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East Utica McDonald's holds grand re-opening

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A staple of East Utica now has a brand new look.

The McDonald's on Mohawk Street opened in March of 1980, and it has now gone through the biggest makeover in its 33 year history.

Owner Tom Clark says this is a special location for him, and vividly remembers the day of that very first ribbon cutting along with his father.

Besides holding a ribbon cutting ceremony outside of the restaurant, Clark also presented a $1,000 check to Mary Belden, the principal of Conkling Elementary School right across the street.

Belden says she was surprised to hear her school would be receiving the check.

"It's a huge financial boost to our school and we're hoping that it can be used to offset some of the cost of field trips and different activities," Belden said.

Clark says he is very glad to be part of this neighborhood which he says looks really unbelievable these days with all of the improvements to the surrounding businesses.

He calls McDonald's, the beacon for the neighborhood.

"And it was important for us to be really up to speed and make it very attractive,"Clark said. "So it's a meeting place for the area."

Clark says the renovations were as close to a tear down and rebuild as you can get.

"Basically it's a four-wall rebuild, new outside, new inside, a revamped kitchen and a tandem drive-thru which increases the capacity of the drive-thru 70 percent," Clark said.

The total makeover took a total of 17 days. The restaurant was shut down for 12 of those.

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