Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tales of Defunct Restaurants at 1045 South Texas Avenue


Kerri's in better days. Sorry for the terrible scan and image quality, but this is what I have.


Back in 2012, instead of publishing articles on individual businesses, I made the wrong idea of dumping several restaurants into a single post called "Tales of Defunct Restaurants", which became a series. Initially, this contained a variety of other restaurants now covered elsewhere, namely Tuscany's, Yum Yums Texas Style, and Fort Shiloh Steakhouse, explaining the discrepancy in the comments below.I did update the post a few times since (though when I did that is lost to time) to add a picture of, and expand on, the restaurant that was last in the original building before Raising Cane's took it over...Kerri's Stacked Enchiladas.

But let's go back to the beginning, or at least the beginning as I can find it.

Built as a branch of California-based Sambo's (which had over 1000 in 47 states at its peak), the restaurant originally opened March 1974, replacing empty land. But in the early 1980s, Sambo's imploded. With mounting criticism from its name and theme by politically correct groups and problems stemming from a massive expansion, it filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and closed.

No restaurant appeared to be in place by the time the 1983 phone book was published.

In 1987, Wings 'n Things opened up by Mark Dennard. Apparently, this was related to the Houston-based Wings 'n Things as a franchise (or of the same corporate parent, seeing as how WnT opened the same year but for whatever reason, it fell through and Dennard renamed his restaurant in College Station to Wings 'N More soon after. It looks like it was founded at 2711 Fountainview, which was a Wings 'N Things just until this (re)writing in January 2017.

Sorry, Archive.is isn't working.


I can't find a lot of details on the split, or how much Mark Dennard was involved in Wings 'n Things, but apparently it did happen and the restaurant was renamed. Mark Dennard never opened very many other Wings 'N More stores (one in The Woodlands, one in south College Station in toward the late 1990s) but was able to franchise Wings 'N More in Houston (where Wings 'n Things was based), and those restaurants later became BreWingz as that spun off.

In 2002, this location of Wings 'N More moved out to a modern location at University Drive East and Highway 6, where it remains today, but it wouldn't remain closed for much longer. In 2003, a new local restaurant replaced it, Kerri's Stacked Enchiladas. Despite a strong start, including winning Best New Restaurant in Best of the Brazos 2003 and Best Southwest Texas Cuisine a year later, it folded by 2005.

It made no changes to the outside of the old Wings 'N More, and from what I've heard, not much to the inside, either (except adding some new Aggie memorabilia). The logo was a semi-provacatively-dressed brunette (wearing one a torn shirt that was basically torn and twisted into a short top) holding a plate.

Open from 11am to "late", this is what the Dining Guide of 2004 had to say on the matter. Keep in mind that since I haven't heard great things about Kerri's in retrospect and this was written by the restaruant, chances are high that parts of this paragraph are blatant lies (already I see that they must have forgotten Kokopelli's, and the full paragraph is as follows:

The Brazos Valley's first Southwest restaurant has already been recognized among the very best restaurants in the entire Brazos Valley! Our unique stacked enchiladas are made fresh from scratch daily --topped with the freshest produce in town! At Kerri’s we also boast the best Fajita Stacks in town and offer a diverse menu sure to please everyone, from healthy choices like veggie quesadillas, veggie stacked enchiladas, stack house salads to main stay favorites such as ribeye steaks, chicken fried chicken, southwest lasagna, burgers and much much more. The desserts alone are worth the trip to Kerri’s. We have catered many special area events such as weddings, receptions, concerts, business luncheons and dinners, numerous city council meetings and an array of late night party events. Consider Kerri’s for all of you catering needs -- we will deliver to the location of your choice, or reserve our spacious dining and stage area or huge outdoor patio. Kerri’s has the freshest food in town at the most reasonable price. Go see for yourself why Kerri’s was voted Best New Restaurant in the Brazos Valley! While you’re here relax and enjoy our full service bar and ask your server how to get a
"soon to be famous"

All that disappeared by 2005 when Kerri's closed down. After the restaurant closed, someone made some sort of bizarre Pac-Man graffiti on the roof, with (illegible) names next to Pac-Man and the ghost. I'm not sure what they meant, but with the highly visible graffiti, a nearby dead Mobil (which closed in about 2004), and the closed Texaco down from it, by mid-2005 it contributed to a feeling that the stretch from University to George Bush just started feeling really run-down.

By January of 2006 (according to TexAgs archives, and sounds right in my memory), the building was torn down and a Raising Cane's was put in its place by summer. Raising Cane's actually has the date the store opened (June 2006) along with a little blurb about it. I wish more chains did that...that's really cool. You can see a picture of the building here that I took in May 2014.