McDonald’s: Reopening eagerly anticipated now, but in 1971 it was unwelcome in Los Al

After a short time down for some remodeling, the Los Alamitos McDonald’s restaurant will be reopening next week, according to an article at Shelley Henderson’s OC Breeze website.

What is interesting is that in another bit of wisdom that only they will ever understand, the Los Alamitos City Council turned down in 1971 the construction of a McDonald’s at Los Alamitos and Florista because a golden arches establishment didn’t qualify as a restaurant under the city code.

Here is the News-Enterprise report from their September 9, 1971 issue.  It was a front page story.

McDonald’s Rejected for Downtown LosAl

Los Alamitos City Council turned down an application for a McDonald’s at Los Alamitos Blvd. and Florista St.  The vote was 4-0, with Councilman Charles Long, who owns property across the street, abstaining.  The council decision upholds the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

Grounds for denying the application was that McDonald’s does not qualify as a “restaurant,” a  usage permitted by the R&D (retail business) zone.  According to the Council’s interpretation, to qualify as a restaurant a facility must provide service to its customers as well as to provide a product.

Councilmen expressed fears that a McDonald’s in that location might cause a “proliferation”of “fast food” services in the area, to the detriment of development of the key “downtown” property.

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One Response to McDonald’s: Reopening eagerly anticipated now, but in 1971 it was unwelcome in Los Al

  1. D Asahina says:

    Questions about other fast food places in Los Alamitos come to mind after reading the 1971 article.

    The McDonald’s on Katella was opened perhaps sometime between 1972 and 1974 if my recollections are correct. Was that location fundamentally different than Los Alamitos Blvd @ Florista? Or was there a change in civic leadership that came about in the meantime that changed the decision?

    The location where Paul’s Place is now, not far from Los Alamitos at Florista: I thought that was at one time an A&W Root Beer Drive-in restaurant. The food at A&W (burgers, fries, etc.) definitely seemed to be fast food. Did the additional feature of car hop service there qualify it as a restaurant?

    And how did The Pasty Kitchen (1963-on) fit into the scheme of things? I don’t think that there were even any picnic tables on the side there in 1971. Was that simply not classified as ‘fast food?’ After all, it is food (and good, to boot!) and they’re literally fast – perhaps even faster than fast food!

    I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just curious.

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