Brooklyn McDonald's time travels to 1982 with Marvel's 'Loki'

ByAmit Lerner, Rolando Pujol, Chi Tran, Brittany Winderman and Michael Tamsuriyamit Localish logo
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Brooklyn McDonald's time travels to 1982 with Marvel's 'Loki'
Stepping inside this McDonald's is like time traveling to 1982!

BENSONHURST, BROOKLYN -- You'll "Marvel" at this retro dining room.

Visitors to the McDonald's at 6620 Bay Parkway in Brooklyn will get a well-deserved break today through Friday, Sept. 1, stepping into a McDonald's straight out of 1982.

The immersive throwback experience is a collaboration between McDonald's and Marvel Studios ahead of the second season of "Loki," streaming Oct. 6 on Disney+.

The character of Sylvie travels to 1982, and ends up working at a McDonald's.

"Where would Sylvie want to eat in the early 1980s? Light bulb went off -- McDonald's," Mike Bullington, the archivist and historian for McDonald's, told ABC's Localish.

The restaurant in Brooklyn draws on design elements common at McDonald's restaurants decades ago.

In a nod to "Loki," the restaurant's front door has been transformed into the Time Variance Authority (TVA) timedoor, after which you step into the 1982 McDonald's.

Every corner of the dining room has old-school touches that will amuse those of us who experienced 1982 -- and give those born later in "the timeline" a taste of what they missed.

Those classic touches include yellow booth seating, faux-Tiffany chandeliers in floral earth tones, a dramatic skylight, ferns, old posters, and wallpaper featuring classic McDonaldland characters like Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Birdie and the Hamburger Patch.

The counter features retro back-lit ads for Chicken McNuggets (back then a novelty) and the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Even the digital menu has been modified to mimic the ones used in the 1980s.

The digital self-order kiosks -- which were decades away from existing in 1982 -- are lassoed into the past, encased in a wall with the "You Deserve a Break Today" slogan emblazoned above them, surrounded by retro wallpaper.

Subtle touches that won't be lost on McDonald's connoisseurs include railing that reflects the kind used at restaurants back in the day. Small signs remind customers not to "loiter," complete with the McDonald's sun logo from a 1977 breakfast campaign.

For fans of McDonald's and Loki, a glassed-in display cabinet features props used during Season 2, including Sylvie's uniform, her nametag and other props.

McDonald's is also offering "As Featured In Meals" tied to the second season release. Diners can scan an AR feature on Loki-branded Sweet N Sour Sauce lid on Snapchat, which will generate new animated videos. The meals will come with 1982 prices at the Bay Parkway location for the duration of the takeover.

The McDonald's shown in "Loki" is actually a former restaurant building in England that never housed Golden Arches. The fast-food giant worked with Marvel to ensure they got the details right, inside and out.

"Being the archivist, I worked with the Marvel Studios team to recreate a McDonald's restaurant to be as authentic as it could be from that time period," Bullington said.

Bullington raided the company's archives, examining exterior and interior photos, old packaging, patches from old uniforms and more to help Marvel's magic extend to the depiction of a period McDonald's.

"We actually sent six pieces of (restaurant) equipment overseas, to England, to make sure that the back counter looked exactly as it was in the restaurants -- cash registers, the straw dispensers," Bullington said.

Bullington suggested the building needed a drive-thru window, by 1982 a feature at many McDonald's restaurants. (The first McDonald's drive-thru was introduced in 1975.)

"When I saw Sylvie for the promo, I said, "Oh my gosh, I'm back in time," the historian said.

Bullington said McDonald's nostalgic appeal endures "just like our brand endures. This is (the era) when people started coming to our brand. So it's a sense of home, a sense of family."

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Marvel Studios, ABC Localish and this station.