Showing posts with label bar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bar. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nightlife at Doux Chene Apartments

See those stairs leading up to the second level in the main office building? That's the focus today here. (Google Maps Picture)


I originally wrote this in August 2014 and the text below reflects that, as well as an email/addition I got from the owners at the time. In April 2015, however, all this would change when it was sold and was rebranded as "Flats on 12", which so far over a year and a half later (August 2016) looks like the typical game apartments have run in town, change the name, give a repaint, cheap remodel, jack up the rent. This also added a lighted sign on the front of the building and also changed the entrance to the former restaurant/nightclub area (I think it's supposed to be a clubhouse now). This is a bit disappointing because Doux Chene was famously the holdout in these sorts of shenanigans. And now back to our original post...

First off, this is not an apartments review site. Nor is the title supposed to be some sort of snarky joke. Most of the content here is long out of date. If you came via Google looking for information regarding the actual apartments as they stand today, move on. Or not. I could always use visitors here. So, Doux Chene Apartments (I think it's pronounced "doe shane", though I'm not entirely sure, and the translation is "sweet oak") is one of your typical run-down apartment complexes from the 1970s, except it's more than that.

First off, Doux Chene was designed to be trendy, trendy enough that they would actually advertise themselves as "country club apartment living", and trendy enough to be the first true mixed-use building in the City of College Station.

From circa 1974 to late 1970s, it was "Mansard House". Mansard House, despite being the upper level of an apartment complex on the edge of town (sure, why not?) was one of the really nice places in town. Live entertainment, seafood, lobster, lamb, and more were all on the menu.


This was the kind of apartment complex Doux Chene used to be, and apparently wasn't one of a kind...the Chateaux Dijon apartments, known for when George W. Bush lived there in the early 1970s, was also the same theme and layout, but unlike Doux Chene, managed to upkeep itself quite nicely.

By 1980, while Doux Chene was still successful, Mansard House had closed and was replaced with Studio 2818, an actual discotheque.

Source: personal collection


Later night clubs included Dallas: The Night Club...


...and finally, Scandals.


Most of these are sadly relatively undocumented, only whispers across forums and other sources, including stories of ladies' nights with male strippers, with men being let in after the women had several drinks. Perhaps it's better that some of the craziness that went on is better left unsaid (I'm sure there were many regrettable nights).

Doux Chene of course is also a rather unlucky apartment complex, such as a tornado in 2006 striking a building, necessitating its demolition, or the fact that the building caught fire some months later due to improper wiring (it's also worth noting that anytime I read about an apartment complex fire, it used to be that there was a good chance it was Doux Chene).

If there are any restaurants/clubs I missed, or you have any memories of them, please write in the comments.

Since writing this post, we (I) was contacted by a management representative of Doux Chene Apartments, whose name has been redacted for identity purposes.

"While your account of the history of the complex is mostly accurate, I take issue with the assertion that Doux Chene has not 'managed to upkeep itself.' While the property did fall into a state of disrepair in the late 80's to the early 90's, the current management has put a lot of effort (and money) into repairs and renovations and enhancements. While there is no hiding the fact that the property is 40 years old, it is in very good condition for a property of its age.

Doux Chene has indeed encountered more than its share of challenges.

A lightning strike destroyed 4 apartment units, severely damaged a dozen others. No injuries, a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

Severe hail required the replacement of nearly a dozen roofs, another quarter of a million dollars.

The tornado in 2006 actually destroyed two buildings, damaged several roofs, caused water damage in nearly 80 apartments, required replacement of over 160 central air conditioning systems. Total casualty loss, just over $4 million.

And then the small fire that happened shortly thereafter... The fire marshal initially indicated it was electrical, but upon further investigation it was found to be caused by a resident's cigarette butt rolling into a gap at the edge of his balcony.

Through all of this, we have been blessed in multiple ways. Firstly, there have been no injuries as a result of any of these incidences. Also, our insurance company has consistently paid in a timely fashion, and we have been fully made whole. We have also been given the reassurance, that no matter what we face, we will be able to come through it. I won't get all preachy here, but our faith in God has been strengthened through these difficulties.

Some ads were also sent as part of this, including Doux Chene hosting some wild parties (it's hard to imagine even the student-oriented apartments specifically hosting a keg party today)


As wild partying obviously upset the neighbors, a nearby apartment complex offered a shotgun as among the freebies you could get for signing a lease.


- 9/3/14



Friday, June 6, 2014

301 College Main

Imagine an old white stucco type building here.


Here it is...Rebel Draft House as it appeared in the mid-1990s (I have a color version but it's substantially more blurry). Anyway, as it appears here it was Second Chance Resale operated by the Salvation Army. Before that it was White Auto Parts, which closed sometime in the 1980s.

Of course, it doesn't look like that now. In the late 1990s, the city invested money in Northgate and tore down (I'm saying "torn down" as the footprint is slightly different to be considered "extensively renovated" unless someone can say differently) the old building and erected "Northgate Center", with one of its earlier tenants being New York Sub (not sure on the spelling, nor if it was the same as the New York Subs in Southwest Crossing, though the time frame suggests that they were the same) in suite A. Well, that lasted a few years before it gave way to bars entirely (one bar actually).

I took this shot, which I pictured here in May 2014 looking east (from the other side of the building). While RBD has the distinction of serving me my first beer on Northgate (and that was only because I was on the right side of campus when that bomb threat happened in fall 2012), I don't care for it as it, like all the other bars, crank the music up so loud it's hard to hear anything (the bars probably had their best afternoon ever).

In 2011, this was Luckie's Ice House (and before that, "The Drink", apparently). Between the time as Luckie's and RBD, RBD didn't do much more than just throw the Luckie's sign away. I'm sure I'm missing other tenants, though.

Anyway, as for what it looks now from (roughly) the same angle, I took this picture in June 2014. Big change, huh? The Chase bank sign is just an ATM.


Updated October 2015 with fixed errors and links.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Northgate: The Businesses of Boyett

This post will show some of the businesses of Boyett Road in detail, except, of course, the Blackwater Draw Brewing Company. The problem is that because of the way that tenants absorb each other and the spotty nature of the city directory, it's been exceedingly difficult to figure out what actually went where.

The current tenants in the here and now are the following:
103 - O'Bannon's Taphouse (an Irish-themed pub, if the name didn't give it away)
109 - Paddock Lane
113 - Tipsy Turtle

It's been difficult to find out buildings about this strip simply because they change addresses. For example, there was a Marine recruiters at 105 Boyett in the mid-1990s (likely absorbed into O'Bannon's), and even until the late 2000s there was "Pinky's New School Tattoos" at 113 Boyett. Here a few more ads for your viewing pleasure.

One of the countercultural "back to nature" stores inspired by the late Whole Earth Catalog, this ad is from 1985 and is still around in Houston, Austin, and other major cities...just not in BCS.

Almost a decade earlier, you could get a motorcycle there (University Cycling).

Such a way to respect the elderly. Tact, it's useful!


At 109 Boyett, there was a small café here in the 1980s.

Doesn't sound like a bad place, but I like eating outside when the weather's nice, which sadly doesn't happen very often.

Gizmo's Cafe & Bar: it's from an old copy of InSite Magazine, this is now the site of Paddock Lane. Gizmo's was not the first tenant here, but it's what I have information for.

Above Paddock Lane and Tipsy Turtle is some 1-bedroom apartments, located at 214 Patricia.

Other tenants I've picked up from city directories:
107 - Boyett Properties (this was actually an office)
113 - U.S. Marine Corps (recruiters have been around since at least from 1986 to 2005...and to back it up about the directories being spotty, it wasn't listed in the 2000 one--in 1995, this was the only one on the block). [EDIT 6-21-14: This was "BJ's Package Store" in 1980]
105 - The Cue (found in '96 directory)
103 - Hole in the Wall (2000 directory, I believe it was interconnected with Shadow Canyon)

By no means is the list complete! If I missed anything ("Ozone", "Vertigo" being among the not-here), please mention it in the comments!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before, During, and After Texadelphia


From Jennifer Cowley/University of Ohio (used with permission).


This is another one of the many articles here that involve a revolving door of tenants, with some interest paid that it went from being fairly run down (but at least useful) to fairly run down again. The point of this story focuses on the single most important tenant that was ever in this spot, even if didn't last very long at all.

For what it's worth, I did manage to go to the Texadelphia in Rice Village twice in the late 2000s and from what I remember, it had its own brand of cheesesteaks (not just roast beef and cheese, it was steak) and served with chips and salsa, complete with a mustard-based sauce that would put Layne's to shame.

Going back in time, the Promenade was not there, only Patricia Street, which instead of dead-ending near Freebirds, continued all the way to Boyett. A small building contained a UtoteM convenience store and other stores by the late 1960s.

All of the buildings at the corner at Patricia and College Main dated back to the 1940s. The buildings included 201 College Main was home to the (by 1995, at least, though it hadn't departed that long ago) former Northgate Athletic Club (though it had been Kinko's for many years, dating back to at least 1980, FabricCare Cleaners before that, which was another laundry establishment, "A&M Laundry & Dry Cleaning"). Also, in the 1970s briefly, it was also the home of Victor Caudillo's "Victor's Boot & Shoe Repair", but because I don't have any resources prior to 1980 (that's a drive to Bryan).

About the same perspective in that Texadelphia / Logans' post as well.


The other two buildings (317-319 Patricia) were eventually combined into one building, the tenant being Chicken Basket by the late 1990s, a fried chicken (and ice cream, looks like) outlet owned by the Sopasakis (as my research on 301 Patricia showed), was owned by George Sopasakis as well and was not given compensation for relocation. No wonder the Sopasakis disliked the city so much.

If this was still around today, this would definitely be a lunch option for me.

317 Patricia was originally A&M General Life Insurance Company back in '62, McLaughlin's of Corpus Christi in 1975 (hair salon) and 319 Patricia was home to "Custom House" in 1973 (a women's clothing & gift shop, inc. jewelry and macrame) and Pizza Express in 1983 (pizza in Northgate was plentiful in the 1980s). The buildings may have been combined as early as 1984, as 317 Patricia was Emilio's Pizza, which documents listed as being in the same spot as Pizza Express, even though they had different addresses.

Of course, the existence of the restaurant was always a source of controversy, as the short version is they bought some property from an elderly couple for far less than it was worth and sold to Texadelphia at a good profit.

For whatever reason, Texadelphia Sports & Sandwiches as it was then known, did not open in 1998 with the rest of the Northgate Promenade, instead opening in summer 2000. This was likely because of the renovations to the building. It looks like that the original 1940s buildings may still be partially intact...Loopnet said it was renovated in 2000, and a College Station document discussed "facade renovations" to 317-319 Patricia, and compounding this is the second arched area toward the back of Texadelphia, hiding the differences between the roof heights (on Google Maps you can see that this is indeed correct).

In 2003, facing a combination of problems, citing high rent and parking-related problems, Texadelphia owner Willie Madden abruptly decided to close, moving the store to The Woodlands area, as the Houston area was where the owner had more stores (today, there are no more Texadelphia restaurants in Houston anymore, isn't that a shame?).

It became a bar ("Logan's On Campus", despite being a block north of the boundaries) soon after, saying goodbye to a rather neat restaurant designed to make Northgate trendier and instead, arguably, making it worse overall. Now, it could be also argued that College Station wanted to make Northgate into its own version of Austin's Sixth Street, and Logan's did have a sister bar in Austin...Logan's On Sixth.

In 2012 it was sued by a certain steakhouse chain--and then a week or so later the restaurant closed for reasons supposedly unrelated to the suite, but it never reopened.

I tried to make it the same angle, as this clearly shows I am not a photographer.

Here's a picture of what the building looks like now. Logan's has done some minor changes to the building, those trees grew up, and a stop sign has been placed abruptly in the shot because part of College Main was closed off and became a pedestrian mall (and they still placed a brand-new, full-sized stop sign there). Over the Christmas 2013 break, it changed its name to "Logie's On Campus", likely because of that same lawsuit.

One more thing: the pictures from 1995 aren't very good. Better prints (but in black and white) can be seen at Project HOLD here (Chicken Basket is linked, navigate back to find 201 College Main).

This was originally two separate articles, one published in May 2013 and a second article created in September 2013 to further elaborate on it. In late 2015, these were combined back into the original post, which was almost completely rewritten, including upgrading links.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Northgate: University Drive


Flickr photo from "treyerice", showing Northgate as it was. Regrettably, they took out on-street parking a few years back.

This has always been one of the posts I originally wanted to make for a long while, cobbling together various pieces and trying to decide what I wanted to do. At one time, I considered "Northgate: Urban Core or Student Wasteland", and a SEPARATE one for College Main. I also wanted to call a post "Requiem for a Loupot's", too, and the Loupot's building stayed on the page before it got its own page as one of the "post script" posts. Eventually it ballooned into a full fledged post on almost everything that was bounded by Wellborn, University, College Avenue, and the Bryan city limits, but it got too unruly and I eventually started to re-focus it to the University stretch. Even that got out of hand, so check out the new directory page. The result will be just a shell to be able to make comments on the page, though I will likely write full posts for those that have more information than little more than a picture (so, something like one of the bars with constantly change, likely, Chipotle, likely not). Please note that because of this change, there are a number of items here that are out of date. You can write comments saying that things like Notes-n-Quotes, Schotzi's, or Basil Whippet's are gone...I am aware of this.

One of the items I found after this post was originally published, was a copy of "Northgate Historical Resources", which cleared up some misunderstandings on where everything was.

This post goes west to east on University Drive from Wellborn Road to College Avenue and begins at the underpass. Most of us can't remember life without it. It was the first (to my knowledge, and do correct me if I'm wrong) railroad bypass project of the county, but it wasn't always that way. Originally it was "Sulphur Springs Road" (not to be confused to the one in Bryan), and had a railroad spur paralleling it. The overpass was added in the 1960s, after the abandonment of I-GN Railroad (that's why the railroad is dead-on to you when approaching from the south). I wanted to add a photo from Project HOLD of the overpass when it was being built, and there is one elsewhere on this blog which I'll add at a later date.

For me, a trip down University Drive usually involved zipping down the long Yield lane down toward University (which is no longer, even more so since they wrecked Dulie Bell, passing the Deluxe Diner, which often included its menu in the quasi-dining guide I got from the George Bush Library (you can see a recreation of it below), passing by the large building that later had Schotzi's (plus "Skybar", which is owned by Schotzi's) and Zapatos Cantina. Years ago it once had a large DoubleDave's advertisement but DoubleDave's has moved on. Although there are no longer DoubleDave's off campus easily accessible (best you could try for is Texas Avenue Crossing way over at the golf course end), there are DoubleDave's in Texas and beyond.

The first building on this stretch to still exist is Chimy's Cerveceria at 203 University Drive, which was formerly the aforementioned Deluxe, as covered by our new (1/16) post. The numbering starts at 203, since what would be 201, "Boyett Distr. Co." was demolished for what would be the overpass. Looking at a site like Historic Aggieland shows what appears to be a gas station, and apparently it was indeed a Magnolia Oil gas station, which was the origin of the "Pegasus" logo of Mobil.



The "Onion Ring"



Next to the Deluxe Diner is a building with metal siding, 205 University. While it was an eatery called M&M Grill (not to be confused with A&M Grill of the distant past) in the mid-1990s, it was later the flagship location of DoubleDave's PizzaWorks, until it moved off of Northgate for good in 2006. Today, the old DoubleDave's sign can still be visible under the new Schotzi's bar name, with the "Sky Bar" above. You can see in pictures on Yelp, it used to be Skyybar. Schotzi's has live music, which it usually advertises.

Directly next to Schotzi's was The Ranch (209 University), which actually filed in the New Development as "Aquarium Bar", but that never came to past. This used to be Aggieland Flowers & Gifts until around the mid-2000s.

Next to that was Zapatos Cantina at 211 University. Zapatos closed in spring 2013 after Chimy's opened (probably because it was better overall for a similar menu/theme) but one thing that many people don't know is Zapatos Cantina was in fact the original DoubleDave's PizzaWorks location on Northgate (but not the original-original, that is the modern day Coco Loco). Like Bill's next to it, this was once "Don's Barber Shop" in the early 1970s.

A long time ago. I dare say the pizza rolls were better than they are now (Project HOLD)



There was also a barber, "Bill's Style Shop" at 215 University but eventually Bill retired and the space was absorbed into Zapatos Cantina, which eventually became Wobbly Monkey. The original Zapatos section (DoubleDave's) was not part of the deal, but Wobbly Monkey never lasted more than two semesters because the owner sold out. It is now Northgate Juice Joint, which will use part of the outdoor space for an urban garden. Interesting.

Before Bill's, in the early 1970s, this was "Andre's Bicycle Shop".

No alcohol served here, then or now.


At the corner of Boyett and University, where a new stoplight is being built to be the "main entrance" of Northgate, it's a pretty trashy intersection as it stands now. As of this writing, Boulevard 217, the latest in a revolving door of trashy dance halls, and besides, that nasty wood siding replaced the finest (and only) example of Art Deco this city ever had. Read more there for the history of that building.

The other side of Boyett holds a Citgo, which used to be an E-Z Mart. Read more about that here.

One of the cool things about the core of Northgate is that it resembled a bit of an "Old Western" town. Unfortunately, since it was built in the 20th century as mentioned before, FM 60 was not a land of horses, shootouts, and the occasional hanging back in the old days, but as a kid growing up in College Station, it gave it some semblance of something different. Unfortunately, in 2012, the city slapped up a cheap-looking pedestrian barrier, making the area less appealing to the eye.

Information on the current "The Backyard" restaurant and the former Fitzwilly's can be found here, the 303 University tenant.

305 University
Next to The Backyard is a Northgate staple, the Dry Bean Saloon. Like its name suggests, the front resembles something from a different time: a time of horses, shootouts, and the occasional hanging. The ugly pedestrian barrier brings down the appearance of the whole area (as if Northgate wasn't already a bit unsightly).

A shot bar that doesn't allow anyone under 21 in, the building wasn't Dry Bean Saloon until the early 1990s, as prior to it was Sticky Chin's, an ice cream parlor which opened sometime in the late 1980s (and was still open in 1990). At one time, this was a hobby store ("Hobby World of Texas", '72)

307-309 University
"The Chicken" has been a Northgate fixture since 1974. Prior to that was the ""Aggie Den", a pool hall, where (supposedly, since we only have a forum thread mentioning this) you could buy and sell pornographic magazines (they covered the walls, after all), watch porn, or smoke (the last one being a bit of a no-brainer, of course, everyone smoked inside back in the day). It was bought, cleaned up, renamed and played country by Don Ganter. It soon served alcohol, and the rest is history. There was a bar next door (Miranda's, a fern bar), the only major remnant of being it was a painting not covered up by wood (near the snake cage). This was added in 1982 where Dixie Chicken started serving hamburgers. Prior to this expansion, the Chicken only served cheese and summer sausage. Miranda's was at 309 University and the older of the two buildings.

The Aggie Den was not just a nickname for the Adult Arcade, an adult-oriented establishment in the upper level of the Loupot's building, which was raided (illegally, as it turned out later) by the DA. This I remember reading about in a newspaper archive, but the Adult Arcade was a much sleazier place (as in, almost exclusively X-rated films). It was indeed in that place since the late 1960s or early 1970s (as confirmed by a phone book), but did serve some sort of food, possibly summer sausage and cheese like Dixie Chicken did.

Between Dry Bean and Dixie Chicken is "Bottlecap Alley", a small area strewn with thousands of bottlecaps, many of which have rusted into dust due to rain (and urine).

Miranda's


311 University
Home to Duddley's Draw, owned by the same company as Dixie Chicken. It replaced a beer-and-pizza place called Ralph's Pizza back in the 1970s, and is known to be less of a "redneck" place than the Chicken is. This used to have the address of 313 University.

315-317 University
A bit more complicated. In the late 1980s, the space of 317 was Cow Hop (owned by Gideon's, see below), which had by then expanded to the adjacent (tiny) space of 315 University. However, it closed and moved out to University Square, leaving the combined space to a large bar called The Bullseye, which by 1995 closed and became two bars: "The Alley" (315) and "King of the Roadhouse" (317). Soon after, The Alley would become a bar called Coupe de Ville with the Cow Hop returning to its original space (by 1999). Both closed soon enough: Coupe De Ville was crushed by a lawsuit filed in the early 2000s when a young man who turned 21 died from alcohol poisoning. As it turns out, Coupe De Ville's drinks were extremely potent: all of them had names that bragged about how high they were in alcohol: names like "Bad Mother****er, Liquid Cocaine and DWI" (as says the Houston Press--and no, in the real bar, there were no blanking out obscenities). The Flaming Frog's Ass was mostly Everclear (190 proof), and a few contained 151-proof rum (three shots each). By the time police found him that morning, the man's blood alcohol level was .48.

Eventually, both became bars: there was "Bar 315" which closed in March 2012, and Mad Hatters, which remains today. Many an Aggie in the 1980s and 1990s remember getting a "Cow Pie with Fries" from Cow Hop. TABC records mention a place at 317 called "Big Pauly's Garlic Room" (Goodfellas reference?), but I don't think it ever opened (voluntarily cancelled TABC license--would've opened sometime in late 2001 or early 2002).

Sure, this is for the spin-off at Culpepper Plaza and not actually of the Northgate original, but it's a better copy overall from what I have.


In the early 1970s, 315 was "Sound Shop" and 317 was "Burger Hut".

319-327 University
Freebirds World Burrito, Wells Fargo, and Texas Aggieland Bookstore occupy the next building over. At 321 University, there was the original location of "Charlie's Grocery", the first grocery store in College Station. Also known as "Luke and Charlie's", the grocery store wouldn't impress anyone today, and by the time it disappeared in the mid-1980s, it was a joke compared to supermarkets such as the Skaggs Alpha Beta down the road. It was also becoming increasingly irrelevant as similarly-sized UtoteM convenience stores sprouted around the area. Some space was ceded to Texas Aggie Bookstore (327). At one time in the 1980s prior to Freebirds, there was a bar/restaurant called Billy Jack's (319), which also fed off of the old space from Charlie's. Freebirds World Burrito arrived in 1991. Briefly, Texas Aggie Bookstore assumed the old Charlie's space, before it became Wells Fargo. Today, Texas Aggie Bookstore is the Texas AggieLand Bookstore, forced by a name change.

In the early 1970s, they were all small tenants: 319 was Godfrey's Restaurant, 321 was still Charlie's Grocery, 323 was Varsity Barber Shop, 325 was Jeans n Things, and 327 was Texas Aggie Bookstore (much, much smaller).


329 University
Beyond that is Basil Whippet's Pub & Apothecary Lounge, a bar that opened in 2010. Basil Whippet's used to be, briefly, the rap-oriented BMO's in 2009, and before that The Library. While having a bar with a name like that is a classic pun and a convenient excuse to go out drinking, The Library closed in 2008 or 2009 due to poor sales. It also had problems when allegations of racism surfaced. That being said, The Library had a surprisingly long life for a non-"main strip" bar, opening in 2000. Before that, it was "Crooked Path", before that before THAT it was "Equinox" (early to mid 1990s, I'm told) and before that, Northgate Café. Northgate Café did have live music.

From at least 1980 up to the early 1990s, it was Farmer's Market Sandwich Shop, a limited menu version (it later became full line) of Farmer's Market Bakery and Delicatessen in Bryan. It sold sandwiches, soups, salads, and fresh baked goods before becoming Gideon's Farmer's Market (adding catered meats to the Bryan location and pasta, pastries, and beer to the Northgate location--free delivery to dorms, too), and then closing the Northgate location, which became Equinox (the Bryan location closed later). It was somewhere in the long history of being Gideon's/Farmer's Market that it absorbed 331 University, the next to last home to On the Double copying. The building has had a few exterior updates; unfortunately, I don't have pictures I can readily show you (yet).

Mid-1970s, too!

Prior to Farmer's Market, the space was a place called "The Tavern", with the upstairs split between an insurance company and brokers.

As of November 2015, coverage of the Loupot's that was on this page can be found here.

Across College Main is the Sparks Building. Information on the Sparks Building can be found here, in the post linked.

409 University
There's a building that contains a Starbucks Coffee, Potbelly Sandwich Works, and Domino's Pizza, from right to left. Up until around the mid 2000s, the entire building was the University Bookstore (ANOTHER bookstore, yes). According to MyBCS, it closed in February 2006 and was replaced with the new stores by years-end. Though apparently Starbucks had replaced a jewelry store.

Summer 2013.

Just past 409 University is A&M United Methodist Church (417 University), which we'll take a closer look later on (even then, not much more than photos).

Aggieland Credit Union at 501 University Drive has been there for a long time, but it used to be Pizza Hut (yes, even though Pizza Hut is still there at University and Texas). Cycles Etc. (505 University Drive) used to be a different bicycle shop (Cycle Spectrum, apparently), though Cycles Etc. has been in the same place since '98. FedEx Office (509 University) used to be FedEx Kinko's, and before that Kinko's. It also looks like part of the building was demolished and rebuilt later. Apparently it used to be a large patio for a Mexican restaurant/bar that used to be here. I do have pictures of at least some of these, but I'm choosing not to add them for now.

601 University Drive
This once was a more interesting building. As of this writing, this is now a very large Subway, but it wasn't always that way. From what I can tell, this place was built in the late 1980s. In terms of recent history, this was once the home of Rusty Taco, which used to be Papa John's until about 2009-2010. I snapped this picture in 2011 that has some sort of "Treats" listed. The Subway has always been there. Rusty Taco on the other hand, was a 24 hour taqueria, but the summer hours were severely restricted in summer 2012, turning it into a mostly lunch-based option, and it closed around the time the fall 2012 semester started.


Prior to Rusty Taco's move in

I don't have a menu of the Rusty Taco (I remember seeing it on the Internet, but can't find it).

The Rusty Taco, as mentioned above, lasted from about October 2011 to September 2012, and Yelp! is the best resource if you'd like to read more (and it pictures of the front, too!). It was a cheap taco place--cheaper than Fuego--and it showed--the tacos were $2-$3 each and were full of meat, with the flagship item being the "Rusty Taco", a taco filled with reddish-colored meat. It was a chain that had locations in the Dallas area (and has two in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, oddly enough), and put in the old Papa John's, even incorporating a garage door in the restaurant in lieu of windows, creating a hybrid open-air restaurant. The beer was cheap ($1 Pearl), and it was open 24 hours.

According to a guy who worked at the Daily Ruckus (not anymore since that also closed), Rusty Taco's pricing was such that breakfast tacos were cheaper (usually egg-based than meat-based) but the profit margins were much thinner. Not that they were grotesquely overpriced--the tortillas were small and tasted no better than what you could find in a grocery store--but for whatever reason, it didn't work out. Hours were severely cut back in the summer of 2012, and it perished shortly after school started for the 2012-2013 year.

The intriguing part is the fact that this building was once known as (on paper at least) as the University Food Court (from the New Development listings). Since two restaurants (much less one) is hardly a food court, the building once had THREE options: Baskin-Robbins, Little Caesar's, and Subway. I did recently recover a black and white photo that had all three. It should also be noted that Smoothie King took over in the late 1990s ever so briefly (also a bit funny since Papa John's and Smoothie King have Underground outlets), but that eventually disappeared. I don't remember being inside of Papa John's, did they have an eat-in area?

609 University
The Shell used to have the "old Shell" logo. It also has gas priced ten cents higher than elsewhere. The Zip'N here has been around for many years.


701 University
Notes-n-Quotes has been in its current location since 1992. It used to be an Exxon station, and that was still listed in a 1989 directory (as "Dean's Exxon"). Behind it is Jin's Asian Café and Lippman Music. It's possible that the Exxon suffered and/or closed due to a road widening.

Next we have the late BB&T site, its legacy finished after decades of bank use, the the Rise at Northgate (that's a link back to our post on it, not their website) and its CVS at the bottom of it, and across the street, a Taco Bell, which we covered here.

Behind Taco Bell lies what was University Square, a shopping center largely untouched from its groundbreaking in the early 1970s, until very recently. Texas A&M students lost the opportunity to eat at Fat Burger or Hebert's Cajun Food, an incredibly sad double blow, since both had been there since the early 1990s.

There's a McDonald's, which includes a studying area part of the restaurant (well, DESIGNED for studying anyway--it's basically a different dining room) and built on the site of the first McDonald's in the area, and a Chipotle, the last building in the block not owned by University Square/Legacy Point. The Chipotle (815 University Drive) used to be a Mobil gas station until its demolition in the late 1990s/early 2000s for a Chipotle. I always thought it was cool back circa 2003 how McDonald's owned both the McDonald's chain and the Chipotle chain (they later spun it off). This we do not have a picture for.

This is worth noting because Chipotle and Freebirds started out very similarly, except it was Chipotle who had the angel investor (McDonald's) that turned into a national brand. One wonders if it was Freebirds, not Chipotle, that McDonald's bought.

There's even a Chipotle on University Drive East, near the bypass, but they're the only two in town.

And that's it. Sure, a good other portion of Northgate isn't covered, including Church Avenue, but we did cover Boyett. College Main businesses I have put back up (and it was expanded), and Church Avenue is covered elsewhere (that did have originally-cut material).

v53 (9/20/16): Removed the entry for what was the BB&T due to another article outsource.
v52 (1/22/16): Rebuilt intro paragraph to outsource Chimy's and some other things.
v51 (11/1/15): Removed Loupot's as it received its own post.
v50 (9/20/15): Removed 609 University (the Shell) to be on the new directories page, announced further cuts.

For the rest of the updates that used to be listed here, please visit this link.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Campus Theater


A much, much, better version of this 1989 shot is found here. This version is from TexasEscapes.


217 University Drive

The Campus Theater opened in Northgate in 1940, on the corner of Boyett and University. It was the first theater in College Station, and ended up lasting a very long time. Done in an art deco style and with a single screen (it had a balcony and cry room, too!), it survived sometime into the mid to late 1980s as competition forced it out of business (or maybe the Schulmans, which owned and built it, closed it in '85, along with their theaters in downtown Bryan. Makes sense in the timeline). (Here is an awesome shot of the cinema not too long after opening, but I don't have permission to post it).

After the theater began to deteriorate, around 1995 it finally reopened as Shadow Canyon, which soon after gave it a dreadful makeover by covering over much of the building in wood to give it a country-western theme, and that's been the type of tenant of it's been ever since. Shadow Canyon did well initially, but within a decade, they were out, after they started charging a cover and used gimmicks like wet t-shirt contests to gain attendance. Next up was Midnight Rodeo, which still has locations in San Antonio and Amarillo (an Austin location has closed since 2013). But the College Station location did not last nearly as long as Shadow Canyon, as it opened in early 2006 and closed by summer 2007. (There was another location in Katy Mills in Katy that closed about the same time, and was replaced with Circuit City, bet that went well for them). In 2008 (at least I think it was 2008), it became Daisy Dukes, owned by the Dallis brothers, which was a country-western dance hall. As you can see from a Panaramio picture below, it's obviously the same building, but horrible things have been done to it (sorry I lack a better picture).


Panoramio user rahulatiitd


So the building was clearly mauled, but it got worse. In spring 2013, Daisy Dukes took advantage of the upper level the original building had and opened rooftop seating right above the marquee, with seating and televisions. This was not only ugly but also raised the question if the circa 1940 roof clearly not designed to support tons of people would collapse one day (then again, these sorts of things were done with all sorts of redundancies). By November, it was renamed to Duke's, and by summer 2014 changed hands to The Tap's owners. Prior to this time, there was a lot of drama with the Dallis family including squatting in the Café Eccell building, DUI arrests, and the fact that a former manager of DD's (and an estranged brother, at least publicly) was arrested for something more major, and while initially The Tap talked about the space becoming "No Name Saloon" (which was just a temporary name and never actually on the marquee, the closest to that being when they were changing signs).

Their Twitter page actually "borrowed" the same Campus Theater page I had linked to (and I am absolutely sure they saw this page), but not only did they not restore the facade (not that I expected them to do so at all but the opportunity was there) it just remained a trashy dance hall, this time named Boulevard 217.

As a "parting shot", here's a from-the-back-seat picture I took of it on the night of October 30, 2014.

Horrible picture, I know, but it gets the point across



Rewrite 2015.

* This was cited from a link from The Eagle (now dead), but the URL indicated it was the June 8 2007 issue, if that helps.