Take a Look Inside the World's Oldest McDonald's in L.A. Dating Back to 1953

If you want a slice of nostalgia with your fries, head on down to California, where the world's oldest McDonald's looks like something out of a black and white movie.

The fast food joint boasts more than 30,000 eateries around the world, but one with décor dating back to 1953 is still operational, a short drive from Downtown Los Angeles.

TikToker Nicole Ludwig stumbled across the restaurant, which appears to have been frozen in time, and shared a clip to her account @nicole.ludwig.

She simply captioned it "THE WORLD'S OLDEST MCDONALDS," as she gave fans a mini tour of the retro façade, which featured a light-up mascot and a flat roof.

There's even a museum in the Downey branch with McDonald's memorabilia, while it also has signs showing the 1950s prices, in comparison with today.

In 1955 a McDonald's hamburger cost 15 cents, a portion of French fries was 12 cents, while a gallon of gas was 20 cents, a loaf of bread was 18 cents and a postage stamp was just three cents.

Another sign also explained the significance of the branch, and why it escaped modernization, as well as a make-over to conform to the instantly recognizable McDonald's brand.

"Roger Williams and Burdette 'Bud' Landon opened the restaurant on August 18, 1953. This location in Downey was the third restaurant franchised by Richard and Maurice McDonald, who founded the chain in 1948," it explained.

It went on to detail how Ray Kroc, eventual founder of the McDonald's Corporation, became involved with the siblings, via his job as a traveling salesman, selling multimixers, used to whip up multiple milkshakes at a time.

Photo of McDonald's in Downey, California.
Photo of McDonald's in Downey, California. It's the world's oldest McDonald's, according to the website. Google Maps

"Ray Kroc visited this historic location in 1954 to aid him in preparing for the construction of his first McDonald's restaurant in the Des Plaines, Illinois.

"Ray Kroc eventually bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million. However this location was never formally part of the company that Ray Kroc would found, McDonald's Corporation as we know it today.

"This restaurant did not become a part of the McDonald's Corporation until 1990," the sign reads.

They also explained more about the mascot, saying: "The towering neon chef 'Speedee' was McDonald's first mascot and he symbolized fast, efficient service." Speedee was eventually replaced by the golden arches in 1961—except in Downey.

The Downey location also features the original striped building design, with the official McDonald's website saying: "Feeling that the roof line was a bit too flat Dick [Richard] McDonald added arches to the building.

"This building design was first used in 1953 until it was replaced by the Mansard Roof design in the late 1960s."

The website also noted: "The oldest McDonald's Red and White (opened in 1953) still operating today is in Downey, California."

Ludwig's video, shared last year, has amassed more than a million views, and as commenter Jelly admitted: "I feel old. That was mdco's interior design when I was a kid!"

Dean Said joked: "I hope the fries are vintage tasty too."

Crab commented: "McDonald's used to look bright, happy and playful."

Kendralynng13 thought: "This looks like a fever dream."

Irene Kim noted: "this is such a different vibe than what we have now wow."

While Cindy Rubio thought: "I feel like when you walk in there it would feel like going back in a time machine for sure."

In America, McDonald's was the most popular fast food outlet in 2020, when it comes to system-wide sales, or total sales for both franchise and company units.

Figures from Food-service.de revealed the burger joint earned $40.52 billion in sales revenue, far ahead of its nearest rival, Starbucks, at $18.5 billion.

Photo of Downey McDonald's.
Photo of Downey McDonald's. The branch dates back to 1953 and still has some original décor. Google Maps

Update 03/07/22 at 6:53 a.m. ET: This article was updated to remove the embedded video at the request of Ludwig, who declined to comment.

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