displayed in the McDonald's Museum is the collection of Danny Castro, who had planned to move it into its own museum in late 2010, but didn't.
Inside, look for what is billed as the world's largest french fry, 11 feet. The origin of the fry is not explained, but there is a photo with it of what appears to be its creator, with the museum sign and the fresher fry.[Steve Cook, 07/28/2012]
Was neat to see, but the area isn't very nice and the place is pretty dirty. Too bad McDonald's corporation won't buy the place and fix it up nice.[Bethany, 01/14/2010]
There's something nice about it in this state, though. Like a setting for a horror movie. Look at that Officer Big Mac climb-in jail!
This is the original site of McDonald's (owned by the McDonald brothers), which opened as the Airdrome in 1940 and converted to the first McDonald's in 1948. It was here that Ray Kroc tried to sell Dick and Mac McDonald a MixMaster in 1954 and ended up buying their name.
It is now the headquarters for the Juan Pollo fast food chain.[Bill Long, 11/05/2007]
April 2008: Albert Okura, founder of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, bought this property in a foreclosure sale. He knew its history and turned part of it into a McDonald's Museum. A curatorial staff is available to give tours to school groups.
Juan Pollo, a Mexican food chain out here that knows the value of preserving historical fast food landmarks, has recently opened a museum at their HQ, on the site of the first McDonald's restaurant. Many Fast Food Historians have been in a tizzy over the "Vichy First McDonald's" in Des Plaines, IL...which is actually Ray Kroc's first franchised Mickey D's(the McDonald Brothers had 15-20 So Cal franchisees by the time the milkshake guy came around), but the McDonald's Corp HAS done an about-face and acknowledged the San Berdoo birthplace, which the Brothers kept when they sold the chain to Kroc. The actual structure was moved across the street, and is now in storage. The building now is the former Community Theatre. Here's the rub: the museum has the support of the Corp. but they need folks with early McDonald's mementos who would be willing to donate to the museum -- they can work out the details later. Contact them at 1256 w. 5th san bernadino ca 909 885-5598 and check out their collection, it is pretty nifty.[Dictel, 02/14/1999]