McDowell's From 'Coming to America' Has Finally Come to Life

Now you too can dine at the 'Golden Arcs' and try the Big Mick for yourself
Fat Sal's in Hollywood has been transformed into McDowell's from the classic 1988 film, "Coming to America"

Left: Reuben Mourad @reubenmourad; Right: Photo: Bruce McBroom; Paramount Pictures

Fat Sal's in Hollywood has been transformed into McDowell's from the classic 1988 film, "Coming to America."

In Los Angeles, it’s not just the celebrities that get dressed up for Halloween. Iconic Hollywood sandwich shop Fat Sal’s has gone all out in a wickedly awesome holiday transformation that will have cult movie fans chomping at the bit. McDowell’s has taken over Fat Sal’s (for the week of Halloween), bringing the nostalgia of Eddie Murphy’s 1988 hit Coming to America to Hollywood.

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The restaurant has literally undergone a massive overnight makeover, with epic signage, colorful rebranding, and even new plaid uniforms for its staff. For those who remember the classic film, McDowell’s was the Queens restaurant that was in no way inspired by a slightly larger, more established franchise. For a few days, you too can visit the "Golden Arcs" of McDowell’s in Los Angeles, and relive the glorious moments of this yesteryear fast food joint.

The staff at McDowell's serving up a new Fat Sal's menu

Reuben Mourad @reubenmourad

The staff at McDowell's serving up a new Fat Sal's menu

“We were thinking about doing something for Halloween, and were trying to figure out what could be fun and exciting and also interact with our food, so we came up with the idea of dressing up the actual restaurant” Josh Stone, the owner of Fat Sal’s, told us. “We wanted to figure out what Fat Sal’s could be, and then the McDowell’s idea came up, from the movie Coming To America. We all loved the movie, we’re huge fans of it, and there was a food play on it too, that was exciting. We came up with the idea of putting different signs on, really dressing the restaurant up, and really making it a different restaurant for a short period of time.” The Instagrammable options are endless, with McDowell’s proud employee of the month, Achim, framed up on the wall, and the movie’s soundtrack playing across the speakers, and you’ll no doubt spend many moments during your meal quoting memorable lines from the film, before heading to the My-T-Sharp barber shop next door.

The Big Mick from McDowell's

Reuben Mourad @reubenmourad

The Big Mick from McDowell's

The transformation included a menu revamp too, with the Big Mick, featuring two all-beef hamburger patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions (but no sesame seed bun, as Fat Sal’s heroes have no seeds). And, in true Fat Sal’s style, they’ve got french fries on them too. For a side, the Zamunda Fries are a deliciously gluttonous serving of french fries bathed in cheddar and mozzarella cheese, mixed with blackened chicken and sautéed onions, topped with roasted peppers and habanero aioli. 

The Sexual Chocolate Shake lives up to its passionate expectations, with a lustful serving of chocolate ice cream, blended sensually together in a thick milkshake with chocolate syrup, shaved chocolate, and cherries, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, oh, and a considerately portioned slice of rich chocolate cake on top as a little garnish. It’s a very generous lover of a shake, following the Fat Sal’s definition of “serving size.” One disclaimer though: you’ll spend more than a few minutes trying to work out how to actually drink / eat the sweet feat of engineering.

The Sexual Chocolate Shake

Reuben Mourad @reubemourad

The Sexual Chocolate Shake

The response to the Halloween stunt has been resoundingly positive , with fans of both the 1988 film and Fat Sal’s eccentric sandwiches standing in lines flowing out their doors. “People get really excited about it,” laughed Stone. “There are so many fans of the movie. Fat Sal’s is a great restaurant, but when we changed it to McDowell’s there was a whole different energy, and people really love that movie so we wanted to pay homage to it. LA is a big Halloween city. They start celebrating a month early, and they go a month later. So when we decided as a restaurant to celebrate Halloween, in just any way, shape or form, people just appreciated it. They love that we’re just having fun for Halloween.”

McDowell’s is only open for a few days (until Halloween). And when asked about future Fat Sal’s reinventions, Stone was tight lipped. “I’m not gonna show our cards yet, but we’ve been discussing a few other different pop ups. You’re going to see some fun stuff and creative things come out of us soon.” Until then, for this week at least, you’ve got the opportunity to drop in to McDowell’s, grab a Big Mick, and let your soul glow. We just wish they'd bring these TV restaurants to life, too!

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