A longtime American favorite is building a new restaurant in Cedar Rapids. It will mark the chain's return to one of Cedar Rapids' busiest roadways.

McDonald's is coming back to 1st Avenue for the first time since a location in the 1500 block of 1st Avenue NE closed after the derecho in August of 2020.

A Cedar Rapids building permit was issued for a new McDonald's at 4520 1st Avenue NE last fall. The permit indicates the restaurant will be 4,445 square feet, with construction costs expected to be just under $1.5 million.

The new restaurant will be on the south side of Lindale Mall, where a U.S. Bank (photo below) was recently removed. The bank was built in 1985 and was about half the size (2,454 square feet) of the McDonald's building that will be constructed there.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Work at the future McDonald's site has already begun:

Julie James
Julie James
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Bob James
Bob James
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In April of 1955, the first McDonald's restaurant opened east of the Mississippi River in Des Plaines, Illinois. The restaurants looked much different then:

So did the menu:

McDonald's has a long history in Cedar Rapids. The first one opened at 3916 1st Avenue NE. That location is now home to the bar Basix and is just a half-mile from where the new McDonald's will be built.

The second McDonald's in Cedar Rapids was built in the early 1970s at 2615 Williams Blvd SW. It was expanded less than a decade later with a new McDonald's building constructed at the same location in the early 2000s. The site has now been home to McDonald's for at least 50 years.

City of Cedar Rapids
City of Cedar Rapids via the History Center
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You can't talk about the history of McDonald's in Cedar Rapids without including the downtown location. It opened in early 1982 at 109 2nd Street SE, in a building that had previously housed JCPenney for 49 years. JCPenney moved to Westdale Mall in 1979. The downtown McDonald's was the largest one in Iowa when it opened and was also the only one in a downtown area. The restaurant seated 184 people. It closed in 2002.

The Cedar Rapids metro is currently home to seven McDonald's restaurants, five in Cedar Rapids and two in Marion. We'll let you know the timetable for the new location when it becomes available.

McDonald's is the second-largest restaurant chain in the world with nearly 38,000 locations. Subway has more than 41,000 stores.

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