Leroy Williamson has been a faithful McDonald’s customer for 25 years.
When his McDonald’s at 306 W. University Drive closed in May for renovations, he and his group of church friends went to the Jack in the Box located right next door.
“I watched it under construction the whole time,” Williamson said.
Regulars who used to meet at the University Drive McDonald’s will finally be able to go back to their favorite morning coffee spot. It’s slated to open at 5 a.m. today after undergoing a summer of renovations.
“It feels more like a new restaurant than a renovated one,” said Jeff Phillips, president of Phillips Brothers Management Co., who owns the location with his wife, Sandy.
In May, the owners announced the restaurant would close while being updated to reflect McDonald’s new design. During the three-month renovation, the store’s 55 employees went to work at other locations.
The restaurant now includes contemporary leather booth seating, new flooring and kitchen equipment, a digital menu board and 25 outdoor seats as part of the 3,780-square-feet renovation project.
Other updates include a new play area and seating made from recycled plastic soda bottles. The Morphs PlayPlace has multicolored soft play toys and elements that are interactive and make noises.
“The biggest problem will be keeping adults out of it,” said Steve Knitch of JBI Interiors, who was in charge of designing the McDonald’s interior along with Sandy Phillips.
Since 2006, the McDonald’s Corp. has been redesigning its restaurants to reflect its “Forever Young” prototype. Denton’s other McDonald’s location, at University Drive and Interstate 35, underwent this type of redesign last year.
Jeff Phillips said that during the three-month renovation, the 306 W. University Drive restaurant lost 20 percent of its crew.
“Some of them found other jobs and better opportunities at other McDonald’s,” he said.
Sandy Phillips said the opening also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the University Drive restaurant. The busiest McDonald’s in Denton, as it was before its closing, will resume its 24-hour schedule with 60 employees.
Williamson said he and his friends will meet again at 8 a.m. and look forward to seeing the new design.
They also want to catch up with Donna Fisher, the store’s manager.
“We are anxious to see how it looks and how it operates,” Williamson said. “We have friends that are working there; they are our friends, too.”
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .