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Long-awaited NL McDonald’s opens

NORTH LIBERTY– North Liberty, your order is served.
The long-anticipated McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Penn Street and Highway 965 is hosting a Grand Opening this Thursday, March 15. Ronald McDonald himself will be there to greet customers from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and the first customers through the door could receive extra McGoodies. Also, the store will be running daily food specials through Tuesday, March 20.
Having a McDonald’s in North Liberty is a big deal that has been six years in the making. Original plans were modified from a free-standing building to a street retail concept where the McDonald’s coexists with other commercial entities to maximize space usage and customer convenience. McDonald’s will occupy about half of the 8,000 sq. ft. building, and help draw other occupants to the area, said owner Kevin O’Brien.
O’Brien owns eight other McDonald’s restaurants, managed by Creative Management based in Coralville. The new restaurant is expected to create about 55 jobs.
O’Brien said he is pleased to be welcomed to North Liberty.
“We have been working on this project for several years. We are excited about the growth, to be in what is probably the fastest growing area in Eastern Iowa and we are excited to bring Big Macs and McCafe products to North Liberty,” O’Brien said Monday.
The new restaurant is designed to have a very contemporary, sophisticated look, he added. “There is not another in the country like it. The Coralville store was the fist phase of it, and we’ve taken this to the next level. It’s a comfortable place for adults to grab a coffee and use their laptops, with a cool place for kids, too. It looks like something out of Chicago or New York.”
O’Brien said McDonalds will fit in with the North Liberty landscape and residents, even the health-conscious and fitness savvy.
“We have switched our Happy Meal make-up to include apple slices, so it reduces the calorie counts and fat content, and parents can double up on apple slices if they don’t want French fries or go the other way if they wish,” said O’Brien. “It’s interesting; McDonalds serves more apples and more lettuce and salads than anybody in country. The addition of oatmeal has been a big success. We will continue to look at lower calorie-count foods, and people will see a lot of new combinations of foods that will give them more choices for sandwiches, snacks or light entrees and salads.”