(Photo courtesy of Dawn Ferencak)

The redesigned McDonald’s restaurant on Lavergne and Madison had its unveiling Sept. 6, sporting a new, urban contemporary look.

The rebuilt store is the first West Side McDonald’s featuring the fast food giant’s new design. Attendees last Friday included state and local lawmakers and residents.

Distinguished by the yellow swoosh-like arch atop the beige brick building, the restaurant, located at 5015 W. Madison, features Internet access, digital menu boards and a two-lane drive thru.

“We call it the swoosh McDonald’s because you have a swoosh that looks like the Nike [logo] on top,” said Ron Lofton, president of the Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA) and owner of the Austin restaurant.

The new building has energy-efficient lighting, as well as new appliances. A new ordering system for customers is also installed, and the bright art deco interior includes bar stool seating and open bench-like booths. The Madison restaurant will be a 24-hour stop employing 80 community residents.

“This is an urban design that we call urban fresh…It’s not your grandpa and grandma McDonald’s,” Lofton said.

The Madison and Lavergne eatery is the first West Side McDonald’s to get this update. The more than $2 million rebuild was long overdue for the facility. The original restaurant was built in 1985 and had seen a lot of wear and tear, Lofton, who owns four other West Side McDonald’s, said.

“It’s like 1985 in dog life,” he quipped. “They put it through the ringer. If I’m going to do business here, I’m gonna do it the best I know how.”

The rebuild is part of McDonald’s efforts to modernize their restaurants nationwide for a new generation of customers, said Jim Schugars, McDonald’s director of field service for the Chicago region.

The arcade, or swoosh design, he said, is the new brand look for McDonald’s and all of its restaurants will look like this going forward. So far, about half of the 750 Chicago area restaurants have made the transition.

Some facilities will be rebuilt and others retrofitted with the new brand, Schugars said, adding that it made economical sense to tear down the Madison restaurant and start from scratch, given its age.

“We’re an old brand but we want to be relevant and appealing to our consumers,” Schugars said.

Lofton used several black contractors for his rebuild, including Powers and Sons Construction, which built the original building. Other minority contractors included a landscaping firm and a lighting company. Lofton said he wants a facility that the community can be proud of.

He’s also hopeful that the new building will spur others businesses to open along Madison.

“So many times we have new things come to our neighborhood and in two years it looks like its [rundown],” Lofton said. “Reinvest in your community. Keep your property up…. These folks work hard for their money, and they deserve the best you have to offer—not just any old thing.”

Ald Jason Ervin (28th) also sees the new McDonald’s helping revitalize Madison.

“We are working on this,” he said. “We are working on a grocery store. We want to revitalize Madison like it was back in the day.”

VIDEO: Austin McDonalds reopens with some upgrades

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