Showing posts with label 1960s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1960s. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2016

Goodbye to 711 University, So Long to the BB&T...

Since I didn't get a picture of the bank before it became a big hole in the ground, we'll have to do with this.


I love punny titles, and what better way to do that would be to mention the demolition of the old University Bank Building?

This was (going past tense here) a rather large and rather old bank that was a Citibank until very recently when it changed to BB&T. Brazos CAD says it was built in 1961 and from what I confirm that is absolutely true. Besides the many transactions at the bank itself, here are the major transactions in terms of name changes and all.

1962: College Station Bank relocates to this building from a previous location.
1963: The name is changed to University National Bank.
1990: After a long run as University National Bank, it is acquired by Don Adam to become First American Bank (officially acquired that year)
2005: Citigroup acquires the bank chain, rebranded to Citibank
2014: BB&T purchases 41 Citibank branches including this one and rebrands them.
2016: BB&T relocates to The Rise at Northgate; building torn down, thus beginning and ending its life with relocation.

That being said, there are two more things I want to hit:

OFFICE SPACE!
The bank property also included an adjacent space, which was 707 University, BCAD link here which was a two-story office building with a small footprint. My records show this was used for non-bank space as early as 1974 (with the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co.) and my 1989 phone book mentions "The Personal Computer Store" (with the ad mentioning it was "since 1984"). This became MicroAge by 1993, and starting in 1999 moved out to their current home (now known as Avinext) on East University Drive. I don't think anything has occupied the space since.

FOOD TRUCKS!
711 University was also where food trucks congregated (or near the now-defunct Notes-N-Quotes next door). Since I graduated a few years ago, I can't list all the more recent food trucks and trailers there, though here are a few I remember:

Wafology - Seen spring 2014 and maybe late 2013, this was a waffle food truck which had chicken and waffles and a few others. The waffles weren't great, they were more of the standard "using pancake batter in a waffle iron" that I've seen everywhere except for home cooking. I think it returned for fall 2014. It is now known as MESS Waffles.

Vittles - This was seen summer 2014. It was a trailer operated by Gumby's serving sno-cones, pizza rolls, and chicken legs (the latter two obviously prepared off-site).

Chef Tai's Mobile Bistro - Moved inside campus due to a contract.

Southern Comfort Road Trip - The old Village Foods food truck which in fall 2013, was the new home of Hebert's Cajun Food dishes. Their already-borderline prices had gone up, but it still felt like it was putting the universe one step closer to being back in balance.

Mr. Chinese Burger - I wanted to like it, but the burgers I had needed reheating...and they were shut down by the health department at least once. Still, I was amused by the (possibly deliberate?) broken English menu ("One Chinese Burger", "Two Chinese Burger", etc.), they sold pulled pork on chewy steamed buns.

THE FUTURE?!
The replacement is supposed to be a 16-story, 800-bed residential tower (student housing, it seems, as usual) with two retail spaces at the bottom which may or may not go unused (considering how the Rise struggled with retail the first few years, though the CVS did well).

Friday, January 22, 2016

Handy Burger / The Onion Ring / The Deluxe / Chimy's Cerveceria

Chimy's sign looks kind of cool at night, but no picture of that, sorry (December 2015)


This restaurant, best known to me as the Deluxe Diner, always had a bit of a special place in my heart, even if I never went there. It was the first thing I saw besides the late Dulie Bell Building if we were going down the ramp from Wellborn, plus it was always featured in a little "menu booklet" that the George Bush Library had in their early days. It started as a hamburger restaurant called the Handy Burger, which was the first place in town to have a microwave for food use. Eventually, this became a restaurant called "The Onion Ring" (which picked up a well-known nickname probably more common than the REAL name of the restaurant).

Later, the restaurant was remodeled and became "The Deluxe Burger Bar" (renamed The Deluxe Diner sometime later).

Deluxe Diner menu from better days (c. 1998), note that this is not the full menu

The shuttered Deluxe Diner, Google Street View (c. 2007)

The Deluxe Diner closed in 2006 (that I know for sure) but by that time was in a state of huge decline (food was terrible, management was even worse). Despite having some period diner pieces inside (though the exterior had been modified since the Handy Burger days), the building started to rot and mold until 2012 when most of the restaurant was demolished save for a few walls and was rebuilt into Chimy's Cerveceria, which opened in January 2013. I've never eaten there, based on reports of overpriced food and what I've seen myself (long, cafeteria-like tables). That was disappointing, as I'd been wanting some decent Tex-Mex in Northgate, not a bar. Rest assured, though, with the opening of Torchy's Tacos when I lived at Eastgate, I no longer thought of Chimy's as a wasted opportunity.

So there you go. The tale of one of College Station's oldest restaurant sites in one post. Sorry for the absence as of late...I'll be wrapping up several more of the posts here with one more for the memories.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Safeway at the Health Department

Boring government building or a disguised old supermarket? You decide!

Unlike the still-born Zachry Engineering Center and Scoates Hall posts, we actually have something for this one, even it was hacked together on fairly short notice. The Safeway at the Health Department, discussed over at Safeway and Albertsons in Texas Blog, which is just starting out.

UDPATE: Finally added real picture.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

4300 Texas Avenue

The building in its original form. Courtesy John Ellisor.


Just across from the Luby's, we had the first local location of Piggly Wiggly (owned by Six Star Foods locally, at least in the latter days). First opened in 1963, I can't nail down when it exactly it closed.

After Piggly Wiggly left, part of the store (suite B) was reopened as a discount grocery store, Jewel T. Owned by the same company running the Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago area (and a play on the name "Jewel Tea", their original name), Jewel-T was a discount store reportedly similar to Aldi and took residence in older-generation grocery stores. Unfortunately, details are sparse on this elusive store, and it didn't last long. In 1984, The Jewel Companies were bought by American Stores, and Jewel T was sold off to Save-a-Lot, but the Texas division was bought by Grand Prairie-based Shop-N-Sav and renamed Texas-T.

In 1994, Texas-T was bought from them by Save-a-Lot's parent company, SuperValu, and converted to Save-a-Lot (the rest of the Texas T stores were) before closing for good a few years later. It's not surprising if Save-a-Lot closed soon after, a failed stand in College Station is pretty much forgotten (and hey, that was an old Piggly Wiggly, too!)

After Save-a-Lot closed, it became Jacque's Toys & Games. Now, Jacque's would claim it's been around since 1986, but not in that space. It was originally called "The Toy Box" at located at 3806 Texas Avenue South in Bryan, later home to Brazos Blind & Draperies.

If I have my chronology right, while the space on the right (suite B) became Jacque's Toys & Games in 1986, while the left location (suite A) later became Brazos Valley Christian Books (coincidentally, located at 3808 Texas Avenue in the early 1990s) and later Pack & Mail, which closed in the latter part of the 2000s. It's now been subdivided once more, as you can see in my pictures. Because I don't have actual address-based directories, I haven't been able to ascertain what was in suite A after Piggly Wiggly's departure.

It's important to note that although Piggly Wiggly was at 4300 Texas Avenue, but while the shopping center is still that, none of the stores have that address. One more story to tell: the Brazos Natural Foods store was here since 1988, and has long been a purveyor of organic and gluten free items long before the mainstream supermarkets had them.

As you may know, Jewel-Osco did operate in College Station as well at a time. While that's been discussed here before, I'd like to introduce you to Safeway/Albertsons Texas Blog, which actually will showcase some of the stores Safeway, Albertsons, and Randalls have had over the years. Check it out!

Updates underway as of November 2015.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jin's Asian Cafe / Lippman Music

Despite looking bad, this is about the extent of it.

This building, built in 1963, has seen a lot, including the after-effects of a fire in June 2014, which despite looking worse for the wear, was only quite limited to what to you see here, with Lippman's opening the next day and Jin's the following week.

The Jin's side (110 Nagle) was originally (by the early 1970s, so presumably as opening in 1963) one of the many UtoteM convenience stores in town though by 1980 had disconnected to become the Universal Grocery & Snack Bar, even by the 1990s becoming "Universal Restaurant", though by 1998 it was back to "Universal Grocery" before finally closing and becoming Jin's (at a date I have yet to discover). I didn't take a picture of this, because it's fairly common elsewhere (see Yelp, for instance)

Lippman's side (112 Nagle) opened as Lippman Music in 1994 (guitars and such, not albums) after moving from Culpepper Plaza (where it opened in the 1980s) but according to Brian Lippman served as a bus station in the distant past (the double doors that don't open was a freight entrance). Prior to 1994 it was the original location of Notes-N-Quotes before it moved to the old Exxon.

Other than that, I have nothing. Comments would be appreciated. We (I) would also like some feedback on the following old 2011 posts which have been updated:

- University Square / Legacy Point - mostly updating and refining, but a new ad for a long-gone store
- Campus Theater - new updates regarding sale
- Wolfe Nursery - new info on go-kart track
- East 29th and Texas - new post name and update

Saturday, June 14, 2014

North of University Drive and South of Bryan

Is this intersection even recognizable anymore?


I decided to separate this from the main Texas Avenue article (as parts of that are looking hairy itself, mostly in dealing with massive walls of text) partially because the area has been changed so much. I was having a bit of trouble in formatting this post, as the area has changed over the past 30-40 years significantly (with the lots being redrawn, even). This is not filler, this is some pretty cool stuff featuring some ads from the past, and a lot of other information. Enjoy.

This page is also intended to complement this page.

EXISTING STRUCTURES, WEST SIDE

Northpoint Crossing we will not cover, even though it's the biggest thing University and Texas has going for it. I know, just bear with me here.

• Hampton Inn was built in the mid to late 1980s. It retains its original exterior, is at 320 Texas Avenue, four stories, decent reviews. It's nothing too memorable, and photos are relatively commonplace.

Official picture from the owner. Notice the Applebee's in the background.


• Home2 Suites by Hilton is the newest thing along Texas Avenue. It's part of the current "hotel boom" and isn't open yet. I don't have photos either. It takes up some old apartments and also the old car wash (see next section).

• Applebee's was built in 1994 according to Brazos CAD. It's at 200 Texas Avenue.

• Knights Inn (104 Texas Avenue) isn't a great hotel today--it had a bit of charm with its uncommon-for-this-town evergreen trees (pine, looks like), but the reviews indicate that it's a dark, dank, nasty place that's rarely cleaned (or cleaned poorly), and in a bad neighborhood. This isn't an entirely unfounded accusation for that last one, because of its proximity to the scruffy apartments behind it, it put up a row of chain link fence blocking access from Meadowland Street (thankfully, aforementioned scruffy "Meadowlands Apartments" seem to be mostly cleared out--mostly). In the early 2000s (up to 2005, it seems), it was Kiva Inn and before that, a Comfort Inn (note that the name had been there before they built the Comfort Suites further down University), and before that, the Texian Inn. Texian Inn opened in 1984 (again, according to Brazos CAD).

DEFUNCT STRUCTURES, WEST SIDE

• Like Northpoint Crossing, a notable "missing building" is the building later known as the Plaza Hotel, which once was a Ramada Inn and later, student dorms entirely for a time. You can read more about the hotel here from this post two years ago. [EDIT 6-18-14: And not to forget the Chevron station either. That was originally a Gulf station, at the northwest corner of Texas and University. Read that here]

• Where the Hampton Inn is now was once the Sands Motel (and the same property plat, as I found out later). I have a good picture of the Sands, and that picture showed it was a "Best Western", back when it was a designation, not a brand. The Sands was razed in the early 1980s. Since the Hampton now occupies the pad, it may have had the same address, but it was 324 Texas Avenue.

• I used to be not sure what this thing north of the Hampton/Sands is. It was definitely there in 1982. In looking at directories, it said this was 300 Texas Avenue, Travel Kleen Car Wash. "But Pseudo3D...or whatever your name is...wasn't Travel Kleen over near Harvey Road, where they built that new strip center?" Yes it was. But my 1982 directory shows that Travel Kleen not there in 1982, and looking at the layout of the building, "self-serve car wash" is the only thing that makes sense in context. Mystery solved!

• Joe Faulks Auto Parts was the thing just north of that. It was open in 1980 (but not '83), and had the address of 208 Texas Avenue. Other than that, I have no info there. It may have also had 206 Texas Avenue.

• Western Motel was there at 204 Texas Avenue. This was another forgettable motel of which there are no decent photos or good ads. It was built in the early 1960s and demolished in the early 1990s. Unknown to when it shut down.

• Where the Texian Inn (now Knights Inn) operates was once a mini-golf course (and good, from what I heard, including the near-ubiquitous windmill). This was the Turf Green Miniature Golf Course (120 Texas Avenue). Turf Green (built in the early 1960s) that sadly I don't have a lot of information on (write in the comments?) but west of that (behind it) was an even more obscure "Western theme park" behind it, Jubilee Junction, opened by Marion Pugh himself. This opened in 1967 but it closed just about one year later in 1968, briefly home to a campaign rally for Texas governor hopeful Paul Eggers in 1970 and a few other events. Jubilee Junction had some 21 structures and featured a variety of displays (including live birds and animals), places to buy food & drink (such as soft drinks at a salvaged saloon bar) and some authentic pieces scattered around the village (Keeny TX's old post office). You could get a souvenir artisan horseshoe from the blacksmith, ride in a covered wagon around the village, or watch a mock gunfight, staged twice a day.

While it certainly sounded unique and interesting, it does sound like the model was flawed, and not enough a big enough trade area to keep it going year after year. That's not an uncommon fate among these types of things, and bigger failures have happened since (like AutoWorld in Michigan). Anyway, Jubilee Junction ultimately turned out to be a bust. By the end of the 1970s, it was completely gone.

Picture courtesy John Ellisor. Used with permission.


• I'm not forgetting the "Snowflake Donuts" building either. That you can read here. It also needs some tenants it's missing.

EXISTING STRUCTURES, EAST SIDE

• At the northeast center of this intersection (University and Texas), is an Exxon, which was built in 1993. This is at 425 Texas Avenue. There is nothing remarkable about it.

413 Texas Avenue is an insurance office. It's also a small, somewhat ugly building, but take a close look at it. Some of you may be old enough to remember it as a Pizza Inn in the late 1960s (Brazos CAD says it was built in 1966) to sometime in the mid-1980s. The building still looks remarkably similar to the ad below. Pizza Inn itself has shrank in recent years, but you can still find it in a few corners of the world not too far away from here (a modern Rattler's gas station en route to Temple has a new location, and one is near Northwest Mall in Houston).

1970s phone book.


411 Texas Avenue was Tokyo Steak House in 1980. The building was built in 1966, but I can't find anything for what it was in the beginning, and the results for Tokyo Steak House indicate that in the mid-1970s (1976, looks like) it started over in Townshire and later came here. It was a bank in the late 1980s, records indicate, though nothing's listed under the Banks in the 1989 yellow pages for this address. Interestingly, it was a bank before becoming a restaurant (1978 directory has "The Last National Bank" here at this address) [EDIT 10/21/15: I think that was actually a supposed to be a joke, and it was really a restaurant.]

1984 phone book


• You can get your fried food fix at the Sonic at 401 Texas Avenue, which was built around late 2004 or early 2005 and replaced an old Sonic at University Drive East (redeveloped in 2007 and now a Brake Check). This was a vacant lot prior to that (at least to 1995), but it wasn't always vacant...

301 Texas Avenue is a Super 8 Motel.

4613 Texas Avenue is a Fairfield Inn & Suites.


DEMOLISHED STRUCTURES, EAST SIDE
• The Shell at the corner of Texas and FM 60 was a Shell up until the early 1990s. You can see a shot of the smaller Shell (logo) sign here (annotated version by AggiePhil) but there was a larger one, too (see the Texas Avenue page). This gem comes from TexAgs, and I have yet to find a picture for this, because that would be hilarious. I have also yet to find an address for this one.

In the late '80s or early '90s, that Shell station had a giant S H E L L sign. One night the S burned out. Someone took a picture of the intersection and the "H E L L" sign and sent it to the Daily Texan, who ran it with the headline, "Welcome to College Station."


• The current home of Sonic at 401 Texas Avenue was "Darby's Foreign Car Parts" in 1978 and 1980 (these two years are not indicative of when it was built, but it was open in this era). I'm not sure when this was demolished, but it was the late 1980s or early 1980s. It also did business as "Enginooity Import Parts & Repair". Not sure which is the "official" one (but Enginooity still operates in Bryan even to this day, apparently) [EDIT 6-21-14: Additionally, 401 Texas Avenue was ALSO the site of Cut Rate Liquor No. 5 concurrently]

301 Texas Avenue at the corner of Cooner and Texas was originally A-1 Auto Parts and then later became Aggie Solar Guard by the late 1980s, which ultimately became Ag Solar Guard in the 1990s as use of the word "Aggie" was cracked down on. It was then demolished, but not before ASG moved north.

315 Texas Avenue was Senter-Piece Flowers in the early 1980s just south of Tom's. This was also demolished for Super 8 eventually.

209 Texas Avenue: Tastee-Freez was here into the early 1970s. Tastee-Freez was at about 1,800 in the 1950s and 1960s but imploded as they couldn't control franchises. There's less than 50 today, so T-F's departure from Bryan should be expected. I can't find what happened to T-F's space later, but it was demolished eventually. The 1980s phone books list nothing for the address (1980 and 1983). I'm not exactly sure where it was.

4613 Texas Avenue was Tom's Barbecue (not "Steakhouse") yet, before it moved to Bryan. This moved in the late 1980s.

4611 Texas Avenue was A&W Drive-In, this also has no information for 1980 and 1983, which implies a restaurant was no longer here. I believe this was the one closer to the Bryan city limits. A&W did make a brief re-appearance in south (well, at the time) College Station when it opened in the Exxon at Rock Prairie, but that's a story for another day.

Wow, it had an eat-in area? That's better than Sonic ever had.


OTHER MYSTERIES
"Gary's Exxon" was supposedly at 408 Texas Avenue, but I can't find a place for it.

This information here was compiled with old directories and phone books, so please don't go ripping this wholeheartedly. Please write in the comments...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Redmond Terrace Shopping Center / Texas Avenue Crossing

Texas Avenue Crossing (a name not seen on signage, by the way) is also the only strip center for miles around with rooftop parking. If you have lived in College Station for more than six months, you've probably been here: it has a Panda Express, Cold Stone, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, Charming Charlie, Jason's Deli, and DoubleDave's.

But before that...it was different. Prior to 2003 (roughly), it was a completely different center. Opening in the 1960s at Jersey and Texas Avenue on a dairy farm, Redmond Terrace Shopping Center was the first strip center in College Station and featured a variety of stores, including a Ben Franklin five and ten, Brookshire Brothers, a post office, and Gibson's. All of these were housed under a continuous "squiggly roof" (not unlike the defunct discount store The Treasury). Here's one of the few photos I have of the original configuration, from a photo of a photo.


Gibson's, of course, was the main anchor. Not a whole lot is known about Gibson's, as even when its largest franchisee (it was a franchised discount store, allowing it to spread across from Texas to Ohio with a variety of store formats) sued the chain and closed/renovated/reopened its stores (before going out of business in 1986, and some sources erroneously state Wickes BOUGHT the chain that same year).

A few pages do discuss this store, and the Dallas stores even included full supermarkets in theirs. While the Gibson's here never contained such a thing, it did include a garden center and pharmacy, the latter indicated by this December 1971 ad from our very own The Eagle. It may have even had a snack bar.

Get "Monoply" for the kids!


From what I've read, though, Gibson's was a dump (I've heard someone tell me it smelled like tires). If we fast-forward, things started to change at Redmond Terrace...as stores changed, the squiggly roof went away, but only partially, leaving the center very disjointed looking. Academy would demolish or extensively renovate the Gibson's space. Piggly Wiggly would replace Brookshire Brothers and close early on (it was not very large at all, much smaller than even Navasota or Hearne's Brookshire Brothers). The post office was replaced with Joe's Used Books.

Jason's Deli (a Stacy's Furniture for a time, by address) would be on the far right of the center. Other stores included Burdett & Son's and Loupot's, as well as a mattress/furniture liquidator. Here's a picture of Burdett & Son's, in which you can see the original figuration as well.

Burdett & Son was here from 1997 to 2002, as says their website. Copy Corner is off to the right.


At the corner of George Bush and Texas was a Shell gas station with a Zip'N convenience store, but it was extremely small (or am I just remembering this wrong?). This went first with little more than some remains in a raised section of concrete to show that something was here.

Around 2002 or so, it was announced that Academy would be moving out to the bypass and the whole thing would be wrecked for a new center: Texas Avenue Crossing. While one portion was saved and rehabbed (Mattress Giant and Pier One Imports, and I think this was where Jason's Deli originally was), the rest was demolished and built anew, featuring a mostly stable line-up of tenants. If you were looking at it from the George Bush side, the tenants are:
DoubleDave's PizzaWorks (moved from either the Northgate location or Woodstone)
European Wax Center (formerly Urban Salon)
Charming Charlie (originally something else, I think)
Mattress Firm (Mattress Giant, changed names in 2012)
Pier 1 Imports (originally near the mall)
Bed Bath & Beyond (new to the market)
Pine Boutique (for years Ritz Camera & Image, closed in 2012, one of the last ones to close--originally located across the street where Shiraz is now)
Darque Tan (never liked the name of this one--I always imagined cooking on the tanning bed not unlike a clamshell grill)
World Market (new to the market)
Jason's Deli (new location)

On top of Bed Bath & Beyond to Jason's Deli is that rooftop parking area, but it's never been very full. An elevator takes you back near BB&B.

Over at the Shell spot, a new plaza was built with Panda Express (new to the market), Complete Nutrition (formerly "Bath Junkie"), James Avery Craftsman (originally something else?), and Cold Stone Creamery (new to the market).

TAC remains rather popular, having brought new retailers to the market and a popular lunch spot with inexpensive restaurants (Jason's Deli, particularly, remains a popular after-church spot).

I've probably got some details wrong--directories aren't very helpful in this aspect, and I've obviously abridged some stuff, with this article mainly posted to just fill in gaps in dealing with the Texas Avenue post. If I have anything wrong, please mention it in the comments.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

104-115 College Main

Remember when I redid the Northgate page, and cut out all references to College Main? Well, those days are over, and this has now returned to this page.

I personally despise the way College Main is set up these days: it used to be a normal road, with sidewalks, bike lanes, and two lanes. In summer 2012, while they made the part of College Main going up to Old College a lot prettier and functional (sidewalks, well-lit, bike lanes, etc.), they turned College Main into a pedestrian mall, which doesn't get a lot more foot traffic, and history has shown that turning streets into pedestrian malls often kills them off instead of saving them. Oh well. However, since this College Main has mostly deteriorated into mostly bars, it probably does make more sense, in a way.

104 College Main - Antonio's Pizza by the Slice

Beginning as Court's University Shoe Repair in the 1930s or 1940s (an archival photo that I can't find right now), the current tenant history has this being vacant in 1993, being divided between a Lacey's (jewelry store) and "Perfect Tan III" by 1995 (there's also a photo of these two that I don't have up either). By the late 1990s, this was "Byte Me Computers" (according to a 1997-1998 plan of the Northgate Promenade, which showed nearby buildings). It became Antonio's Pizza by the Slice in the early part of the 2000s, which has decent and reasonably priced pizza. It also offers Coke products, something the university hasn't in a number of years.

105 College Main - The Law Office of Drew Gibson & Associates
In the same building as Northgate Barber Shop, this used to be Software Exchange back in the mid-1990s and Julia's Silver Boutique around 1998. The 1972 directory says this was "Zubik Tailors". In 1989, this was "Custom Creations by Hullabaloo".

106 College Main - Hookah Station
For many years, Hookah Station was the location of Holick's boots. When Holick's moved out in the early 2000s (2002?) to Westgate Center, the painted "Holick's" on the side of the building remained. Unfortunately, Hookah Station trashed the building both in terms of historic qualities and physically.

When it was sitting vacant and clearly falling apart, it somehow still looks better and classier than the pit that's there today. Holick's even had maroon-and-white awnings, a nice touch.


From Flickr, user "treyerice"



107 College Main - Northgate Barber Shop
This barbershop has been here for years (since at least the early 1970s!). In the late 2000s, there was "Northgate Barber Shop Too!" at Holleman and Anderson, but that has since renamed to "Maroon & White Barber Shop"

108 College Main - Foundation Lounge
In the early 1980s, this was a store called The Drafting Board, an engineer's supply shop (reminder: there were less computers than today), and later became a restaurant called A&M Steak House by the late 1980s (hamburgers, apparently). After that was shortly another store, Condom Station (at the zenith of Northgate's decline). I'm not sure how long it lasted, but it wasn't long.

"We've Got You Covered" is what the small text says.

Courtesy Project HOLD. Sadly, those funky oversized handlebars don't exist anymore.

This was Dead Lazlo's Coffee Pub in 1995, which lasted a few years too. A newspaper article I read (I don't have it with me but if it turns up, I'll cite it) mentioned that Dead Lazlo's was owned by Sweet Eugene's House of Java which is still alive today. Given how crowded Sweet Eugene's gets, if they still owned a coffeeshop here on Northgate under any name, it would do spectacularly well.

Copacetic (or Copasetic, I've seen it both ways) Café in 1998, and Foundation Room later (which has even more recently changed to "Foundation Lounge"), but not before briefly becoming a bar called Groove in the mid to late 2000s. The Foundation's current ƒ logo used to be a Comic Sans-esque "G".

It should also be noted that the Drafting Board was formerly "News Office Supply", according to an old phone book. A 1972 directory mentions that this was White Auto Store at this spot.

The row

109 College Main - Sarge's
Sarge's moved here in the early 1980s. It used to be Aggieland Studio, which was a portrait studio like University Studio.

110 College Main - Social Lounge
In 1989 this was a Chinese buffet called Taipei Express, and soon became a large record shop called Marooned, which remained throughout most of the 1990s. After Marooned was closed, by the early 2000s, it was a Quizno's, but that didn't last very long, and became V-Bar circa 2005-2006.

Courtesy Project HOLD

In 2007, the V-Bar was embroiled in an attack that left a Rice Owl basketball player dead and his brother injured in which someone stabbed people during a bar fight. The media was very sympathetic to the brothers at first, but later on it was revealed that the attacker, a Marine, stabbed them in an attempt to get them to stop beating his fellow "Marine brother" to death. Compare the full story ("Ex-Marine not guilty ", March 11, 2010) to earlier reports. By the time Ronald Johnson was cleared of murder, the V-Bar was on its way out (if not already).

It became Social Lounge, which it is still is now. The picture is from Project HOLD, which shows it as Marooned. The windows have since been bricked up.

Despite a much older photo as evidence, a 1972 directory indicates that this was "University Shoe Repair" (not 104), which is also strange since it's one of the larger spaces on Northgate.

111 College Main - Gatsby's on Main
Gatsby's space hasn't moved around much. Thanks to its current sign, it says it's been there "Since 2004", and prior to that was Aggie Cleaners. Gatsby's is currently celebrating of being on College Main for 10 years, though Aggie Cleaners had stuck around for at least 30 before that.

Courtesy Project HOLD, mid-1990s

112 College Main
A non-existent address these days, but it was listed as "University Cleaners" (not to be confused with Aggie Cleaners). It would make sense if this shared the space with the new location of University Shoe Repair.

113 College Main - Kyoto Japanese
This used to be Disc-Go-Round, another record store, and before that, ProTutors Incorporated. Records also mention that this was the first police station of College Station. Despite (what was then called) Kyoto Sushi's ramshackle appearance (sometime around fall 2012 or spring 2013 it stopped serving sushi entirely and is only open at night as a sake bar), it used to look even worse. In spring 2014, it changed to Kyoto Japanese. It's still a sake bar, but is a Korean restaurant called The Bulgori now during the daytime. Ironically, this still doesn't serve sushi--that's found over at Aggie Time to Go. Also worth noting that in the early 2010s, most of the building was painted yellow.

115 College Main - The Law Office of Drew Gibson & Associates
This business isn't here anymore. There's an almost-gone "Aggieland Studio" mural on the side of the building. As you can see in the shot below (when the building looked even worse), there's a sign that says "Paradise" above it. That was Paradise Scuba. It moved to Parkway Square in the mid 1990s (soon after that picture was taken, my 1993 phone book still has Paradise Scuba as being in Northgate) and eventually moving to the old Putt-Putt location. As of this writing, it looks like 115 College Main will cease to exist thanks to a recent New Development filing of 113 College Main renovating the second floor. In the late 1980s, it was the last home to On the Double (actually I think it was 113), after it moved out of the space above Farmer's Market.

2007 Google Street View with the unpainted bricks but no ugly facade

Last days of the original "Kyoto Sushi"

EDIT 4/6/14: The Bulgori is now closed (unknown status of AT2G) but the sake bar continues. I did eat there once. Decent food (got a menu!), some good sides, soup included, even a slice of blood orange.

Hopefully, I'll fill the rest in with pictures that are kicking around on my hard drive somewhere. Enjoy what's currently here for now, though! Leave comments if you can, especially on those businesses that I've inevitably missed. For more Northgate fun, click the link below to see all posts tagged with "Northgate".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reed McDonald Building


It's game over for Dulie Bell, but another generally unloved building has been getting some facade work recently. Reed-McDonald Building, the long-time home to the Battalion (it was there 15 years ago and years before that) and a current place to store grad students. Built in 1967, as of winter 2013, this has been getting a repaint, getting some blonde tan, covering up the battered and faded red paint (which is apparently was used/is being used as a primer) and slightly less battered dark tan color. As of this writing, it's mostly done.

Older Aggies that went here prior to 2006 may notice that something's missing: the Bus Stop Snack Bar, which sold things like sandwiches and chips. Regrettably, I don't have any pictures of the missing building, but you can discuss it here.

ALSO! We went added and added a newspaper article for the opening of Weingarten (College Station) location. You know, the one that lasted two months and never even became a Safeway?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Torchy's Tacos and the Story Behind 1037 Texas Avenue

Once again, my phone's camera interprets red neon as having a harsh orange effect. (September 2014)

Reading this post brings back a lot of memories for me, namely fall 2014 when Torchy's opened and I was living in Eastgate at the time. When I first wrote this post back in January 2014, this post was not on Torchy's (at that point, it being a Torchy's was a rumor), but rather the recently-closed Sully's Sports Bar & Grill, which was the rebranded Fowl Digits. The post URL (Something Fowl at 1037 Texas Avenue) and comments refer to this. At the time it was considered a "cursed" location for all the restaurants that had struggled there over the years, and at the time, Eastgate wasn't doing so hot either: there was no nightlife and pretty much your choices were Layne's as far as eating went.

Later on, I updated the post around September. This is why the picture on the top of the post is still early evening and no crowds, at that point, Torchy's had put up all signage but not yet open. After it opened (and yes, I did attend the public pre-opening party, and enjoyed free tacos and alcohol), it was pretty much impossible to take a daytime picture without crowds and cars blocking it.

The building itself is interesting and dates back decades, long before Fowl Digits and the parade of restaurants that followed. Here's a bit from The Eagle from its 1962 groundbreaking as Coach Norton's Pancake House, the first restaurant in the spot.

Coach Homer Norton, coach of the 1939 Texas Aggie national football champions, and his wife expect to break ground Monday or Tuesday for a $200,000 restaurant on Highway 6 in College Station. Norton, 56, was in the city Wednesday and today, making final arrangements for the ground breaking of the establishment to be known as "Coach Norton’s Pancake House." The approximately 200 - capacity edifice will be constructed on the corner of Highway 6 and Kyle Street in College Station. The former Aggie coach has a similar business in Rosenberg—-gathering place for members of the ’39 champs when A&M is playing football in Houston. Norton officially announced the new B-CS restaurant, which is to be completed in about four months, today. R. B. Butler is general contractor for the restaurant. "I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time," Norton stated. "Actually I feel like I’m coming home. We have many close, dear friends in College Station, Bryan and throughout the state. So many of them travel in and out of College Station it’s going be a great chance to visit. Actually I dreamed of this long before I quit coaching,” the white-haired Aggie mentor said. “I always wanted to do two things; own a motel and a real high class eating place.” After a 14-year tenure as head coach at A&M, Norton resigned the post in 1947 and opened his motel business in Rosenberg, "This place will be my big prize," he added, "and I imagine it will be the largest and finest of its kind between Dallas and Houston." The 200-seat restaurant will feature 25 varieties of Norton’s nationally famous pancakes as well as steak, shrimp, chicken and other foods. Completely carpeted throughout, the pancake house will provide the finest of kitchen equipment and fixtures, according to Norton, with all-around parking and an eight-foot covered walkway on the sides and front. Norton indicated a manager would be in charge of the establishment, as in Rosenberg, and that he would commute from Rosenberg. Coach Norton stated he would probably spend most of his time in College Station, however. The building was to be lined off today and set on the lot for construction to get under way immediately.

Sadly, Norton would not see his new restaurant for very long, as Homer Norton would pass away in 1965, but his legacy still stood (the motel in Rosenberg still exists as the Homer Norton Motel, though its existence is in question today). The Pancake House in College Station continued for a years afterward but closed in 1970 (by references we have now), but the building stood and changed hands many times.

One of the first restaurants to reoccupy was Fontana's Italian-Mexican Restaurant. This actually had no relation to the Fontana's that would later occupy it. The first reference to Fontana's appeared in 1970, not long at all after the demise of the Pancake House. Like the later incarnation, Fontana's would specialize primarily in Italian and newspaper references to Fontana's would continue into the late 1970s.

As time went on, the space saw many eateries come and go in a relatively short timespan, earning it a reputation of a "cursed location", intensifying the intrigue of what would be a lowly building that long would've met the bulldozers years ago.

The next location to occupy was Mama's Pizza. Mama's relocated from 807 Texas Avenue South, by 1986, Pinon's Restaurant (possibly actually Piñon's) was in the old spot and Mama's had taken over at the Pancake House location.

Their old location was the old Oakridge Steakhouse (leading to confusion like how Oakridge Steakhouse was at this location). At that location, Mama's even gave out little paper moustaches to promote their restaurant.
From the Project HOLD collection

Mama's was gone by the late 1980s (moved to 1601 Texas Avenue South, later home to Bullwinkle's)

A 1993 directory (but not a 1993 phone book) lists "Shanghai Chinese Restaurant" as well as a 1996 directory, however, TexAgs claims that it was open for a "week or two", which seems to be a gross exaggeration.

It's plausible that Porky's Hamburgers, another spot, was actually open for "six weeks" (after all, Front Porch Grill didn't last a long time either). Additionally, Rockyano's Pizza was there as well, according to the thread.

Either way, a 1996 phone book lists "Shen Zhen Chinese Restaurant" (sushi restaurant mentioned in TexAgs, maybe?), and in 1997-1998, it was Snuffer's, which claimed to have closed in College Station due the widening of Texas Avenue (you could say that the restaurant was "snuffed out" by the construction), but the date was wrong (widening was in 1998, and multiple other sources back Snuffers being in '98, not '97). After Snuffer's was El Arroyo (late 1990s/early 2000s), and then later Cazadores Mexican Restaurant (may have skipped another restaurant in there), and finally Fontana's Authentic Italian Food from 2009 to 2011.

From Fontana's Facebook page, which itself was from ShopBrazos.com, which has since taken down this image


Note that this is a time when the sign wasn't triangular: this can be seen here.

It's unknown why they changed the sign, but Fowl Digits restored it to its original 1960s appearance.


In late 2011, some new owners bought the building and gave it a substantial remodeling, adding a semi-covered patio and making it appear like a modern building (with stucco) and less like a 1960s building with new paint. Fowl Digits opened in early 2012 (50 years since Coach Norton started out), but despite some flashy advertising, it had a number of problems from the beginning. The name wasn't especially attractive, as it's easy to aim for "quirky" and hit "turn-off".

The second problem was that it tried to go for the wrong market. At the very beginning, they were promoting the line of their restaurant, Raising Cane's, and Layne's as "Chicken Strip Row", but Fowl Digits wasn't aiming for the $6 meal of chicken fingers, Texas Toast, and fries: they were a sports bar (indeed, a drink coozie I have states that it's a "sports bar disguised as a chicken finger place") and had prices to match. It also had a bunch of TVs (literally dozens). The portion sizes weren't working out, either. I felt rather unhappy and still pretty hungry after spending $6 (that's without a drink, at the time $6.50 for a full meal was standard) for the "Chicken and Wawfuls", which was just that. No sides or anything save for some syrup. After a few months (by October), the owners of Fowl Digits decided that the "disguised restaurant" wasn't working and rebranded themselves as Sully's Sports Grill & Bar. That seemed to do better for them (even if the name switch seemed pretty desperate) as the menu expanded to add things like hamburgers. It still wasn't enough to gain a following (and reviews were mixed), and the slightly awkward location has caused the restaurant to not reopen after December 2013, living up to the "restaurant curse" label, which is a bit of a shame since the owners of Fowl Digits/Sully's seemed like nice people, not like the owner of Dragon One in Bryan.

As for why Sully's closed, I don't think it was the location at all, just a manner of confused marketing. The initial attempt was trying to pretend they were competition to Layne's and Raising Cane's when they really weren't, then when that failed, they switched to a fairly generic "sports bar" type joint with overpriced bar food and a bunch of TVs. There weren't any pool tables and they couldn't even have glass glasses for beer. Any nonsense you heard on MyBCS like "People don't like $8-9 meals" is only partially true--$8-9 for a small plate of mediocre food won't cut it anywhere.

After the rumor of Torchy's was confirmed in early 2014, in summer, the demolition of Sully's commenced. It wasn't a total demolition (nor was it the "everything but a few walls" demolition that happened to the Deluxe Diner or Egg Roll House) but did strip off nearly every element that the Fowl Digits/Sully's owners added on, including exposing the Fontana metal siding before replacing that too. It also dismantled the 1960s era triangular sign for the purposes of more outdoor seating, instead opting to have a large sign facing Texas Avenue with a huge colorful neon sign with the "baby devil" logo.

Here are a few more pictures I got of the building, in both its post-Sully's days and pre-Torchy's Tacos days.

The Fowl Digits/Sully's patio shortly after it closed in late 2013.
Side view.
Torchy's September 2014. Almost the exact same view of the Sully's side view above. Compare and contrast!
Looking in
A closer look at the red and white. These are road reflectors!

It opened October 16th but I got into the building early and took a few pictures of the soda fountain and menu, though oddly the menu boards were replaced before opening.



1037 Texas Avenue South

Feel free to leave comments. Updated September 2014 with new title, photos, and substantial information. Updated July 2015 with further integration, and finally some updates in August 2016 to officially add to new list.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best Little Creamery in Aggieland

During better days. Dairy Sales inside! (Cushing Memorial Archives)

The Meat Center, as discussed the other day, is a most definitely unique place on campus, where you can buy real cuts of meat (lamb, pork, and beef) as well as dried meat products (the jerky is famous, but do try the dried sausage). It's also good in the sense that it wasn't outsourced with the rest of the establishments (A meal plan never could be used at the meats center (and most certainly not today), but a long time ago, there was more than Aggie-butchered meat you could buy. It was also ice cream! The "Dairy Science" building (also dairy sales) was located on Spence Street between modern-day Heep Laboratory Building (not Heep Center, that's different) and the Pavilion. There was also an older "Creamery" (that physically looked a bit like the Pavilion) that was demolished on West Campus in the mid-1980s (right on the other side of the railroad, where Old Main is today...yes, it even remained after the semi-circle of Olsen was built, and all that). That is not the subject of this post.

Cushing Memorial Archives


The dairy manufacturing building (the Main Campus one, at least) was demolished in 1995 for what would eventually be the Central Campus Parking Garage (the facade was where the main entrance off of Spence is). Just a few years prior, the dairy had been featured in Southern Living as part of a small page on Texas A&M with a small picture of the dairy/creamery's inside. While this article is still framed at the Meats Center, it has faced the window for years (thus, becoming quite faded) and the picture was never very large anyway. If you know of any interior pictures of the building featured in this post, please tell us.

It wasn't a spiteful move that the dairy manufacturing building was demolished, though, as a new modern creamery building was built soon after on Discovery Drive, in West Campus. However, the facility was never actually used as a dairy manufacturing plant since another group needed it more and the dairy group lost funding. It's still a bitter issue to this day for many involved. This turned out to be the Electron Beam facility, a food irradiation facility that partnered with a private company called SureBeam. Unfortunately, food irradiation in general never took off because "consumer safety groups" (read: professional scaremongers) convinced the public with the false notion that food irradiation was bad ("it has radiation in the name! oh noes!") and SureBeam paid the price for it (going bankrupt in January 2004). After a second short-lived partnership with another food irradiation company and some internal shakeups that resulted in a lot of the TAMU employees leaving the facility, the electron beam facility was never utilized properly again. Hopefully we can get back to the electron beam facility another time, but the real end point was that A&M didn't have a creamery after the demo, and thus, no homemade ice cream. I don't even know if you can get Blue Bell on campus anymore: I haven't been inside Sbisa proper in at least a year, the two places that served Blue Bell: Common Grounds and Bernie's Café, have both closed.

The thing that burns the most is that LSU does still have a creamery and serves it at campus dining location (and yes, they too have Chartwells doing the dining). Are we going to let LSU make their own ice cream without having our superior version?

The answer is yes for the time being...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saber Inn

Saber Inn had a restaurant as well.

We mentioned Saber Inn with the Grapevine the other day, so it's high time we got started on this.

Sadly, if it wasn't for the fact that this had an attached restaurant that advertised to more than just who stayed at the hotel (Holiday Inn advertised the Mongolian House, later incarnations like Bronco's or Beckendorf's, not so much), we might not have known as much about it. Saber Inn (which, by the way, didn't have the Grapevine inside of it) was never very large. Its address was 701 Texas Avenue (a detail that didn't get in the scan for whatever reason), which is the same pad that Taco Cabana sits on nowadays. Thing was, the pad that Saber Inn sat on was the same size as Taco Cabana, which is of course quite small. I don't know when Taco Cabana showed up or when Saber Inn was razed...I'm guessing that it was built at the same time Two Pesos (a suspiciously similar Taco Cabana knockoff chain, which closed all stores after a successful lawsuit) closed. Two Pesos (not "Dos Pesos", as previously thought) wasn't located too far away (it was at the former Fitzwilly's).

EDIT 6/9/14: I discovered that by 1983, Saber Inn was gone and replaced with "Baker Street Restaurant & Bar".

Further Edit (7/24/14): Saber Inn lasted from 1957 to 1982. It had a clover-leafed swimming pool as well. Cleaned up post a bit and linked back to the Fitzwilly's post, but that's in need of a revamp too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mr. Gatti's on Northgate / Rao Drive Inn


One of the new restaurants of University Square was Mr. Gatti's (opening 1974), which had the tagline of "The best pizza in town (Honest)", and by all accounts, it was a decent pizza place. It had two levels, cold beer, and, as the ad above indicates, did have live entertainment (like a pre-fame Lyle Lovett). For nearly two decades, Mr. Gatti's thrived.

The "pizzamat", as indicated above, was a take-out pizza and beer building and had the address of 817 University Drive. It was roughly where the little drive-through ATM (First National Bank?) which was Mt. Aggie Snow Cones in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The pizzamat replaced, and had the same address as the "Rao Drive Inn", an extremely cool looking drive-in straight out of the 1950s, was closed and torn down in the early part of the 1970s.

"54" is scribbled on the side. Did it open in 1954? (from Historic Brazos County: An Illustrated Journey)


Anyone can tell you that for years there hasn't been a Mr. Gatti's on Northgate for some time, the building having been torn down and replaced by a Schlotzsky's circa 1997-1998.


Prior to dropping the "Deli" and adding Cinnabon. The patio has been expanded since then. From Stalworth's website.


By 1996, Mr. Gatti's (by now the only one left in town, the Bryan one having been closed for a time, it was now China Garden) finally was closed and replaced with Gattiland, as the ad below indicates (how do I know it's 1996? Check the bottom picture).


Gattiland wasn't anywhere near the old Mr. Gatti's, as it was in Bryan some miles up. It didn't even cater to the same clientele at all (though Mr. Gatti's arguably was heading this direction, a buffet wasn't offered in the 1970s), and the story of that restaurant from here on out would only get worse...

Edit 1/16/14: Added opening date, will make another update when Gattiland article is added.
2/14/14: link added

Friday, May 24, 2013

Other Buildings Demolished for Northpoint Crossing

When the Plaza Hotel article was cut and re-edited, an allusion was made that I would be returning to the cut material eventually. All these buildings are gone, incorporated (well, most of them, at least) into the Northpoint Crossing development.



Represented by the 1 on the map was a gas station. It was originally a Gulf station, opening too long after the Ramada, with a garage. It was kept relatively updated, with the only known change being turned into a Chevron in the early 1990s, which gave it a re-do on the trim from red-orange tiles to the 1990s Chevron blue-and-gray. It was finally shut down in the mid-2000s and torn down circa 2007. I don't remember the garage specifically, however--it's possible that it was converted into a convenience store in the 1990s. Some older phone books refer to this as "Piper's Gulf (later "Chevron", of course) Service Center". The address of this was 420 Texas Avenue.

Courtesy "je"

2 was a mystery for me. You can see a picture here. This was 100,000 Auto Parts, which had the same address of Ramada Inn (410 Texas Avenue, which it had up to its demise).

I also recently took a picture of an old aerial of the area (so it's a bit low quality) here.


3 was built as a UtoteM convenience store, once extremely common across town and the state. It became a Circle K in 1984 with the buy-out of the chain. Later on by 2007, it became "Ink Dreams", and a few years later, "Oasis Pipes & Tobacco". The address was 1405 University Drive. I don't have the full history of the building, however. In July 2013, I discovered in 1995, it was listed as "Sterling Automotive". Since the lot of the former UtoteM is pretty small, it's likely that this was either just a showroom or the old parking lot behind it (as seen) was used for Sterling, and not for University Tower. Oasis moved to Eastgate after it was evicted.

4 was a Kettle at 1403 University Drive, dating back to at least 1980. Distinctive because the yellow and black P A N C A K E S sign, it closed sometime in the 1990s (It was open at least into 1998, so that's the date I'm going to go with) after being open since the early 1980s. While the Kettle signage disappeared several years before its demise, the PANCAKES sign (not unlike the Waffle House logo, which it's often confused with) was very distinctive.

Regarding these twoI have two Google Maps Street View photos, one from 2011 and one from 2007 (it shouldn't be too hard to tell which one is which). It also clearly shows the P A N C A K E S sign, so if you have any doubt that it was a Waffle House, you can dispel them, because we never had one and from the likes of it won't be getting one anytime soon (let's be realistic here).



Originally part of another development called North Park (and the building out of the rest of Meadowland Road), the Meadowland Apartments (6) were (likely) built in the 1980s and were owned by the same owners of University Tower at one time. I'm guessing these were closed in 2005-2006, but I don't know for sure. I believed them to be located at 701 University, but later evidence suggested that they had individual addresses per building, which I haven't found yet. Remarkably, a few still stand: I guess that Northpoint Crossing never managed to get all of them. At least one of them was demolished for the "Home2 Suites by Hilton" hotel.

As for North Park, 5 was the only remaining house left on the block, 125 Meadowland. This was taken out for the redevelopment. It looks like it had a second structure behind it: possibly additional bedrooms. I have buddies who live in Eastgate, wherein at least two live in the main house, and at least one lives in a shack behind the main house.



Finally, we have 7, a 1960s-era building has seen a few things come and go. The address was 100 Texas Avenue South.

The mid-mod building started out as the Dutch Kettle Snack Bar (*not* related to the Kettle restaurant on University) there at Hensel and Texas, and probably one of the first (if not the first) 24 hour eateries in College Station. Alas, while other 24 hours eateries benefitted from the Plaza implosion such as Fuego and Denny's, this did not, as had been closed for years (even as the donut shop, which was decidedly NOT 24 hours). Eventually, by 1990, it was a Schlotzsky's Deli location (confirmed), and from the mid-1990s up to the mid-2000s, it was "Snowflake Donuts", which closed without much notice well prior to the demolition of the area.

The leasing office for Northpoint Crossing sits here and has apparently taken the address for its own.


Not mine, originally from a Brazos County history book




There were still even more on this block...more motels, a restaurant that you may have heard of on this blog, mini-golf, and more. That can be found here


updated 11/18/13
updated 6/7/14 with 2