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Misplaced Nostalgia For Wrigleyville McDonald's Leads To Onion-Worthy Story

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Apr 7, 2016 5:22PM

McDonald's, Wrigleyville. via Bartshore/Flickr

Change is hard—especially when your neighborhood, long known as a cultural wasteland that turns into a baseball-themed Walking Dead episode at night from April through summer, is in the midst of an expensive makeover meant to turn it into a much more upscale cultural wasteland.

So far, biggest casualty of the Wrigleyville renovations appears to be the McDonald's that until recently sat at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets, providing important, affordable drunk food to legions of Cubs fans. The McDonald's was demolished last month to make way for a new phase of ballpark and neighborhood renovations that will eventually include the construction of a boutique-y new hotel and shopping plaza.

The Tribune recently found three very bro-y sounding men to wax nostalgic about their former restaurant and meeting spot of choice following Cubs' games. The night of the Cubs' final postseason loss to the New York Mets last fall is used to set the scene for a typical game day at the McDonalds, featuring all the usual suspects: "an overserved young woman," many 20-somethings clad in jerseys, and a father and son sharing fries.

The story is touching and earnest (complete with a photo of a man looking wistfully off into the distance), to the point of parodying itself:

Juan Carlos Nava ate Big Macs there with his dad every opening day. Kurtis Arndt loved the "incredible strength" of the free Wi-Fi. John Matthews remembers a fast-food breakfast before attending his first Cubs game.

It was a convenient, easy-to-find meeting spot, an affordable alternative to overpriced ballpark food, the perfect place to nurse a hangover after one-too-many Old Styles in the bleachers....

"It felt like home," Nava said. "You could go into that McDonald's and become friends with anyone."

As a nonbeliever who has never experienced the magic of a post-season-opener Big Mac, but has narrowly avoided being hit by a car pulling out of that McDonald's parking lot onto Clark Street more times than I can count, I realize I am not the one to pass judgement on the rituals of Cubs fans. I want the Cubs to go all the way this year as much as the next newswriter. So, here's really hoping this McDonalds' demolition is not yet another Cubs superstition to worry about going into opening day.