The company began with a single cafeteria in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1950, founded by Charles O. McGaughey and George Laughner. MCL is an abbreviation of their two names. . Today, the chain operates locations in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. It is a privately-owned company, now exclusively owned by the McGaughey family.
Quickly becoming a local favorite, MCL garnered a reputation for providing excellent food in gracious surroundings, all at reasonable prices. In 2007, MCL Cafeterias changed their brand to "MCL Restaurant and Bakery," although no fundamental changes have been made in production. They are known for their made-from-scratch foods, featuring fresh, local produce when available.