McDonald’s celebrates opening of new location in Lincoln

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[August 23, 2017]  LINCOLN - On Monday morning, a large number of people gathered in front of the new McDonald’s Restaurant in Lincoln to celebrate the grand opening of the business with a ribbon cut. The ribbon cut was hosted by the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Ambassadors, with several chamber members in attendance along with members of the general public.

The ribbon cut was staged at the front of the building, which faces south, looking onto Woodlawn Road. Among the many guests, Ronald McDonald was on hand entertaining the crowd. When everyone assembled he then turned the microphone over to Jack Milan. Milan along with his wife Gail, their daughter Nicole and her husband Mikel Petro took the front positions.

Milan explained that the original McDonald’s located just to the north of the new building was built in 1974 by other owners. The Milan’s purchased the business in 1991, and now along with their son-in-law and daughter are business partners in the new eatery.

Milan commented, “This community has been fantastic to us and we are so pleased to be able to introduce a new restaurant for you guys.” He went on to say he and Gail were very fortunate to have their son-in-law and daughter join them in a business partnership for the new restaurant. He then gave the microphone over to Mikel Petro.

Petro thanked everyone for coming out; he echoed Milan’s sentiments that this is a great community and expressed appreciation to all who had come to join in the grand opening celebration.

He also commented about the relationship to Route 66 and the Milan’s and Petro’s partnership with the Tropics committee in bringing the Tropics sign back to Lincoln. He said it was nice to be able to “pay homage to the heritage of this location.”

Cathy Wilhite of the Chamber was the next person to speak, congratulating the Milan’s and Petro’s on the completion of their new location. She acknowledged those city and county officials who had come for the ribbon cut, then invited Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman to say a few words.

Goodman kept it brief. “On behalf of the city of Lincoln I’d like to say how thrilled we are to have this new McDonald’s. I know I personally have missed it greatly over the last few days when it was closed, so I’m thankful to have it open again, as are many others.” Goodman went on to express appreciation to the owners for their partnership and support in supplying a home for the Tropics sign.

The location of the Tropics sign will be to the north of the new building. Right now, the concrete has been poured and the location is designated. The sign is currently being restored and is expected to be installed in the early part of 2018.

The regional manager of McDonald’s spoke next representing the corporate franchise; he said that McDonald’s never takes for granted the communities it serves. They recognize that the restaurants must continue to evolve and modernize to remain an asset to the community. He added, “But it doesn’t happen without Jack and Mikel and their team and their family wanting to make an investment back into the community, and that doesn’t happen without you guys being so supportive of the restaurant. We appreciate it and we never take you for granted, no matter how many restaurants we have, the one in your community is most important.”

Illinois Representative Tim Butler was among those in the crowd gathered behind the ribbon. Like the others, Butler congratulated the owners on their accomplishment and also commented about the location of the new facility, the plot of land that was once the Tropics. “This historic spot in Lincoln, this is a wonder event for the community of Lincoln. I remember my brothers coming here to college, and I remember eating here before, when it was the Tropics, and I look forward to eating here again.” He thanked the owners for helping with the restoration of the Tropics sign.


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McDonald’s in Lincoln will be hosting a fundraiser for the Tropics sign on Thursday, August 24th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. During that time, ten percent of all receipts will be donated to the Tropics Committee Restoration Fund.

Mikel Petro was then handed the large Chamber scissors and with a countdown snipped the ribbon.

Following that event, Ronald McDonald hosted an addition ‘ribbon tearing’ for the kids in the group. With a pair of red plastic scissors, one child was permitted to cut the ribbon while the others were instructed to tear the ribbon in front of them.

Guests were invited to come inside for a look around.

Inside the building, the order counter is sleek with two ordering stations and a counter for order pick-up. The dining area is nicely situated with partitions and nooks for a cozier eating area. The main dining room offers tables and booths. The south end of the building (the front) is partitioned off and is designed as a kid friendly area. The corner of that room offers a small play land area for small children. There are also special “touch tables” in that area. The tables have rows of multicolored lights under the surface that are touch sensitive. Kids can touch the orbs of light and make them change color or even appear to move about the table, as the lights go off in one location and come on in another.

One parent taking the tour remarked that she had taken her kids to another McDonald’s with these tables and the kids loved them. She said the table kept the kids seated, holding their interest, and preventing them from getting restless and running amuck.

Getting in and out of the restaurant on Woodlawn is a little complicated, but folks will soon get the hang of it. Just to the west of the intersection of Woodlawn and Lincoln Parkway there is an entrance on Woodlawn for westbound traffic. A little further to the west, is another entrance/exit for those who are coming in from the west or wishing to exit and go east. Entering from either of those driveways, motorists can access parking or the drive through service. To exit on to Woodlawn, motorists need to take the right hand driveway that points toward Jakes Furniture store. At that point motorists are able to turn either east or west onto Woodlawn.

There is also another entrance/exit on the north end of the parking lot that will lead to Lincoln Parkway. The Tropics sign when finished will be placed close to that north end driveway.

After the ribbon cut, Ronald McDonald continued to spend time with guests and graciously posed for a number of photos with youngsters as well as adult fans.

Ronald is also expected to be on hand Thursday evening for the Tropics Fundraiser Night.

[Nila Smith]


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