The new Washington McDonald’s restaurant will open early Thursday at one minute after midnight.
Co-owner Deb Klak said the overnight opening ties in with the restaurant’s expanded hours — being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Construction was wrapping up at the restaurant, which was built at the same location of the old one off Highway 100, this week.
Klak spoke to The Missourian Wednesday while on site. She said the final work and required inspections were on schedule.
“They are laying the blacktop now and the new Play Place, which features a recycled rubberized floor, is going down,” she said. “The wallpaper is just about finished. The kitchen is in. Everything looks great — it’s a very pretty restaurant.”
Klak said all major equipment has been “fired up and tested” and exterior landscaping and sprinklers were going in this week.
Despite some initial obstacles with site development and the wrong brick arriving which pushed back the opening, Klak said the project has progressed well.
“Everyone has worked very hard and it shows,” she said.
The new restaurant is 30 percent larger than the old and at 6,000 square feet, it’s the largest building design for a McDonald’s other than “specialty” restaurants.
The last day at the old McDonald’s was May 11 and the restaurant was swamped with customers. Klak said she expects the same for opening day, even overnight.
A ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday at 2 p.m., and cake will be served after the ceremony. The VFW will participate in a flag-raising during the ceremony.
Among the special events planned are a large number of customer giveaways. Prizes include everything from a free Big Mac a week for a year to the seventh customer in the drive-thru, a digital camera for the 77th dine-in customer and an LCD television to the 100th drive-thru customer.
The special promotions will continue through early September. An ad in the Wednesday Missourian will have a complete list of all special events and giveaways.
In conjunction with the grand opening, the restaurant will present Washington Gospel Fest Thursday, Sept. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1105 Clock Tower Plaza, the building next to McDonald’s. Admission is free.
Gospel fest will feature The Lesters and The Redemptions with emcee Duane Garren.
Klak said 100 employees have been hired for the Washington restaurant, some of whom worked at the old one and some who are new.
“We are pretty well staffed right now, and we’re also opening with the maximum number of managers,” she said. “We also have 30 to 40 employees from other restaurants ready to help out if needed.”
Klak said she’s excited about the restaurant’s “fresh, new look” which is very contemporary inside and out. The interior has lighter colors, down lighting and privacy screens, and a lot of glass.
There’s also a larger play area for children, educational computers for kids and adults, as well as more seating.
The restaurant now features dual drive-thru lanes. The extra lane was made possible with the purchase of about 78 feet of the adjacent JCPenney parking lot.
Earll Construction is the general contractor for the project. This is the same construction company that completed the St. Clair McDonald’s major remodel.
Deb and her husband Mike Klak own and operate four restaurants in Franklin County — Washington, Pacific, St. Clair and Union — and four in St. Louis County — Allenton, Eureka, Peerless Park and Bowles Avenue, Fenton.
The Washington restaurant, the Klak’s first, opened in August 1977.
Mike Klak started working for McDonald’s as a teenager and later as a corporate employee before branching out to operate his own restaurant. This is his 53rd year in association with McDonald’s.