By Jacob Mahaffey
The building was the first “fast food” chain to come to Sugarcreek more than 20 years ago. The building had a twist of Swiss and included items rich in Amish heritage and plenty of flavor in terms of the late Tom Miller. McDonald’s has been an icon in Sugarcreek, as the fast place to grab a cup of joe or to sit a spell with friends and family while enjoying a burger and fries.
However, for the past several months rumors have been swirling about the eatery. Those rumors have all been focused on the soon to be completed renovations done to the restaurant. Owner/ Operator of the Sugarcreek McDonald’s, Guy Cecchini, noted that rumors can catch on like wildfire.
He explained that the renovations at the Sugarcreek store were required by the McDonald’s Corporate office. “We have agreed to a bigger, bolder vision,” Cecchini explained. “By 2020 all the stores in the US are being remodeled.”
While the restaurant has traded in its iconic Swiss architectural look for a more modern style, Cecchini wanted to make sure that it didn’t lose its atmosphere on the inside. “It’s been a whole new construction in the dining room,” Cecchini said.
One of the major rumors heard around town was in relation to the murals painted by the late Tom Miller. Two were located inside the facility with the third on the outside between the drive-thru windows on the north side of the facility.
No, the murals were not lost to the end of a sledgehammer. All three were saved. “When I purchased the store, I signed an agreement in the purchase agreement,” Cecchini stated. “If I ever was going to take down or remove the murals I was going to donate them to the town.”
Initially, the idea was to find a place on the property and create a space to mount them outdoors. “We talked to an art expert and she was extremely concerned with the humidity, especially the ones that were indoors for all those years,” Cecchini explained. She was worried about them getting damaged.”
With that news, the plan changed. The two indoor murals were taken off of the walls and donated to the Village of Sugarcreek. According to Mayor Clayton Weller, the murals are in safe keeping for the moment. Plans are currently being made for a permanent display for the pieces that feature Amish Country in fall and winter that were painted by Tom Miller.
The third and probably most prominent mural, the mountain scene with a moving train featuring a cast of characters from McDonald’s including the ever-famous Hamburglar, found in the drive-thru, posed a little bit of a problem. “As we were taking it off the building, they used a certain glue that they are unable to detach it,” Cecchini said. “It was told to me and then it was told to corporate. Corporate understands the importance here. So, they gave us the green light to try to keep it on the building on the outside.”
Cecchini is not only going to keep it there but he is also going to buy a new UV protectant glass and they are going to work on getting the train back on track and running.
While two of the murals are gone from the inside, there will be another mural added to the inside. “This kind of mural is just a wallpaper type mural,” Cecchini described. “It will have different pictures from the town, including the cuckoo clock, horse and buggy, and even the Shanesville museum.”
During construction, the drive-thru at the store has been operational. On Sunday, August 19, the dining room was re-opened to the public. Cecchini noted the opening was more of a soft one as there are still more updates that need to be done. “We are mostly up and running,” he said. “The landscaping still has to be done.”
He noted that on the outside, there will be nothing left untouched, “We are going to refresh everything around the building,” Cecchini said.
This work includes the photo-worthy Amish buggy in front. “We’re replacing the one that’s kind of corroded and broke down,” Cecchini added. “The Mayor [of Sugarcreek, Clayton Weller] is personally going to deliver it.”
While there is no definite timeline to when the remodeling will be finished, Cecchini is hoping to have all the work done in the next few weeks. Once that is accomplished they will have a Grand Opening to showcase all of the changes.
Cecchini noted that he truly has a love for Amish Country and Sugarcreek. “That was my favorite store,” Cecchini said. “Just because it was so different and rustic. But there is a little bit of a rustic look in the look we just installed.”
While the look has changed, Sugarcreek McDonald’s is definitely open for business. Cecchini and his crew invite the community to stop in, look around and enjoy.
This story originally appeared in the August 29, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.