The re-opening of McDonald’s in Calexico created such a stir hungry patrons were lining up outside the restaurant starting 6 a.m. hoping to be among the first inside.
The line became longer as the announced noon opening on Dec. 15 neared and when the restaurant officially opened, the more than 150 people waiting got taste of the new building.
For many in Calexico, McDonald’s represents a tradition where friends and families meet. Joe Vindiola has been meeting there with his group of friends at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.
“We been doing that for the last 10 years, sitting in the same table and talking about what is happening in our city,” Vindiola said.
The location at 720 Imperial Ave. closed over the summer so the old building could be razed in favor of a more modern one designed to better serve customers, said Director of Operations Emmanuel Leon.
The new building will help ease traffic around the restaurant and also speed up service now that there is a double drive through. The former building had been remodeled three times since its opening 42 years ago. The new building is bigger than the old one and has self-order digital machines where customers may choose to order food and pay it.
The Calexico McDonald’s opened in 1976 thanks to the late Tony E. Gonzalez. Today, his children, Jose and Emmanuel Leon, continue the family tradition.
“It’s a great honor to continue with a legacy given to us from our father and we expand that legacy by managing restaurants in Yuma and San Luis, Ariz., and Calexico,” Leon said.