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Officials serve it up
City leaders work at McDonalds Monday for grand reopening
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Mayor Ronnie Johnston cooked burgers and Police Chief Stacey Cotton handled the fries, while council members Chris Smith and Hawnethia Williams took orders and police Lt. Wendell Wagstaff took care of the drive-thru.

Covington council members and police officers worked at the newly reopened Covington McDonald's Monday evening, as part of the store's groundbreaking ceremony.

"Watch out for Almond (Turner), he eats two (burgers) for every one he makes," Cotton yelled out, eliciting laughs from the crew.

Councilwomen Janet Goodman and Ocie Franklin also helped take and fill orders.

The idea for the unique grand reopening came from owner Lynn Vineyard Miller, who wanted to do something different.

She and father Bruce Vineyard, who jointly own 11 McDonald's, had a VIP party at a Conyers location, but wanted to do something different this time.

"We wanted to let (the officials) be involved. Have them see customers and have customers see them," Lynn said. "A lot of them were here when we first opened (the store in 1975). It's for them and for the customers."

Wagstaff, who greeted surprised customers in the drive-thru lane, has been providing security for the fast-food restaurant for 21 years, Lynn said.

It was the first time most of the officials had ever worked in fast food.

Bruce said McDonald's are typically rebuilt every 25 to 40 years.

"This one was tired," he said.

Although business had been down before the new construction, Bruce said he hoped the new construction would boost business.

To honor local officials' efforts, they were given McDonald's gift cards and the restaurant made a $500 donation to Newton READS, a local literacy nonprofit.