Memories fade with time, but there is a slogan that remains as fresh as the aroma you can still find at McDonald’s in Hillsboro and Greenfield: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.”
The well-known phrase references the fast food chain’s signature burger, the Big Mac, which celebrates 50 years in 2018.
Hillsboro McDonald’s Manager Kayla Brate said the burger endures because it’s so good.
“What’s not to like? It’s as American as apple pie,” she said, busy with customer orders Thursday afternoon.
In fact, when McDonald’s rolled out the Big Mac, it did so with a special introductory offer: Every Big Mac purchased came with something revolutionary for the time — free hot apple pie.
“And you can get that here, too,” Brate added.
The Big Mac has its roots in Pittsburgh, where franchisee Jim Delligatti crafted the sandwich in 1967, according to the Associated Press. The Big Mac hit the chain’s national menu the following year.
When McDonald’s officially launched its Big Mac, the sandwich cost all of 49 cents — that’s around $5 in today’s economy, accounting for inflation.
Hillsboro didn’t get a McDonald’s franchise until 1976, Brate said. Today, the restaurant is often surrounded by a ring of cars in the drive thru and parking spots are at a premium.
“The Big Mac and Quarter Pounder are the two most popular,” Brate said, “but with the improved menu, we’re more than just burgers and fries.”
For a limited time, Brate said, customers will receive a commemorative gold coin with every Big Mac purchase, which in turn can be redeemed for a free Big Mac.
Tricia Lewis of Lynchburg, one of the clerks at the Hillsboro restaurant, said there are five coin designs celebrating five different decades.
Marvin Johnson, a shift manager at the Greenfield McDonald’s, told The Times-Gazette that the celebration is chain wide.
“We’ve got the Mac Coin as well,” Johnson said, “and people can get them when they buy a Big Mac as long as the supply of coins lasts.”
Lewis said the coins are redeemable worldwide — or at least in the 50 countries where McDonald’s restaurants can be found.
The Big Mac is known the world over, to be sure, but there are several chain restaurants in Hillsboro that have their own variations of iconic eats.
Frisch’s Big Boy predates the Big Mac by 22 years, but to its credit, the Big Mac paved the way for Burger Chef’s Big Shef, Wendy’s Single and Burger King’s Whopper, even though Arby’s encouraged customers to “break the hamburger habit” in the mid-1970s.
Fifty years ago, it was McDonald’s Big Mac that became part of the culture, and today it has emerged as a worldwide American icon.
Tim Colliver can be reached at 937-402-2571.