LOOK: McDonald’s Opens on Detroit Avenue

The new fast food restaurant plants the Golden Arches at the site of the former Detroit Theatre.

Popcorn and classic films on Detroit Avenue are now a distant memory.

They were replaced by the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, which opened its new restaurant Monday on the property that once housed the Detroit Theatre. 

Lakewood school students streamed in on Monday afternoon after their classes had ended. Most of the seats were taken.

The new restaurant doesn’t bear much resemblance to the old McDonald’s on Sloane Avenue that closed its doors last month.

The idea behind the design, is a “modern, coffee-house feel,” said one employee. There’s a large-screen TV, and outlets lining the walls for laptops.

“The employees are also really excited to work in a brand new modern McDonald's kitchen and restaurant,” said employee Christine Studer. 

A supervisor told Lakewood Patch that the “soft opening” went as planned.

“It’s been great,” he said, referring additional questions to McDonald’s headquarters.

He noted that an official grand opening is in the works, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is likely.

Rick Uldricks October 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Is there any kind of hat-tip or tribute to the former Detroit Theatre in this new McDonald's? Photos? Artifacts or mementos from the theater - anything?
Amanda Gunnels October 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I still feel sad that a historical building was demolished so another McDonald's could go in. I hope the big chains don't continue to infiltrate Lakewood. The local businesses are amazing and are very kind to the community and it's projects. Building Detroit and especially Madison up is a necessary and positive work effort-- but please don't shut out places like 56 West and The Plank, who serve amazing burgers, for a $1 McDouble. Continue to support your local businesses, Lakewood!
Cat Donovan October 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM
If I was living in the houses near the McD's parking lot on Woodward, I would be up in arms. The lighting from the amusement park-like signage is outrageously excessive and unacceptably bright. And coffeehouse feel??? I didn't smell any freshly grounded coffee. But I did smell grease as far away as the corner of Northland and Detroit. Hmmmm, where should I get my coffee and bring my computer? Oh, of course, greasy, smelly, dirty, loud, McDonald's.
Colin McEwen October 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM
There are some vintage photos of Lakewood, but I didn't see any of the Detroit Theatre. And, no, nothing else.
dougmoore October 11, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Hey Cat isnt it nice to have options..I dont like everything around town either so the more options the better! Sorry about the theatre..people had the OPTION to patronize it, but they didnt. Lighting?..let McDs know...& after only a few days its that bad already?..or are you projecting? Hey Cat isnt it great to have OPTIONS?
sammaeal October 11, 2012 at 06:23 PM
1)This McDonald's is a locally owned franchise store. It has the same owner as the Sloane Ave location did. This is the same business moving locations, not a new one infiltrating the city. It was already there. 2) It's pretty sad that the Detroit theater is gone, but McDonald's wasn't what made it close, it was the lack of attendance. No one went there. I saw many many films there over the years and I always tried to see the films I wanted to see there instead of the chains. But every time I went I was practically the only one in there. Local consumers made it clear a theater isn't a viable business in that location.
ian king October 11, 2012 at 08:52 PM
HI Sammael - Great Comment! Having relocated to Lakewood a few years ago from years of living on both coasts, it amazes me how much negativity there is about the demise of small local businesses, yet everytime I have been in these local owner businesses such as Local Girl Gallery and A Friend's Secret, no one is shopping. And, they are closing or are now closed. Citizens/residents of NE Ohio/Lakewood have to shop in these smaller stores if they are to make a profit and survive. And these smaller shops have to offer a product I want to buy and spend my hard earned money on. It is basic Capitalism 101. Luckily, Lakewood does not have another empty storefront or empty lot with the opening of McDonald's. Say and think what you want, but I think the citizens of Lakewood should be happy McDonald's is investing in the community with a brand new facility in these very tough economic times.
ian king October 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
How about getting a PEI WEI to open in downtown Lakewood? It is much healthier food than McDonald's and their building is very attractive both inside and outside. There are now 3 in the Columbus area. Owned by PF Chang. Lets call their corporate office and get them to open one now in downtown Lakewood - a far healthier dining experience and one that is lacking in Lakewood.
Cat Donovan October 11, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Options? The only option Woodward residents have is moving. Projecting? It is evident that you haven't been to the new "restaurant," don't live on Woodward, had no part in or idea of what was done to try to stop the project and don't know the ongoing issues. It's not as simple as boycotting the french fries to really show them. So yes, it is great to have options. If you have any for the residents of Woodward, let us know.
dougmoore October 12, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Ian..OUTSTANDING IDEA! Ill say it again..I LOVE OPTIONS! As far as lighting & smells its all subjective. Woodward is a long north/south street & the closer you are to Detroit or Madison the more commercial factors will affect you. The DETROIT wasnt going to be saved & architecturally it offered little. I feel for those who have fond memories & loosing a building can never take them away. Focus your resolve to keeping the BECK strong..if you wish & do something with the closed theatre on Hilliard..a decent option! Cat, well miss you at McDs..but maybe run into you at The Root..probably not Caribou (corporate)..Bella Dubby (for a taco), but I dont think theyll start making bad coffee & of course the "new" Beck Cafe...its nice to have OPTIONS! PEACE.
Shelley October 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Thank you for mentioning us. Our property values have tanked as the city has quietly demolished houses abandoned and unsold as no one wants to live here anymore. Our streets are extended driveways to McD's so our kids should keep a safe distance from the street. The influx of anyone with $1 from 6am til 12am, the inability to cross Detroit...and the inability to leave. It's awful.You can look in all of Lakewood but you wont find a fast food restaurant on a residential street. But no one else seems to care.
Shelley October 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM
As if we could have make the owner clean that theater and make it somewhat more attractive to the area. And it is not just Woodward. It is Westlake too. Woodward has it the worst.. Doug has no idea what it's like to sink his life savings into a home and have the street re-zoned so that every house on the street is worth less because of it. So that traffic is so bad that your child can no longer walk to get an ice cream and that the number of abandoned demolished and vacant houses outnumbers the houses for sale as everyone has learned that houses do not sell on our street anymore. We owe the same amount of money on our houses, yet McDonalds has made our houses unsellable. What are we supposed to do? What are our options Doug? Should we section 8 our homes rent them out and leave as some of our neighbors have done? Or abandon our home and ruin our credit so we cannot buy another house those are our ONLY OPTIONS Doug! Unless, of course, you would like to purchase all of our homes Doug. Run upstairs and ask your parents if you can borrow some money to buy a house with a McD's on the street and see what they say.
Shelley October 12, 2012 at 11:25 PM
There's a big space with a church on it in downtown where the McD's driveway wouldn't be next to a residential driveway. It is UNTRUE that zoning for a restaurant with a drive thru 18 hrs a day existed here in 1995 when I bought my home. I haven't seen the bulldozers knocking down the houses on Westlake that won't sell or the vacant houses the city has taken over on Hall and Cranford all thanks to McD's in the news because they don't want you to know that every time that happens all of our property values drop. The letters we get from the county auditor cite the reason for our dropping home values is the demolished houses on Westlake Ave. What a shame! Used to be a desirable street. Now the city is paying to make houses disappear? We continue to go under water on our mortages as the rest of the nation starts to recover. Our neighborhood is the only place still sinking. The city was demolishing a garage to a vacant house behind mine just the other day. I see no funds appropriated to fix it up, so I guess our values are about to drop again when they knock it down too. I could care less about that theater. I care about my neighborhood which is ruined.
ian king October 13, 2012 at 02:27 AM
HI Shelley, Not sure where your house is, but anyone knows that if you buy near a residence near a commercial street, railroad, factory, etc. - any business or industrial area - there is ALWAYS the reality that commercial expansive could happen. What did you originally pay for your home? I am sure it was less expensive than a home on Clifton or Lake or areas of Lakewood that were primarily residential already. I am sorry to hear about the lowering of the value of your home, but there are no guarantees in real estate - it can go up or down. The only guarantee a home owner has is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Sorry, but buying within a few blocks of a major commercial/transport street like Detroit or even Madison, is somewhat risky. That is just the reality of real estate and life in any city, including Lakewood.
ian king October 13, 2012 at 02:34 AM
BTW, I was in McDonald's today and it is actually a nice modern decor on the inside. Well integrated, lit and decorated, and much more inviting than the older McDonald's. If we had to have one on Detroit due to our current tough economic conditions, and accepting the reality of people's wants/desires regarding their eating habits in America today, at least this McDonald's is as nice as they currently come!
Shelley October 13, 2012 at 09:11 AM
Look all over Lakewood, in the past they have shielded residents from fast food restaurants this near to homes on residential streets. When Burger King and Taco Bell were 1st placed here in the 80's it was a huge deal and they are well away from ruining anyone's home value. It was traffic and tacky issues that were the problem back then. Drive down Detroit and count how many places McD's could have gone and been placed near other businesses instead of where it's exit is next to someone's personal home driveway. It is unheard of. And it is also unheard of to have houses bulldozed, one after the other and homes abandoned because of not a single offer due to the impending bright, smelly, monument to trash and lines of C02. This is not at all something anyone would expect as it has NEVER happened anywhere in Lakewood before. I am 46 years old, you need not explain market values to me. They fluctuate slightly. Having 2 houses and counting bulldozed so far on a 1 block street? This was a good street. A former prosecutor and a judge live here. They were single homes bulldozed that 1 business prevented from selling. Where do you hear of that happening? Give me examples of where and when that has happened before Ian, as in my years of life and 18 years of Lakewood I have not seen or heard of this kind of these kind of damages caused by 1 business. Why should it matter more than all of these families? But thanks for the empathy, neighbor.
ian king October 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Hi Shelley, Totally understand. But in real estate there are just no guarantees. There is always a risk something can happen to your house, the neighbor's house, the street, etc. I totally empathize with you, but I have owned and only purchased in strong residential homes only streets. No businesses or factories, - commercial - nearby. I knew I would pay more for location, location, location, but felt it was worth it just in case. Times and economic situations have changed. Lakewood is losing both populations and businesses since the 1980s. Detroit Ave and Madison Ave has changed too, less businesses/empty store fronts/urban blight. The city has tough choices to make - less business, less tax base, more urban blight - or attract business, increase tax base, less urban blight. Unfortunately, homes located near new businesses that may not be the most desirable ones for the neighbors. But there are no guarantees in home ownership - never has been and never will be.
Rick Uldricks October 16, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I visited this McDonald's last night - I'm not loving' it. Parking and traffic flow is worse than Marc's Plaza or Heinen's in River. The furniture is uncomfortable - by design - certainly not a cozy 'coffee shop' atmosphere. Also, the decor just doesn't seem to be what you would expect in a spot that at one time was an historic theater (no photos of the old Detroit Theatre either). The dining room seems to almost discourage people from eating in it; McDonald's must be banking on making most of the money from the dual drive-thru (bad news for Woodward residents). This is probably a good thing overall, but I fully expected to see a Kid's Playland; there isn't one - this place doesn't seem kid friendly at all. I would not be surprised to see this location fail.


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