Soundview McDonald’s reopens modernized restaurant at 1600 Bruckner

The grand re-opening of McDonald’s at 1600 Bruckner.
Photos by Jason Cohen

For some people McDonald’s is just fast food, but for Tony Rodriguez, it’s much more. Rodriguez owns 13 locations in the Bronx/Manhattan, creates jobs for people and gives back to the community.

One of his franchises, 1600 Bruckner Blvd. in Soundview, recently underwent a renovation. On April 23, a grand re-opening was held and Rodriguez was joined by Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, Councilmen Mark Gjonaj and Ruben Diaz, Community Board 9 District Manager William Rivera, Bronx Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Sorin and 43rd Precinct Commander Keiyon Ramsey.

Rodriguez praised his employees, many of which have been with him for several years.

“They are the ones that make it happen and I’m very proud of all of them,” he said.

The restaurant, which re-opened April 10, features modern decor and technology offering table service and self-order kiosks and a 24-hour drive-thru.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, there was an Earth Day celebration April 24 where Assemblyman Burgos and the local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts gave away 100 white spruce saplings to the first 100 customers and 50 Botanical Garden passes to the first 50 customers bringing in a canned food item.

Throughout the pandemic, Rodriguez was instrumental in securing many donations with Martin Brower Distributors for shelters and food distributions throughout the Bronx.

“I’m proud to be able to stand alongside this gentleman,” said Gjonaj, who is the chair of the small business committee. “Tony never forgot where he came from. As a child I would see commercials for McDonald’s, never once thinking that I could afford to McDonald’s. To me a Big Mac was something you dreamed of.”

In 1973, Rodriguez started as crew at a McDonald’s in Brooklyn. He went on to pursue a career in law enforcement with the NYPD. After several years, he returned to McDonald’s where he has been an owner and operator for more than three decades.

In fact, many employees have received their high school diploma through the McDonald’s Archways into Opportunity scholarship, a McDonald’s program that provides eligible people an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language.

Many of the attendees reflected on the impact Rodriguez and McDonald’s have had on the Bronx.

Captain Ramsey told Rodriguez this was “his favorite McDonalds’s because the other one didn’t hire him.” But all jokes aside, he reminisced how he took his wife there in 1998 on one of their first dates and his junior varsity basketball team often went there after games.

Burgos praised Rodriguez for what he does for the community.

“If you’re a teenager and you have three or four bucks in your pocket you come here and get a hot meal, but more importantly you live in the neighborhood and need a job you come here,” he explained. “I think this is what’s most important of what McDonalds’ does. I’m so happy to see it renovated.”

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