Golden Arches Around the World: A trip through McDonald's Global Menu Restaurant
Author & Photographer: Isabella Sturgis
Just past the indulgent splendor of Au Cheval, Girl & the Goat, and avec is Chicago’s very own, equally indulgent, McDonald’s Global Menu Restaurant.
One Saturday around noon, when I would typically be trying a new brunch spot, I walked through the red-tinted automatic doors of the new McDonald’s flagship. Nestled in the foodie heaven that is Greektown, the fast-food Mecca has an industrial chic exterior that matches the neighborhood’s vibe and is marked by two simple “M” signs. The interior was spacious and clean, featuring charging stations on the tables. I ordered at one of the screen kiosks at the front of the restaurant, beginning my McDonald’s trip around the world:
For when a plain Quarter Pounder just won’t do: The Goat Cheese Burger from Spain
This seemed like an ambitious move, and it did not meet the mark. The goat cheese, while tasty, was the only thing I could taste. The burger was also drenched in some sort of mayo sauce that—when combined with the slab of goat cheese—made for a slimy texture. The burger was your typical McDonald’s patty, but too dry and flavorless to carry the goat cheese.
In my opinion, it could be saved by the acid of some cranberry chutney or caramelized onions, if you’re willing to bring from home.
For when you wish you went to Chick-fil-a: The Double Chicken BBQ from France
This was honestly the best item I got. The chicken was surprisingly moist, though the patties were much smaller than advertised. I was suspicious of a French BBQ sandwich, but the sauce was very subtle. The sandwich also boasted the thickest slice of cheese I’ve ever seen from a McDonald’s; it tasted like a mild white cheddar. My only qualm was its slipperiness and difficulty to eat from the classic McDonald’s grease.
For when you’re feeling nostalgic for lunch-box string cheese: The Cheese Bites from the United Kingdom
I was most excited for these cheese bites, as the menu advertised the love child of a mozzarella stick and a tater tot. In reality, it was simply a fried bite of string cheese. No pizzazz. No love. The cheese bites came with a “Tangy Tomato Dip,” which tasted like ketchup mixed with BBQ sauce and was apparently made in the UK. The actual cheese bites were a bit too salty—even for McDonald’s—but they were definitely more palatable with the sauce.
For when you can’t pass up the latest food trend: The Matcha Oreo McFlurry from Japan
I was blessed at the McDonald’s Global Menu Restaurant with a working McFlurry machine. The matcha Oreo McFlurry was not as aesthetically pleasing as your typical matcha latte, or even as the picture on the menu. I am not a big matcha person, but it definitely had a strong matcha flavor, and the Oreo bits added a nice crunch. Honestly, it’s pretty hard to mess up a McFlurry.
For when chocolate is calling your name: The Hot Fudge Top Sundae
The menu advertised almost all of the desserts as coming from Brazil, including a plain vanilla cone. I chose the Hot Fudge Top Sundae because it seemed like one of the most interesting, and I can never pass up anything with hot fudge. While the fudge actually wasn’t hot, it had a really interesting, almost coffee-like aftertaste. The sundae was sprinkled with chopped peanuts, giving it a nice crunch. Finally, there were two Pirouline-esque cookies, though they were not lined with chocolate. Again, ice cream and chocolate are a pretty foolproof combo.
My trip to the Global McD’s was admittedly mediocre--but, isn’t that the point? No matter how many bougie brunches I go to, I’ll always feel the pull of those golden arches, the floppy fries, that unnaturally shiny bun. McDonald’s feeds 68 million people every day--how comforting it is to know that all around the world people get to experience the often questionable, but always generously salted, good-ole McDonald’s cuisine.