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WATCH: The Oldest McDonald’s in the Country Serves Up Fried Apple Pie and Fifties Charm

There are over 34,000 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the world, but none can compare to the one in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California. The Downey restaurant is an original: it dates back to 1953 and it’s the oldest operating McDonald’s location in the world.

WATCH: The Oldest McDonald’s in the Country Serves Up Fried Apple Pie and Fifties Charm

The original McDonald’s (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

The restaurant hasn’t lost its charm — many of the period details have been preserved, including the McDonald’s arch. The restaurant has a simple menu and no indoor seating, but you can definitely get a burger and fries, and while you’re at it, an apple pie. The pies here are unique because they’re still deep-fried, the way McDonald’s used to make them. (Too far away to grab a fried pie at the Downey McDonald’s? Try this recipe to make one at home.

Owner Ron Piazza says the pies are kind of a signature dish for this restaurant, and that people will sometimes buy six at a time. For Piazza, it’s all a throwback to his youth. He started working at McDonald’s as a teenager back in 1967 when he made a dollar an hour. Today, he owns several McDonald’s restaurants, but none of them as unique and special as the one in Downey.

The oldest operating McDonalds in the world, Downey, CA

A shot of a vintage poster inside the restaurant (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

“Really, everything’s changed outside of this McDonald’s,” he says. “This is really a little place in history that stayed as close to original as possible.”

What: The oldest operating McDonald’s in the world in Downey, California.

Why Go: For the nostalgic fifties charm, a chance to see Speedy, and a fried apple pie.

Where: 10207 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, Calif.

Fun Fact: Ronald McDonald was NOT McDonald’s original mascot. The first mascot was a chef named Speedy, and you can see him at the top of the arch at the Downey restaurant.

The oldest operating McDonalds in the world, Downey, CA

The original McDonald's mascot (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

If you’re really craving a burger after reading about McDonald’s, check out my recent visit to Franklin & Company Tavern in Los Angeles for a burger that’s served in a drink.

"Photo Tripping" is a video series from Yahoo Travel, hosted by renowned celebrity photographer Melanie Dunea (author of My Last Supper). Melanie takes us on a photographic journey with her as she visits America’s top cities, exploring off-the-beaten-path spots to experience the best tastes, sounds, and sights the city has to offer. Going on recommendations of her friends — chefs, celebrities and tastemakers, a couple of whom even come along for the ride — we uncover some truly special places, seen through the lens of a photographer.

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