San Bernardino, California: Original McDonald's Site, Museum

The 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 are Juan Pollo gag delivery cars.
1398 N. E St., San Bernardino, CA
West of the 215 Fwy, north of Baseline and south of Highland Ave., at 14th and E Sts.
M-Sa 9-5, Su 10-5 (Call to verify)
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Visitor Tips and News About Original McDonald's Site, Museum

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Juan Pollo Chicken memorabilia.

Original McDonald's Museum and Juan Pollo Memorabilia

Great piece of fast food history. You find out the REAL facts about the history of McDonald's, not the Ray Kroc version. I did not know that Ray Kroc was actually a milk shake machine salesman, who met the McDonald brothers when he wondered how come they bought so many of his milk shake machines. That so-called McDonald's #1 in the midwest was actually #9, but the first of the Ray Kroc stores after he bought the franchise rights. So much great McDonald's history!

We had a special treat to meet Albert Okura, the owner of the museum, the Juan Pollo chicken stores, plus the town of Amboy! Very interesting man, who shared all the fast food history that started in the San Bernardino area. We found out that Taco Bell founder Greg Bell was from San Bernardino and he invented the crispy shell taco.

[JJJ, 07/14/2014]

McDonald's collection.

McDonald's/Route 66 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.

Old shake maker at the McDonald's Museum.

Original McDonald's Site, Museum

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]

Original McDonald's site.

Original McDonald's Site, Museum

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!

The REAL Original McDonald's

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.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Cruisin' Hall of FameCruisin' Hall of Fame, San Bernardino, CA - 1 mi.
Randy Rhoads Grave - Ozzy's GuitaristRandy Rhoads Grave - Ozzy's Guitarist, San Bernardino, CA - 1 mi.
Wigwam Village Motel No. 7Wigwam Village Motel No. 7, Rialto, CA - 3 mi.
In the region:
Pioneertown: Fake Wild West Town, Pioneertown, CA - 46 mi.

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