LEWISTON – One of the oldest McDonald’s in the state will give way to one of the newest this fall.

To go: store No. 810 on Lisbon Street, built in 1966, the third McDonald’s restaurant in Maine.

In its place: store No. 32,475, a sleek building with a coffee bar, Wi-Fi, bistro seating, flat-screen TV and an interior design that’s 180 degrees from the typical cafeteria-style McDonald’s.

“The people of Lewiston deserve better than what they have,” said David Hamilton, the McDonald’s owner/operator who is building the new store. “But we couldn’t find a new location. It’s been a long and in-depth process.”

The new store will feature a brick exterior with sleek design lines that only hint at the Golden Arches of years past. Inside, wood, tile and stone surfaces will replace the ubiquitous hard plastic.

Booths will be mixed in with high tables and stools, and the walls are expected to feature a mural of historic Lewiston landmarks and personalities. Hamilton said the bistro-style seating is designed to appeal to couples and younger folks, the same demographic the company is hoping to attract with its in-house coffeehouse, dubbed McCafe.

“This opens a new avenue of customer for us,” said Hamilton, citing loyalty among young families, regulars and seniors. “We’re trying to attract a new customer base by showing this contemporary service and that we’re changing with the times.”

McCafe will offer specialty drinks such as lattes and mochas made by espresso machines and trained baristas, but at prices that are well below the coffee chains.

“The price is a lot less but the quality is a lot better,” said Hamilton, noting that McDonald’s soon will be installing McCafes in other restaurants, with a national marketing campaign expected to follow early next year.

Some things won’t change, though. The Maine restaurants will continue to make their french fries with Maine potatoes, and in Lewiston, the core menu of Big Macs and Happy Meals will still be available, as well as some newer choices such as specialty salads and yogurt parfaits.

The new store will be located less than a mile from the older McDonald’s, in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree and Goodwill shopping complex. Hamilton expects a mid-September groundbreaking, with the store opening before Christmas.

He declined to reveal what the total cost of the store will be, but the equipment alone will cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

Hamilton said he’d been searching for a new Lisbon Street location for 10 years, after realizing the existing location was next to impossible to modify. But he ran into one snag after the other. When McDonald’s real estate division finally secured the new location, he was elated.

“It’s a great feeling to know it’s finally happening in Lewiston,” he said. “I regret I couldn’t have done it sooner, but I’m looking forward to making it happen. Finally.”

McFacts at a glance:

As McDonald’s expands around the world, local restaurants have modified their menus. In 1990, Maine’s Dave Hamilton introduced the McLobster Roll. Some notable others:

France: Croque McDo – a ham and cheese sandwich modeled after the French classic

India: Chicken Maharaja Mac – a chicken patty version of the Big Mac for customers who don’t eat beef

New Zealand: Kiwi Burger – a hamburger with a fried egg and slice of pickled beef

Uruguay: McHuevo – a hamburger with poached egg and mayonnaise

Poland: McKielbasa – a kielbasa patty topped with ketchup, mustard and onion


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