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April 13, 2011

The refreshed McDonald's in Pasadena

mcdonaldsThis is a shot of the recently redone interior of the McDonald's of Lake Shore in Pasadena. There's a wider shot here.

This is the second time owners Barbara and Bob Houck have hired Steve Appel of Whitehead & Appel Interior Design to help with a redesign. The first, for their Pikesville location, was a complete rebuild from the ground up. This one was more of a cosmetic overhaul.

Houck first became aware of Appel (better known, probably, as the owner of Nouveau Contemporary Goods), from a Baltimore Sun article about his work, which she clipped and set aside.

The Houcks operate two other McDonald's - in Riviera Beach and on Ordnance Road. They used to operate 11 of them, but downsizing, Houck says, allows them to focus their energies better

Appel told me that McDonald's operators have a good deal of autonomy when it comes to design - as long as they work with company-approved vendors for things like seating and flooring, operators have a good deal of leeway with the design. But interior impovements come at the operators' expense, and Barbara Houck admitted that she was on the fence about investing time and money into the Pasadena redesign. The early response, she told me, has been encouraging, and good sales are starting to pay for her investment.

The economy remains uncertain, and deciding whether or not to invest is always a risk. I suppose there's no good answer.

What's your take? Do you notice it when a restaurant keeps itself fresh?


Posted by Richard Gorelick at 12:02 PM | | Comments (3)


It's pretty. I love color.

This is the McD's in my neighborhood. I love the fresh look inside and out. I have to laugh about the owner's comment about increased sales - this place was super busy all the time before the reno!

The interior may look nice but the service leaves A LOT to be desired! Make sure you double check your order, because chances are it is wrong.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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