The reopened McDonald’s restaurant at 2nd Street and Colorado Avenue is the first McDonald’s on the Westside to offer a gourmet coffee bar (mocha, latte, cappuccino) – the wave of the future for the fast food chain, according to co-owner Anthony Lardas. “There will be more coffee bars in McDonald’s over the next few years,” he says.
The franchise at 2nd and Colorado is owned by the Lardas family, which also has the franchise on the Third Street Promenade and three others outside Santa Monica. This location opened in 1980 as a typical stand-alone McDonald’s location with its own parking lot, but that structure was demolished for the new mixed-use multi-story building in which the franchise now occupies ground floor space.
The reopened restaurant employs a staff of approximately 40, said Lardas, but he expects that figure to grow to 50 to 60 come summertime.
Nicholas Lardas, Anthony’s father who has operated franchises since the 1970s, says, “We wanted this McDonald’s to be different from all the others and designed it so that it would look more like a downtown, big-city restaurant and not your typical fast-food establishment.” And it does. Including the parking arrangements. Just out the “back door” of the restaurant there are 30 parking spaces on the ground floor of the building’s parking garage dedicated to McDonald’s customers, with another 11 dedicated spaces one level down. McDonald’s validates for any of the building’s 300 spaces.
The coffee bar features espresso roast coffee as well as the premium roast that other McDonald’s franchises serve. Shortly before the restaurant opened to the public, the staff was serving employees’ families in a “practice run,” and someone had posted a “McBaristas” sign behind the mocha/latte/cappuccino station. “McDonald’s wants to serve the beverages that the public want,” said Anthony Lardas. And the newly opened Santa Monica franchise is doing just that.