HAZARD—After years of rumors spreading like wildfire and hundreds of Topix forums filling up, the owners and operators of the East Main Street McDonald’s in Hazard have confirmed that the two-story restaurant will not be operational by the end of this summer.
“I know people just do not want to lose that restaurant, they don’t want to lose the two-story, but we tried every single angle that we could find; refurbish, renovate, resurface it, do whatever, even rebuild on that site, and there is just no possible way,” owner Diana Patula said this week about the two-story McDonald’s, which will be closing in August of this year.
Patula said she and her husband took over operations of the building in 2006, and have plans to ensure that the community will not be without a second restaurant for long.
“We are looking to open a new location up on the bypass, and we will only go with one McDonald’s in our community for just about five to six days,” she said.
Patula explained that the poor condition of the building had made it impossible to continue working there without some kind of upgrade, but with the high costs that come along with building in a flood plain, she said the only realistic option was to relocate.
“We wanted to rebuild, and we actually have had plans to have architects come out. We were ready to close it and just go ahead and rebuild and the federal government said they wanted to look at all the plans, and they added an astronomical price to meet their specifications on the flood plain,” she said. “The corporation just said this isn’t feasible. It’s just not worth it. You have to make a certain amount of money.”
The two-story building, built in 1989, has been rumored to be one of only two two-story McDonald’s built in the world. Patula said while this is not true, the building may now be one of the last of its kind.
“There’s a few others, and I believe McDonald’s is kind of trying to get away from that for the safety fact, and it’s very hard to upkeep two stories,” she said. “They really have gotten away from doing two stories.”
Patula said she and the employees at the East Main Street restaurant—who will simply be transferred to the new restaurant—are excited to celebrate the 25-year life of the old building as well as the beginning of a new chapter.
“The last week that we’re going to be open we’re going to make it a big celebration. We’re going to do what we can to just kind of make it festive,” Patula said. “We’re excited. We haven’t had a new McDonald’s in this town since 1989.”
The new location will have many new features, Patula said, including a double drive-through. The week before the public opening will be filled not only with staff rushing to finish getting the space stocked but with tours and VIP parties.
Patula said she is not sure what the fate of the East Main Street building will be as she and her husband will have no control over what happens once they move to the new location.
“It is left to the McDonald’s corporation to kind of look at what they want to do. So, I know from our construction meetings they said they will probably present it to the town, the mayor, and city hall to say what would you like to do with this,” she explained.
Patula said she understands many in the area will be upset with the move, but wants everyone to know she and her husband worked hard to make the best decision for the restaurant.
“We’ve tried out best and we tried to appreciate all of our customers — our loyal customers — and we hope that we see them at the new location,” she said. “We tried our very best to make it so that it was something everyone would want.”
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.