Pennsylvania – 20388 Miles Driven.
When I read online that Michael ‘Jim’ Delligatti, one of McDonald’s first franchisees and inventor of the Big Mac had recently passed away, I made the decision to pay my respects to him the only way I knew how; by ordering one of his iconic burgers from the very first McDonald’s to sell them.
The Big Mac is a product of Jim’s vision to double up on everything found in a regular McDonald’s burger, two lots of patties, lettuce, cheese, and pickles, plus that secret but not so secret ‘special sauce’. The middle slice of bread was added because without it Jim found the burger too messy to eat. Originally selling for a mere 48¢, Jim’s 1967 trial of the Big Mac in his Uniontown, Pennsylvania restaurant was a success. A year later the Big Mac was rolled out across America, and is now considered such a global product The Economist created the Big Mac index as a tool to analyse currencies.
The Uniontown restaurant, albeit not the same building, still remains. There weren’t any clues linking this particular McDonald’s to Jim, though my server at the till did confirm I was at the right one. No doubt I stuck out like a sore thumb. There I was in the heart of blue-collar America, taking photos of what could have been any other McDonald’s, holding up the line by questioning a poor server who just wanted to take my order.
When I did finally get round to eating my Big Mac, I had to make a conscious effort to stop looking over at a neighbouring customers McPancakes that definitely appeared thicker than the two ‘100% pure beef patties’ sat in front of me. I managed to resist the urge to pick apart my burger until I’d at least taken one bite of it, and as far as McDonald’s burgers go it was a good bite. The patties had that slightly odd but not necessarily bad charred taste to them, and the lettuce was actually crunchy.
It was sentiment that took me back across a state line to Uniontown, Pennsylvania just to eat a Big Mac. It was sentiment that lead to me drive an additional 40 miles to visit the official Big Mac museum, picking up a rather pricey speeding ticket along the way, but it was worth it. It wasn’t just a Big Mac I ate that day, it was a little piece of McHistory.
The original Big Mac McDonald’s is located at; 575 Morgantown Rd, Uniontown, PA 15401. Telephone; +1 (724) 438-0285.
The Big Mac museum is located at; 9061 Lincoln Hwy, Irwin, PA 15642. Telephone; +1 (724) 863-9837.