4500 Mayfield Road
South Euclid, OH 44121-4017
by Beau Cadiyo
When I was four I was sitting in my dad’s new office. My whole family worked for him – I stuffed envelopes for a penny per. My mom asked him about dinner plans; he said, “What about M-C-D-” and I shouted, “Yeah!” He was surprised; it turned out “McDonald’s” was the first word I knew how to spell. I got a hamburger as a reward.
My parents were proud; 23 years later, most would be appalled. The obesity epidemic has destroyed one of the great American experiences: fast food. A halcyon romanticization of the past, perhaps, but I bet that at one time Americans considered McDonald’s a luxury to be taken in moderation. Now, many see only Morgan Spurlock’s excess and react with disgust at how unhealthy the country is. For me, the golden arches remind me of an Anaheim McDonald’s where, holding my 16-year-old hand, Catherine Grace Bell ordered a cheeseburger without the meat and I instantly became a vegetarian. Well, pesco.
Mayfield McDonald’s is wonderfully well-windowed; the view compels consideration of the car-centric culture which grew up with drive-thrus. The lighting is not overwhelmingly bright, and the plants, piped music and uniformed staff add nostalgia. The menu is different from what I remember – the salad options almost made me feel more guilty for being there, not happy that their menu now reflects society’s healthy desires.
My fish sandwich was just like I remembered them, if slightly fishier. My pessimism returned and made me think their chemists overcompensated. The small fries were crisp, the big ones almost soggy, the barbecue and sweet and sour sauce recipes apparently unchanged. The chocolate shake may have been engineered to balance the saltiness perfectly, and to make me burp.
Granted, the patrons next to me were massively overweight. However, watching them laugh made me think that while perhaps fat people should watch what they eat, at least they still understand the magic of a happy meal. Or four in one sitting, as the case may be.