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McDonald's Will No Longer Be Available Along This Major East Coast Highway as Several Locations Shutter

You're going to have to find a new pit stop for fast food on the road.

McDonald's is a mainstay across countless highways and parkways the worldover. Wherever your journey takes you, there are good odds an inviting pair of neon Golden Arches are waiting just a few miles further down the road.

Plenty of drivers have come to expect McDonald's familiar menu waiting at rest stops and service areas all over the U.S., but if you're planning on taking a trip to Albany or a drive to Rochester, be prepared to go without any Mickey D's for the trip up.

As of January 1, the last 11 McDonald's restaurants operating within service plazas along the New York State Thruway have shut their doors. More specifically, McDonald's contract with the Thruway Authority to operate restaurants at the Angola, DeWitt, Guilderland, Mohawk, Ontario, Port Byron, Schuyler and Warners service plazas on I-90 and Malden, Modena, and Ramapo plazas on I-87 expired on Saturday.

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While the closures were officially announced just before Christmas, along with plans to completely shut down two rest stops (Ramapo and Warners) for reconstruction, this service area shake-up all along the Thruway has been in the cards for some time. In 2020, a $450 million contract was awarded to Empire State Thruway Partners (ESTP) to renovate and operate all 27 service plazas along the NY Thruway for the next three decades. ESTP was created by Applegreen, a company based out of Dublin, Ireland.

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ESTP appears to be taking an "out with the old, in with the new" approach to their NY Thruway expansion, having already renovated three service areas (Indian Castle, Chittenango, and Junius Ponds). The freshly reopened plazas feature new restaurants like Shake Shack, Chick-fil-A, and Popeyes. Certain rest areas also plan to eventually offer Panda Express or Panera Bread dining options.

Of course, Rome (or a rest stop, in this case) wasn't built in a day. In the meantime, travelers may be somewhat frustrated by the lack of dining options available up and down the Thruway. Now that Mickey D's is officially gone, five service plazas (DeWitt, Guilderland, Mohawk, Port Byron, and Schuyler) are entering the new year with zero restaurants.

Per the Thruway Authority, shuttered McDonald's locations will be replaced with open 24/7 "temporary dining options including Applegreen convenience stores offering an assortment of hot food items as well as grab-and-go sandwiches and wraps, salads, coffee, snacks, drinks and more."

The four other operational service plazas losing their McDonald's locations (Angola, Malden, Modena and Ontario) at least have a few additional restaurants for drivers to fall back on, like Burger King, Subway, or Sbarro.

John Anderer
John Anderer is a writer who specializes in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Read more about John