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Editorial: Village goes global; Ellsworth has 'arrived'

Holy cow! A new McDonald's slated to appear in Ellsworth's Midway area!

After several years of rumors and second-hand confirmations, the matter became official last week when village trustees affirmed a plan commission recommendation to approve a permit for the new restaurant and attached retail space.

As with most other distinctly American products and institutions, we've all got an opinion about McDonald's.

Foremost, new business that broadens the local tax base and puts people to work -- even in the relatively unskilled service sector of the economy -- is good news. Hundreds of communities would love to welcome a new branch of what's arguably the most iconic brand in the world. Millions of teenagers across the nation gained their first work experience at McDonald's and thousands have built careers around the Golden Arches.

Now if you're a true foodie, you might complain that McDonald's lacks local color and regional flavor. Chances are that offerings at the Midway restaurant will look pretty similar to those at Mac's franchises in Baldwin, River Falls, Hastings, Red Wing or Hudson. And so what? If you don't like the McDouble or McChicken sandwich with side salad, drive on past.

Others are chattering that our children will opt for a Big Mac and fries over the new 850-calorie offerings from the Ellsworth High School kitchen. Or perhaps they will choose the Big Mac in addition to that lean cuisine our school district has been mandated to serve up.

Baloney. Kids today receive more personal health and nutritional education than ever. And McDonald's recently launched a signage program that lists calories for each item on its inside and drive-up menus. Customers have the opportunity to exercise personal choice.

Meanwhile, there will remain many other eatery choices in the community. Subway, Dairy Queen, King House, Pizza Man, Pop's Malt Shop, Nilssen's deli, Hwy. 63 Diner, Cubby's Hollywood Video and the hot and cold entrees offered at four convenience stores won't go away. Or stop by the Ellsworth Creamery for a bag of fresh, squeaky curds.

For many of us, the quality, efficiency, consistency and economy of McDonald's will be a welcome addition to Ellsworth and Pierce County.

If you're not one of those, just drive on by.