2013-08-07 / Features

Movie Fans Say Goodbye To Famous Fast Food Location

A novelty t-shirt advertising the fictional McDowell's.A novelty t-shirt advertising the fictional McDowell's.It was made famous in the 1988 hit comedy Coming To America starring Eddie Murphy as the fast food restaurant McDowell’s. Now, 25 years later the Wendy’s restaurant in Elmhurst, which has been a community staple and destination for movie lovers and fans of the film, will meet with the wrecking ball. 

McDowell’s is probably the most famous fast food restaurant that never even existed.

It is where Eddie Murphy mopped the floors, Arsenio The Wendy's as it appeared in the 1988 film, "Coming To America"Courtesy Paramount PicturesThe Wendy's as it appeared in the 1988 film, "Coming To America"Courtesy Paramount PicturesHall washed the windows, Louie Anderson worked the register, (“Now I’m doing lettuce and next month fries”) and Samuel L. Jackson tried to hold it up.

The building, whose façade is largely unchanged from the time the movie was shot there, was razed to make way for a $105-million, six-story structure with luxury apartments and ground-floor stores.

The Wendy's in its current state of demolition.Photo Jason D. AntosThe Wendy's in its current state of demolition.Photo Jason D. AntosMany area residents have said they will mourn the loss of this movie landmark.

“I am such a big fan of Coming To America,” said Elmhurst resident Aris Sarintakos. “Whenever I would go on a blind date years ago I would tell the girl that I was the manager at McDowell’s on Queens Boulevard. They never got the joke.”

Today there is a cult following of both the film and McDowell’s. T-shirts are available for sale with the famous McDowell’s icon, the golden arcs (instead McDonald’s golden arches) and a tagline that reads “Home of the Big Mick.”

And in the words of Mr. McDowell played by John Amos, “They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick.”

–Jason D. Antos

 

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