Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Buildings at Dominik Drive and Texas Avenue

This post will stay up until the contents are rewritten. Check out the updated Whataburger article here and the Gumby's article here.

Originally posted as "Dominik Road: Of Beer and Sandwiches with major edits made in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

This post used to be called "Dominik Road: Of Beer and Sandwiches". On May 17, 2012 I stripped out the article and rewrote it, using information from the comments. On August 25, it was updated with all sorts of new informations and links. On May 30, 2013, it was renamed from "Dominik Drive", and went through a few more updates.

Texas Avenue is of course the road where all the action is, so it's logical it would spill over into adjacent roads, even ones that don't go all the way to the highway.

1. First to note is a Texas A&M University University building across from the old gas station. I have no idea when it was built or its original purpose, but it now seems to be serving as excess office space du jour—last year it was AgriLife, now it's Telecommunications at last check. This was originally Texas Aggieland Credit Union before it moved to Southwest Parkway (this branch, that is). It was Texas Aggie Credit Union before that, but may have originated as an even earlier bank (301 Dominik)

2. This concrete pad was a Shell station (it was a Texaco prior to 2003 or so) that closed circa 2006 when Texas Avenue started to widen, and demolished a few years later. Since then, nothing has taken its spot, but it provides excess Whataburger parking. It was one of the "Max Food Mart" stores that were in a lot of the Texaco stores at the time. (1405 Texas Avenue)

3. I'm not sure when this Whataburger opened. To note: it was listed as store No. 78 in 1980 and it still is. In 1969, it changed hands from an unknown seller to Grace Dobson, and in 1987, Grace Dobson to Whataburger. This probably signaled a sign of a franchisee being converted to the main store, but also probably involved a rebuild of the store, which involved a permit in 1986. But Brazos CAD says the main area was built in 1996, which also tends to back up something I heard in regards to a big fire in the early 1990s. [EDIT 7/19/14: Newspaper findings say that the Whataburger did burn down in January 1996. A "mobile Whataburger" serviced the area until the Whataburger reopened that spring.]

The demolition of Shell, of course gave visibility and extra parking. Sadly, to date, it's the closest Whataburger to campus since the Underground's location closed, and even then it's on the far corner of the golf course side.

It was here that I realized the "new d├ęcor" of Whataburger with an all orange logo (formerly, the name was in black and there was often blue trim). Example of this store here before repainting. (105 Dominik Drive)

4. Gumby's. How do I describe this? Gumby's, originally built as a branch of Pepe's, is the result of a pizza chain licensed on a decades-old children's TV show with years to fester and grow into its own identity to present a decidedly-non-kid-friendly pizza chain. It's the pizza chain that's very rare (less than a dozen locations, all near colleges), and is the one where you can get a pizza delivered at 1:15 in the morning (they stop at 2) and sells pizzas like the Stoner Pie, which includes mozzarella sticks, french fries, pepperoni, and sausage.

Perhaps the "it's for drunks and stoners" certainly gave the appearance of a "front for a drug operation" (that and poor maintenance outside). I'm led to believe that based on an ad from a phone book, Gumby's opened here in 1998, and that ad mentioned pool inside the restaurant, and I don't know if they do that anymore. I promise to try those pizza rolls sometime. (107 Dominik Drive)

5. Blue Baker was built as a place called Danver's Restaurant in the late 1970s that served burgers, sandwiches, and iced tea. It also had a salad bar.

It later became a branch of Texas Aggie Bookstore in the late 1980s (you know, before the name was modified), then Brazos Brewing Company by the mid-1990s, a brewpub that didn't last too long, possibly due to the until-very-restrictive Texas brewpub laws. The coasters were adorned with wheat and hops. By the late 1990s, it was the Brazos Blue Ribbon Bakery (moving from the Villa Maria Rd. location), then later Blue Baker (opened May 2001), which it is today. According to a Blue Baker employee, Brazos Blue Ribbon closed abruptly one day--employees found the door locked, and all the baking equipment was left inside. In fact, a lot of Blue Baker's mixing and baking equipment (including a large brick oven, which is no longer used) is from Brazos Blue Ribbon. Despite the similarity in names, Blue Baker and Brazos Blue Ribbon are not related.

I actually have a menu from 2002, with prices and items similar to the original 2001 mix (clearly they've gone up...), perhaps I'll show it sometime. (201 Dominik Drive)

7. Across the way is Shiraz Shish Kabob, which you should recognize as a very old Kentucky Fried Chicken from the 1960s or so. After moving south, it was later "Quick as a Flash" (photo studio), then became a Ritz Portrait Studio, and ultimately moved across the street to Redmond Terrace (as a regular store) before closing some time later. Shiraz upgraded the roof to metal when it moved in. Reportedly, it was another restaurant called "The Filling Station" between Ritz and Shiraz, if ever so briefly. (110 Dominik Drive)

Item #6 isn't covered today, it's the former Culpepper Plaza (now Central Station), which I have a post on. Just near the stoplight is Central Station 2 (Culpepper Plaza II) which is covered in that link.

Not covered in that link or the other one is College Hills Veterinary Hospital at 209 Dominik, which was open since 1994.

Got anything you'd like to say about Dominik Drive? Did I write something incorrect? Leave a comment!

Editor's Note: Yes, I know this needs better pictures.


Anonymous said...

For a brief time after Quik as a Flash closed, that little building was a fast food place called, I think, The Filling Station. It specialized in fried everything. They were quite good if you could exist on fried everything. Chicken, chicken fried steak, fried livers and gizzards. They also baked beautifully decorated Christmas cookies. Interesting place.

You might also look on Project HOLD in the East Gate oral histories. I think there might be something there on an event where citizens came together to protest the closing of a road. I'm not sure if it was Munson or Walton.

Anonymous said...

The name of the street is actually Dominik Drive.

The location that is home to the original "Blue Baker" was first built in the mid-1970s as a drive through burger place called "Danver's Hamburgers". At one point it was converted to a bookstore and then to a micro-brewery in 1995 named "Brazos Brewing". Briefly, it was home to "Brazos Blue Ribbon Bakery", a business that moved from Villa Maria in Bryan in 1998.

The building next door that currently houses "Gumby's" was originally built as a "Pepe's Tacos".

AggiePhil said...

There now is a signal light on Dominik, at the Bush East intersection.

Lot #1's address is 1501 Texas. According to the Brazos CAD property search (a tool I think would really help with your research), it was built in 1980 as United Citizens Bank (or at least their offices).

Lot #7 was yet another fried chicken place called "The Pump" before Shiraz moved in. Pump you full of fat and calories, I guess!

Anonymous said...

Before becoming a TAMU building, Lot #1 was Aggieland Credit Union (the original location?) I believe it was open contemporaneously with their Northgate location, and then moved to a new building at the NE corner of Southwest Pkwy. & Texas in the late 90s.