Pennsylvania’s Big Mac Museum Restaurant is a whopper

It started out as a culinary idea and turned into a global icon.

The Big Mac, arguably McDonald’s most famous sandwich, was first served by its founder Jim Delligatti 40 years ago.

To mark that lucrative feat, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant has opened in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, just 40 miles north of where the first double burger, triple bun sandwich was served in Uniontown for 45 cents.

The museum has it all: the world’s largest Big Mac -- 14 feet tall and 12 feet wide -- a bronze bust of Delligatti, a high-tech global Big Mac map and wallpaper peppered with the ad “two-all-beef-patties-special sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame seed-bun.”

It took Delligatti, now 89, two years to convince McDonald’s to allow him to serve up the sandwich. After the first day, he realized that two buns was too sloppy, so the middle bun was injected.

A year later, in 1968, the Big Mac was on McDonald’s menus nationwide. Today, 550 million Big Macs are sold annually in 100 different countries.

Delligatti, whose family owns 18 McDonald’s in western Pennsylvania, said he still eats an average of one Big Mac a week. And, contrary to those who blame fast food for contributing to the nation’s obesity problem, Delligatti -- who still works every day -- says it keeps him going strong.

North Huntingdon is about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.