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Candlelit Dinner At McDonald’s: A Retrospective

by: Doug Leeson and Megan Fleming

We’ve outlined the best and worst places to take your significant other on a date. And since it’s too cold for the Arboretum, two of our editors settled on the obvious next best option for Valentine’s Day: a candlelit dinner at McDonald’s. Here are their takeaways from the most romantic evening possible.

Doug Leeson

Whatever you’re picturing in your mind right now is exactly how it was. I saw a flyer in McDonald’s a few weeks ago and thought it was the perfect idea for Valentine’s Day.

I joked about getting specialty items from the menu (specifically, a steak and red wine), but I knew what I really would get — a Royale with Cheese and a shake.

So I ordered our food and waited for it to be prepared. I brought it back to our table, which was lovingly covered in a tablecloth and equipped with a fancy electric candle. I put our food down and stared ahead at the only thing I wanted to see — the most lovely thing in my life and the reason I got out of bed.

But enough about my Shamrock Shake.

McDonald’s put together a really cool promotion and there were a decent number of people there at 4:50 (when we were there because we’re 70-year-olds trapped in sophomores’ bodies). There were hourly giveaways and free cake — I didn’t win the former, but I felt like a real winner when the latter came around.

crumbs at mcdonalds and free cake
The crumbs on the table were there before we got there. I left them because I felt they added to the restaurant’s charisma.

The cake was actually really good. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Megan Fleming

A handsome guy across the table, a Diet Coke, and free cake is my recipe for a perfect date. If you told me I’d find that at McDonald’s this year, I’d have laughed at you. My fellow editor and boyfriend, Doug Leeson, suggested we spend our first Valentine’s together at McDonald’s, which I promptly laughed at. He further explained we should go and write about it, and he went on and on about how fun it would be and so on and so forth.

And so at 4:50 p.m. on February 14, we found ourselves at McDonald’s.

doug leeson boing
This is the face of someone who blamed the website he writes for as the reason he wanted to eat a quarter pounder on Valentines’s Day.

Standing in line with lipstick on next to Doug in a tie next to people in sweatpants and pajamas is the most overdressed I’ve ever felt. My self-consciousness was quickly quelled when I saw the (real!) rose and candle on the table. Don’t let the picture above fool you, the tablecloth felt like a paper towel. The lights were dimmed and if you ignored the mylar balloons everywhere, the ambiance rivaled our favorite date spots.

I ordered a grilled chicken wrap meal, which they forgot to make a meal so we had to wait in line again to order the french fries and drink. Mix up aside, I swear something about the love-themed playlist made the food actually taste better.

What was more surprising than the decent tasting food is the fact we weren’t the only couple there. We were one of half a dozen, alongside hoards of people who just came from Lion Tutors with their green packets in tow.

It was an unforgettable first Valentine’s Day to say the least. Doug is under the impression this is going to become an annual thing. If that’s the case, I’ll be looking for another Valentine next year.

How did you spend Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments. 

About the Author


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