Somewhere in Tehran, Iran, there’s a fast food restaurant that looks incredibly familiar. It has the red and yellow seating, golden arches, and the familiar visage of Ronald McDonald. But this place is not McDonald’s: it’s an Iranian knock-off called Mash Donald’s. McDonald’s has not yet opened franchises in Iran, although according to a statement on its website, “there may be plans to do so in the future.”
“We are trying to get as close as we can get to the McDonald’s experience,” the owner, Hassan, told The New York Times. He withheld his last name out of fear of American lawyers. “If I had called my restaurant McDonald’s, I’d get a visit from the hard-liners.”
According to The New York Times, counterfeit fast food franchises are common in this section of Iran, where most western fast food chains have not yet made an appearance, or do not have plans to do so in the future.
The menu is somewhat different than Western McDonald’s menus, with offerings like a foot-long sandwich, falafel sandwiches, and a baguette burger: Mash Donald’s version of the Big Mac.
Interestingly enough, Hassan’s dream is to become a McDonald’s franchise owner, but he doubts that will happen anytime soon, because of political tensions.
Mash Donald’s does look remarkably similar to its worldwide fast food phenomenon counterpart, but despite the knock-off being featured in a New York Times story, there has been no word yet on whether McDonald’s will pursue a legal case. The Daily Meal has contacted McDonald’s for more information.