Monday, October 26, 2020

Outback Steakhouse

The front area used to have a lot more plants in the front.

Near the entrance to Target and the Manuel Drive stoplight (though a stoplight was not installed until around 2004) is an Outback Steakhouse, a chain restaurant that has been in College Station since its opening around 1993-1994, and one of the handful of local restaurants my family ate at growing up, probably because it was kid-friendly and had a children's menu (the "Joey Menu") complete with a coloring book and crayons.

The building has seen some minor modifications over the years. A new semi-enclosed area was built at some point, and the building was repainted from white to pale green before a significant re-do in 2017 when it was repainted tan and brick red (with the roof repainted black), removing "Steakhouse" from the lettering, as well as removing the palm trees in front of the building.

It also went through an interior update at some point, though the basics (black ceiling tiles, bar area in the center) still remain. I think it was this time when they actually added proper restroom signs (with braille) in addition to the novelty "Blokes" and "Sheilas" restrooms.

There was a time when Outback Steakhouse was one of the more popular restaurants in town, and in the mid-2000s, before the restaurants along University Drive East really took off but while the university was still growing, lines would sometimes stretch out the door, but that's been gone for a while now. The ongoing war on restaurants seems to have not yet claimed Outback Steakhouse as a victim...

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Clayton's Restaurant / Captain's Table

Captain's Table, the second restaurant here, was only open on weekends in October 1974. Bad sign? (Ad from The Eagle)

Clayton's Restaurant opened around 1957 at 2900 South Texas Avenue, and from copies seem to be a family restaurant not particularly specializing in anything based on this 1960s ad copy.

Clayton's had a big menu, but I doubt that most of it was all that good.

In the early 1970s, Clayton's closed and Captain's Table opened in April 1973 in its place, which was a more upscale restaurant with steak and seafood options (among others), including a full bar on the premises. Captain's Table featured a hexagon-shaped road sign that would survive for many years.

In mid-1977 Captain's Table abruptly closed, from still scheduling events in its banquet rooms in April 1977 to a "complete liquidation" of the property by June of 1977. In November 1977, it reopened as First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Bryan, setting a precedent for banks in the building from then to the modern day. While I can't find much on the interim years of the restaurant-turned-bank, by 2005 (nearly 30 years after it had stopped serving food), the bank was now State Bank, which was acquired and rebranded as Prosperity Bank in 2006 with other branches in the area.

If I recall, when I first started driving in the area around late 2010 (going to Blinn, of course), Prosperity Bank had closed its location here in favor of a nearby location, and The First Bank & Trust began renovations on it, altering and modernizing the facade (mostly adding a new overhang) and getting rid of the distinctive hexagon-shaped sign in favor of a traditional rectangle one.

In late 2019, The Bank & Trust was acquired by First Financial Bank, causing it to be rebranded to the First Financial Bank name. As of this writing, however, Google Maps Street View still has the default view as its First Bank & Trust iteration.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Holiday Inn Bryan

Before its ill-fated life as apartments, the Holiday Inn became an independent motel.

While we have discussed the College Station Holiday Inn in the past (and recently updated it with a new restaurant ad with delicious-sounding entrees) Bryan's Holiday Inn began construction in 1964 and presumably opened in 1965. From what I can tell, it was a fairly standard Holiday Inn of the mid-1960s, all exterior-entranced rooms, swimming pool in the courtyard (which appears to be still functional today, if operated seasonally), and equipped with a small restaurant/coffee shop and meeting rooms. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, it co-existed with the Holiday Inn in College Station (with this hotel being dubbed as the Holiday Inn North in listings). In the late 1980s, it briefly became "The Bryan Inn", though had ditched the restaurant inside the motel. From there, however, the fortunes of the hotel changed. It fell into the hands of Leonard Ross' holdings, and like the former Ramada Inn was converted into private dorms (and listed under "Furnished Apartments" in the phone book), going under the name "The Forum" through the 1990s, and by the mid-2000s had shut down entirely.

Remarkably, in the late 2000s, the building managed to reopen as a Travelodge despite minimal remodeling done (and even getting the Travelodge name to begin with, how the mighty have fallen), but trouble soon surfaced when Rossco Holdings defaulted on loans. Not too long after, the hotel changed hands again and became University Inn.

Here's the Google Street View of the motel today.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Aggieland Credit Union, Southwest Parkway East

There used to be a sign outside used to feature an electronic display featuring the time and temperature, but today no longer has the electronic component.

Not too much to say about Aggieland Credit Union here at 201 Southwest Pkwy. East beyond opening in 1997. They used to (maybe they still do, but I haven't been inside for a while now for obvious reasons) have pictures of almost every Aggie Bonfire going back years, though there was never a Bonfire after 1998 due to the 1999 collapse. Pictures in this post by author, 6/20.

Editor's Note: I'm going to try to take a brief break after this to get my thoughts back in order, mostly because I don't want to keep posting filler. While I do have some new posts planned, I'm going to focus on closed-down or otherwise defunct businesses, with more love and attention given to Bryan.