By Steve Cichon
When New York State’s first McDonald’s opened on Niagara Falls Boulevard just north of Maple Road in 1959, that part of Maple Road wasn’t even built yet. It was mostly open farm land.
That part of Amherst and Tonawanda quickly developed around the McDonald’s Drive-In, with the completion of the Boulevard Mall — Western New York’s first covered shopping mall — in 1962, the area has been in a constant state of development ever since.
McDonald’s was a hit the moment Jerry Brownrout opened the franchise in 1959.
Over the first few months in business, the self-service drive-in was frying up 70,000 hamburgers, 30,000 bags of fries, and blending 20,000 shakes a month, and McDonald’s was well on its way to becoming a local and international phenomenon. The location was selling more 15 cent hamburgers than any other in the country.
Over the first five years, 250 tons of hamburger was cooked in that Niagara Falls Boulevard location — enough for five million hamburgers. By 1964, there were nine McDonald’s locations in the Buffalo area.