One McDonald’s Location Is Now Serving Rare International Menu Items

We all have the chatty mega-traveler acquaintance who loves to tantalize us with tales of international menu offerings at McDonald’s — magical, tasty items we can only dream of here in the States, like, oh, cheese- and bacon-slathered fries (those crazy genius Aussies); a juicy Angus beef burger from our northerly neighbors, the Canadians; two majestic salads from France, ooh la la; a tongue-tinglingly spicy chicken sandwich from Hong Kong; and a McFlurry from Brazil made with strawberry sauce and chocolate-covered coconut shreds. Brazilian wax not included.

Now, now. Stop your blubbering. We wouldn’t be this cruel if there weren’t a silver lining. These things are real — and you can eat them! All you need is a Chicago zip code — or, you know, some college friends in Chicago you can go visit.

Last week, McDonald’s opened a restaurant on the ground floor of its Chicago HQ (yeah, we didn’t know McDonald’s mission control was in Chicago either). And they are serving all the aforementioned international offerings there. Like, now, people. Get thee to Chi-Town!

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Want to picture it? Crain’s Chicago Business reports, “The approximately 6,000-square-foot restaurant features oak laminate-clad walls and small tables, plus longer communal steel tables with built-in laptop charging pads. The seating is a combination of leather and a proprietary leather-like material that McDonald’s created for its modern stores. The building’s original concrete pillars remain, and red-tinted glass at the entrance adds a pop of color to the mostly neutral space. One wall, etched with a map of the world, features small Golden Arches signs that move and illuminate when a country’s menu item is available.” Damn, fam.

The best part? This McDonald’s will be changing up the international menu all the time — so you’ll never know what global taste sensation you’ll find awaiting you and your sweetly broke-ass budget. Of course, if you’re bringing lunch back to your super-judgy, über-health-conscious Chicago office, you can always hide the McDonald’s wrappers and tell people you just tried takeout from a fab new Hong Kong restaurant. We won’t tell. Promise.

Don’t panic: You can also order beloved American oldies-but-goodies like Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets if you’re not feeling particularly adventurous. But we’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed by the full-time baristas whipping up Australian flat-white coffees and other Down Under coffee coolness.

Ann Wahlgren, vice president of global menu strategy for McDonald’s, talked to CBS Chicago about the exciting news. She said the company is thrilled to be “bringing not only your local favorites, but menu products that are delicious, great tasting from around the world, exclusively to this restaurant.”

This is major foodie news. Even the Chicago Tribune is chatting up the magical Fulton Market McDonald’s, describing it as “one of the company’s modernized ‘experience of the future’ locations with ordering kiosks, table service, and curbside pickup.”
One teensy tiny drawback? No drive-thru window. Oh, who cares? Who wants to drive in Chicago anyway?
Eater also reports that a mobile app will be available to send orders to the restaurant at the speed of light. And get this — there will be table service. As in no standing 20-deep in line salivating like a Pavlovian lab dog. And those tables will even let you charge your mobile devices (touch charging too if your phone is compatible, but if your phone is that cool, you can probably afford to fly to real Brazil to get your strawberry-coconut McFlurry).

Why is this happening? How are we worthy of this greatness? Well, how is Chicago worthy of this greatness? “As part of our new headquarters, we wanted to provide our customers with an exciting way to experience our global menu right here in Chicago,” Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s, reported to the New York Post. “We are delighted to showcase a taste of McDonald’s from all over the world making this a one-of-a-kind experience that Chicagoans will enjoy with friends and family.”

Lucky damn Chicagoans. Hopefully, the new location will be a smash hit and the rest of us sad sacks will be able to nibble delicate French salads with our Big Macs very soon. Take a hint, McDonald’s. Everyone deserves some global intrigue on their 30-minute fast-food lunch break. We’re waiting. It’s been a brutal year. Please send Australian bacon-and-cheese fries at the very least.

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