At McDonald’s Corp. it’s often said of long-time executives that they have ketchup in their veins. So it’s not surprising that Ed Rensi is returning to flipping burgers 13 years after stepping down as president-CEO of McDonald’s USA.
Rensi and Tom Dentice, who was an executive vice president at McDonald’s when he, too, chose to step away from Big Mac in 1997, will again have their names on the door when they open Tom & Eddie’s, an upscale burger joint (planned as a multi-location concept eventually). Expected to open in August, the restaurant is located at the Yorktown retail center in Lombard, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago just a few miles from McDonald’s Oak Brook corporate offices.
Rensi’s burger résumé is a long one that begins with him working the grill at a Columbus, Ohio, McDonald’s in 1963. He worked his way to the top, and his five-year-plus tenure as head of McDonald’s domestic operations included the 1996 introduction of the Arch Deluxe. A “fancy” burger that was labeled then as a failure looks more like an ahead-of-its-time idea now. “The burger with the grown-up taste” was served on a bakery-style bun and counted hickory-smoked bacon among its toppings. It bombed—consumers weren’t ready to pay its higher menu price—but it paved the way for the premium burgers such as the Angus Third Pounders that have helped McDonald’s weather the past few years’ slowdown.
It’s only fitting, then, that the menu Rensi and Dentice have been honing for the past several months (including tests at College of DuPage) features a variety of Angus burgers, judging by information and photos posted on Tom & Eddie’s Facebook page.
Customers will be able to build their own customized burger or choose from one of several signature burgers. These include:
● The Sweet & Sassy: An Angus choice chuck patty with house-made spicy mayonnaise, melted Wisconsin pepper-Jack cheese and Peppadew peppers;
● The Tried & True: Angus choice chuck with sharp Cheddar cheese, yellow mustard, organic ketchup, sliced red onion, pickles, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato;
● The Blue Chip: Angus choice chuck with avocado slices, house-made roasted-garlic aioli, tomato and crumbled blue cheese topped with house-made potato chips;
● The Ampersand: Angus choice chuck, applewood-smoked bacon, Wisconsin smoked Gouda, barbecue sauce and house-made haystack onions topped with a fried egg.
Also on the menu are a house-made edamame burger and turkey burger. House-specialty sweet potato fries are seasoned with sea salt. A Fruit & Nut Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad also are menued.