No More Arches; New Downtown Flagship McDonald’s Embraces the Modern Aesthetic

For the second time since we started this publication, the flagship McDonald’s restaurant at Clark and Ontario in Near North is being torn down and replaced by a better, shinier McDonald’s.

The last time this happened was back in 2005, when the Rock-n-Roll McDonald’s was razed to make way for the current massively be-arched hamburger joint.  In spite of the musical memorabilia being relegated to a kiosk in the parking lot, WGN-TV kept calling it “Rock and Roll McDonald’s” for the next 13 years.

Perhaps with the replacement building now half erased by bulldozers and blowtorches, channel nine will wake up to the notion that the old, old building is gone. If not, this new building should give them a hint.

Rendering of the new Near North McDonald's

Rendering of the new Near North McDonald’s

This is a rendering of the new Hamburglar hideout planned for 600 North Clark Street.  It was designed by Ross Barney Architects, which offices (that’s a verb now) just a few blocks away.

Out go the pair of iconic arches that you could can spot from the Hancock Center observatory for a few more hours.  In come… trees.  And solar panels.  And enough glass to glaze the Chicago River.  Between that and the conspicuous use of wood and spandrels, it’s like Ronald McDonald and the Starbucks siren had a baby.

It appears that there’s far less seating than before, especially with the second floor turned into a rooftop garden.  But considering the number of people who get their fry fix through delivery services, it’s perhaps a “right-sizing” move.


Location: 600 North Clark Street, Near North

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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