After a four-month closure that included converting its gas service to electricity, McDonald's on North Main Street finally reopened last week and nobody is more thrilled than owner Carissa Haley.
"Not a great time for a renovation, I know, but who knew what was going to happen?" Haley said. "I'm just feeling blessed because so many others are still suffering."
Andover's only fast food restaurant with a drive up window - made famous by native son Jay Leno who worked there as a teen - closed Aug. 6 for a company-ordered seven-week renovation and was scheduled to reopen on Sept. 26, Haley said.
But, when the gas crisis hit on Sept. 13, McDonald's was like many of its Shawsheen neighborhood residents and businesses - its lights were out, there was no heat and fryolators had no power. McDonald's used gas to operate so its shutdown lasted another 10 weeks. The popular fast food restaurant officially re-opened Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m., fully converted to electricity, Haley said.
"I am thrilled to be open and all that happened is in the past. We're focused on what's ahead and plan to celebrate our re-opening with lots of events for kids, like face painting and a visit from Santa. That's what we are now focused on," she said.
Every one of her employees has returned to their job in Andover after working at other McDonald's during the unexpected four-month closure. Employees worked at two other McDonald's owned by Haley in Amesbury and Newburyport.
McDonald’s announced on Aug. 14 that the company and its franchisees were modernizing 140 restaurants in the state, including Andover's restaurant. The local makeover was part of a $6 billion plan to overhaul 8,700 McDonald's restaurants across the United States and Canada.
The last dining room renovation was done in 2003 in Andover. In addition to dining room improvements, restaurants now have digital self-order kiosks that make ordering and paying for a meal easier; remodeled counters, new table service that offers guests a chance to relax while their food is being made, new digital menu boards inside and at the drive-thru and larger display cases.