HAZARD—One of the more iconic parts of downtown Hazard’s skyline has been removed after the East Main Street McDonald’s restaurant closed its doors this week.
The two-story restaurant, which was built in 1989 and has been said to possibly be one of the last two-story McDonald’s restaurants, took its last order at midnight Monday night. Co-owner Diana Patula, who also owns the only other McDonald’s in Hazard on Combs Road, said that while the day was a sad day it was also a day to celebrate.
“We have a lot of mixed emotions today, even myself, a lot of memories, a lot of excitement for the future,” Patula said on Monday. “We’re kind of sad to see this go, this last day, but to know that we have a bright new future, a brand new facility with the highest technology.”
Throughout the day on Monday, Patula said customers were treated with free cake to celebrate the 25-year life of the store. A drawing was done for a free 32-inch Sharp TV, and the last customer of the day received a $50 gift certificate.
Patula said she and her husband, Ken, had taken control of the store in 2006, but even in those eight short years memories had been made that made leaving the old building difficult.
“I cried. I sat out there by myself and I cried,” Patula said, speaking of the removal of the golden arches last week. “The neat thing is is that the company that we had remove it, they let me come up into the bucket and I actually got very close to the sign and got pictures up above.”
Patulla said seeing the city from the top of the sign brought back memories of her family first coming to Hazard from Pennsylvania to become part of the local community.
“I just wanted to see kind of … the last view of the city,” Patula said, wiping away a fresh set of tears.
With less than 10 days until the opening, Patula said there is much more buzz around the opening of the new store than there was when the closing of the old store was announced earlier this year.
“Since we have a physical building and they see the new future there’s a lot of excitement,” she said, adding that the employees are just as excited to work in a new building with all new and properly working equipment. “They’ve dealt with a lot of issues here with being in an older building … having a new building will be an extra treat for them.”
Patula said the new store will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, and the celebration of the opening will continue throughout the month. To begin with, the first 100 customers to order at the new store on opening day will receive a coupon for a free Big Mac sandwich weekly for an entire year.
“I’m hearing people are wanting to camp out,” Patula laughed.
Patula added that a ribbon cutting will be held at noon on Friday, Aug. 15, and Ronald McDonald will be visiting later in the month.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.