Rock N Roll McDonald's and Museum – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Chicago, Illinois

Rock N Roll McDonald's and Museum

The palatial McDonald's that inspired Wesley Willis. 

Sorry, Rock N Roll McDonald's and Museum is permanently closed.

When you think of the word “fancy,” McDonald’s isn’t exactly what comes to mind. 

Maybe fancy isn’t the right word—lavish? Posh? Deluxe? Deluxe is a grand way to describe the Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, a two-story burger palace that offers the restaurant’s standard fare plus so much more, in a setting much swankier than the typical orange and yellow plastic… everything. 

Redeveloped to act as a flagship store and active museum in 2005, the original building had been a popular spot since 1983. On the fast food joint’s 50th birthday, the special location was launched with celebrities and franchise big-wigs gathered to celebrate the anniversary in style. (Elton John was there. Seriously.)

What so special about this particular location of a place you can’t seem to drive three miles without spotting these days? Well, for starters, the plasma screen TVs, leather chairs, a high-end cafe that serves gelato, pricey Italian lighting, an upstairs museum showcasing every decade of the restaurant, and two outdoor green roofs to enjoy your Big Mac or biscotti on. The museum contains vintage uniforms, pop culture items popular in each decade, and of course photos of McDonald’s past. 

Where does the Rock N Roll part come in? The palatial eatery also includes a Rock N Roll display that only seems to recognize Elvis and the Beatles—a clear oversight of cult singer/songwriter Wesley Willis, a beloved Chicago character who despite suffering from severe schizophrenia managed to garner a massive cult following with hits such as “Whip The Llama’s Ass,” “I Whipped Spiderman’s Ass,” and of course, his biggest hit: “Rock N Roll McDonald’s,” an homage to the very establishment that has shunned him in their display. 

Update: On December 30, 2017, the store closed for a remodel.  The Rock and Roll theme is to be removed and self order kiosks and other improvements.  The store will reopen in spring 2018.

Update January, 2018: This building has been demolished! A new one will be built