A longtime McDonald’s restaurant in southeast Topeka is demolished

Bob Charay has many memories of the McDonald’s restaurant in southeast Topeka, where he worked for 32 years.

Still, Charay is pretty happy the building is being replaced.

“It’s time,” Charay said Monday as he watched it be torn down. “I think I’m ready for a new home.”

Charay was among various employees who watched Monday morning as demolition work began on McDonald’s at 2880 SE California Ave., where Charay serves as the store’s senior manager.

This restaurant was built in 1984.

It has been owned for seven and a half years by Lawrence-based Dobski & Associates, which is owned and operated by Tom and Marilyn Dobski. Their two sons, Michael and Kevin, are also involved in the business.

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A new McDonald’s restaurant at the same location is set to open on September 6, Tom Dobski’s birthday, he said.

“A little bigger and much more efficient”

A crowd gathers in the passageways of the McDonald's restaurant to watch the crews demolish this building.

The Dobskis had hoped to replace the restaurant last summer, but COVID-19 and supply chain issues prevented that, Tom Dobski said.

The new building will feature a much improved drive-thru, dual kitchens and a nice set of seating and decor, he said.

It will be “a little bigger and a lot more efficient” than the McDonald’s it replaces, with the improved efficiency coming from new technology, said Tom Dobski.

The new restaurant will be “flipped” from the one being replaced, in that it will face east, he said. The building being demolished faces west.

After:A parked car is damaged after the wall of the Topeka building was pushed into the street during demolition

The tall golden arches that stand nearby at the northeast corner of 29th SE and California Avenue will remain, although they are “repaired and cleaned up,” Tom Dobski said.

Dobskis has owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants since 1981

The golden arches of the McDonald's restaurant cast shadows across the street as the building is demolished on Monday.

Employees who work at the replaced McDonald’s work at other McDonald’s restaurants in Topeka, although they are expected to “all go home” when the new restaurant opens Sept. 6, Tom Dobski said.

He said he and his wife have owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants since their first franchise opened on November 1, 1981 in Leavenworth.

Dobski & Associates now owns nine McDonald’s restaurants in Topeka and 10 elsewhere in northeast Kansas.

Signage for McDonald's breakfast items is still visible as crews tear down the building.

The company in 2018 replaced its restaurant at 5525 SW 21st and in 2019 replaced its restaurant at 3117 SW Topeka Blvd.

The new McDonald’s building on SE California Avenue will look a bit like the new McDonald’s on SW Topeka Boulevard, said Tom Dobski.

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.

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