‘Coming to America’ McDowell’s Opening NJ Pop-Up

Photo by Bob Vosseller

  CHERRY HILL – Have you ever had a Big Mick at McDowell’s? McDowell’s is “The Home of the Big Mick!” but chances are, you never went to that “Golden Arches” because it only existed in two feature films. Until now that is.

  The fictional franchise was part of the 1988 romantic comedy “Coming to America” starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones and it is featured again in the recently released sequel “Coming 2 America.”

  Complete with plaid décor and a nod to all things Scottish, McDowell’s was owned by Cleo McDowell played by actor John Amos and one of his workers was Maurice, played by comic Louie Anderson.

  The parody of an actual famous franchise that currently boasts they are the home of the most “stolen fries” has been brought to life by JMC Pop Ups who provide special events in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area with such attractions as “Galaxy Burger and Beyond.”

  The company’s chief executive officer Joe McCullough decided that McDowell’s had to exist in the real world, at least for close to two weeks so McDowell’s will pop up and open from April 16 to April 26 at the Cherry Hill Mall.

Photo by Bob Vosseller

  It was decorated to serve as a replica of the McDonald’s knockoff from “Coming to America” and its sequel, “Coming 2 America” released last month. The original film features Murphy playing an African prince who falls in love with Cleo McDowell’s daughter Lisa. Murphy and Hall play other comical characters in various scenes in the movie.

   Along with the Big Mick you can order the Louie Anderson grilled chicken sandwich. One of the dessert items is the Randy Watson Sexual Chocolate Cake Shake that includes chocolate cake in the shake along with a whipped cream topping and cherry. The dessert delight was inspired by the character Randy Watson who was also played by Murphy. Watson is a soul singer with the fictional band Sexual Chocolate.

  McCullough said, “our primary pop up is a sci fi version of a dine in restaurant experience in malls where you go there, get food and go through multiple locations and there are large props and photo ops. Honestly, I’m a big fan of the movie and I used to work for McDonald’s a long time ago and this is a parody of that and we put up a Facebook page saying McDowell’s coming soon just to see what people said and people kind of went crazy.”

  “That was the launch of it and how it came about. This is a closed down California Pizza Kitchen at the Cherry Hill Mall and we’re doing some photo op stuff and a small conversion of parts of the restaurant to remines and kind of give you that feel of McDowell’s but it isn’t a full conversion,” McCullough added.

  A full conversion would “be impossible. Where is the value and longevity but were doing some signage and props and making it a good experience where people can go after ordering food like the Big Mick and have some fun with it. People come to take pictures of just the signs in the windows when we were setting up and take some selfies.”

Photo by Bob Vosseller

  McCullough said he enjoyed the recent sequel to the classic film. “I watched it the night it came out. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is such a cult following that you’ll always have some people disappointed when you follow up something that survived with that kind of large following with fans of 30 years.”

  “I would have preferred there be more of McDowell’s in it but it is there and that is the important thing. Right now, this is only intended to be in Cherry Hill,” McCullough added.

  “The Big Mick is the original reference in the movie but we actually have the Magnum Mick to which is a larger version on a longer roll and a king of play on a Philadelphia cheesesteak. It has eight pieces of cheese, lettuce, pickles and special sauce. It is a beefed-up version if you will,” McCullough added with a laugh.

Photo courtesy 6ABC

  “The Randy Watson sexual chocolate cake shake comes in a souvenir glass. It has a full piece of cake on top. It sounds like a meal unto itself,” McCullough said. “We wanted to have a fun menu and provide a fun thing for people to come out and do.”

  He said that the Galaxy Burger and Beyond themed pop up will be going away for the summer but returning in the fall and in Pennsylvania “where we started it. Then we’ll start to spread out from there. We are from Delaware County and that is where we launched it. We’re trying to expand a little bit.”

  McCullough stressed that the McDowell’s pop up is a socially distanced event to accommodate guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic “so we create a safe environment.”

  McCullough said, “we’re always looking for very unique fun and we are always open to new ideas as to what might be a unique pop up.”

  Tickets and times are limited. Tickets will not be available at the door. For ticket information and other information visit mcdowellspopup.com