For a chain that prides itself on conformity, McDonald’s boasts some rebels among its franchises, Lin-Sommer writes. Thanks to local design restrictions, historic preservationists, and human whimsy, the world has left its mark on the Golden Arches.
In Taupo, New Zealand, kids eat Happy Meals inside a red-and-silver 20-seater airplane from 1943. At the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, bow-tied staff serve nuggets under chandeliers while music emanates from an unmanned baby grand piano.
Sometimes, the chain’s deep fryers sit atop historical artifacts, such as a chunk of a Roman wall dating to the 4th century BCE or the site of a safe house on the Underground Railroad.