New Mexico’s oldest McDonald’s undergoes makeover

New Mexico’s oldest McDonald’s undergoes makeover

The golden arches at Menaul and San Pedro hold a lot of history.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The golden arches at Menaul and San Pedro hold a lot of history.

“It was originally built in 1959, and it was located on the west side of our property here,” said Kim Plymde, McDonald’s Human Resource Manager.

It had the original look the McDonald’s brand became famous for, and served as Albuquerque’s original location – store number 220. It opened only four years after the original in Des Plaines, Illinois.

“It opened in November of 1959. And then in December of 1959, the restaurant down the street at Lomas and San Pedro opened, and that’s store 235. So that was how quickly they were opening back then,” said Plymade.

The then-owners upgraded and moved the building across the lot in 1980, and it’s pretty much stayed the same since then.

“They used the original building as a training facility, and then in 1989, when they were doing a refresh on this building and adding a double drive thru, they’ve pulled that building down. So, since 1989, this is the only building that’s been here,” Plymade said. 

24 years later, fences are up, the restaurant is gutted, and the arches are getting another upgrade under current owners Steve and Patricia Aragon.

“Born and raised here in Albuquerque, lived in the South Valley. And I started a Bridge and Isleta McDonald’s which is no longer there at 15 years old,” said Steve. 

He says he always dreamt of having his own store. The one at San Pedro and Menaul is one of his family’s six.

“It’s an honor. It’s humbling. Yeah, it’s just a great experience,” Steve said.

Now, they’re ready for a total rebuild to bring the historic location into the 21st century.

“There’s a lot of technology advancements that we need to implement, and a lot of times, it’s just easier, cheaper and to start again, and then just do a scrape and rebuild,” said Steve.

“You miss the old memories you have in places, but it’s exciting to see the new and improved, and state-of-the-art building that’s going to come,” said Plymade. 

If all goes as planned demolition should start this week and the upgraded location should be open by May 2024.  

Owners estimate there are about 14,000 McDonald’s across the country at this point, and 90 in New Mexico.