Food & Wine
The owners of McDonald's Taupo are soaring on the news that their business has topped the list of the world's coolest top 10 McDonald's, sneaking in ahead of locations like Rome, Tokyo and New York.
Foodie website The Daily Meal said: ''Taupo, New Zealand, has the honour of being home to the only McDonald's location that includes a decommissioned DC3 plane as part of the store. There are seats inside the plane for your dining enjoyment, and you can view the cockpit as well! Maybe they hand out wings to first-time customers.''
Owner Eileen Byrne said it came as a complete shock.
''Competition looked pretty stiff, but clearly they were really impressed with the plane. There are close to 35,000 McDonald's in the world, so to think we've been noted not just in the Top 10 but number one is pretty cool,'' she said.
The plane, a Douglas DC3 aircraft, was built in 1943 and was one of three used by South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand from 1961 to 1966. In 1971 it was renamed Whio and used by Fieldair Holdings as a top-dressing plane, before being decommissioned in 1984.
In 1985, Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper bought the plane during a stopover in New Plymouth.
''I was wandering around, stretching my legs and I came across this plane,'' Mr Cooper said. ''I got talking to the owner who said he was going to refurbish it but it was going to cost too much, so he was going to sell it. I asked how much, and bought it for around $20,000.''
He said the original plan was to use it as his office at the Aeroplane Car Company but a representative from McDonald's , upon seeing the plane, asked if it could be installed at their intended site.
Mrs Byrne said children - and their dads - loved exploring the DC3, which still had its cockpit intact.
''We've had some really special moments over the years, like we had one man in his late eighties, Ray Misson, who was the last person to ever fly that plane when it was a top-dresser. It was quite a job to manoeuvre him into the seat but once we had him sitting there, it was a dream.''
Mrs Byrne said the plane was a popular subject for passing tourists too, with many stopping daily to take photos.
World Number two is a McDonald's based in a Georgian mansion in New Hyde Park, New York, and the third on the list is in Rome, a marble- and mosaic-filled de light.
Other striking restaurants included a UFO-shaped restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico, and one in Dallas, Texas, shaped like a giant Happy Meal, complete with a towering burger, drink and fries.
It is not the only top honour bestowed onto Taupo of late, with All Blacks superstar Dan Carter naming Taupo his favourite spot in New Zealand.
Rounding out the top 10 coolest McDonald's in the world are:
2. New Hyde Park, N.Y.
4. Dallas, Texas
5. Bray Town Hall, Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
6. Ulsan, South Korea
8. Roswell, New Mexico
10. New York City
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