Showing posts with label demolished. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demolished. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Café Eccell's Former Domain


Taken by me, on the last day Café Eccell was legally operating on the city's lease, January 14th, 2014


A few years ago, I showed you the former Luby's, which as of this writing isn't updated yet (when it is, I'll do a quick update on this page to remove that disclaimer), which is where Eccell is located today.

For a number of years, though, Café Eccell was located at the corner of Church Avenue and Wellborn, 101 Church Avenue. The building of Café Eccell, as plain and kind of ugly as it was, used to house the city's first city hall and jail back in the 1940s (built 1947). The city hall moved out in 1970 when a new building was built, and I'm not sure of what it was used for later (the police station was also in Northgate during those days, though not that building). The city held onto the lease and in 1989, it reopened as a restaurant, Café Eccell, which featured a classier, "adult" atmosphere and food that the rest of Northgate lacked, and still tends to lack today.

The first incarnation of Café Eccell closed permanently in March 2014 a few months after its lease ran out (why the city never locked them out is unknown). The restaurant opened in 1989, and after changing of hands to the Dallis family completely around 1991, the restaurant continued for many years. The food was also plagued by inconsistency in its latter days as well as the drama involving the Dallis brothers (a.k.a. Eccell Group), the developers, and the community as a whole.

A few months later the building was wrecked for The Domain at Northgate apartment building, which is only four stories, occupies the whole block, and includes retail opportunities, though only one is currently open (4.0 Cuts Barber Salon, opened spring 2016). The building itself was ready in time for the fall 2015 move-in season, and for a time had a leasing office in the former Cycles Etc. on University Drive.

Of course, the Domain was not the first development to try to redevelop CE, it was to house "Gameday Centers College Station" circa 2004, a large multi-story tower (about 7-8 stories). Gameday Centers was largely doomed to begin with: the company was building luxury condos for big-money donors to stay in on game weekends, but the asking price of $500,000 a condo was too much* (it would be a better value to buy a house in the Traditions subdivision, which is what many have done), negotiations with the city broke down, and rather than a first phase done by August 2007 and completion by December 2008*, it was canned. The center would've had 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and had even signed a 10-year lease with Café Eccell as part of the agreement*.

*Unfortunately, since this page was originally published, one of the links I had for this page has gone dead and I have been unable to relocate it, as the Batt link is dead and Archive.org does not have it. Likewise the links for the other links seem to be lost.

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).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few Demolished Southgate Area Houses

REMOVED FROM INDEX NOVEMBER 2015



Back in spring 2011, I noticed that there were old homes at the northwest corner of the Welsh and Holleman intersection (catty-corner to the Checkers, of course) being razed for smaller, student-oriented-looking homes. Unfortunately, in my rush to screen shot the Google Maps Street View, I didn't accurately write down the address numbers even seen up there, but they were run-down duplexes nonetheless at this address. It would've been pretty cool if I could do a photo address map like Arch-Ive.org does, but oh well. That's just the way things are.

I had made this post back in 2011 but didn't publish it, publishing it only now to get it out there, and to fulfill part of the purpose of this blog never really explored: to add houses, too. However, there's not a whole lot of houses (maybe a few) that are really notable of being added: there's a house in the Southwood Valley area with red pipes and other stuff, but that's about it.

The "raze and rebuild" trend has been accelerated in recent years as gentrification pushes south, but this is what I captured.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dulie Bell on a Rainy Day

Another building bites the dust. Built in 1942 as the USDA Building, this building survived just over 70 years before meeting the wrecking ball. While it was definitely a landmark at its prime location at University and Wellborn, it wasn't loved but still operated as classrooms and offices into fall 2013.


While I did go in fall 2013, I didn't take any pictures (to my knowledge, and regret), but I enjoyed the "treats" I did find: the bathroom featured separate taps for hot and cold water.

I'm not entirely sure of why they demolished Dulie Bell. It was old, to be certain, but it had gotten a fresh coat of paint and relatively new carpets, so unless the university has something up their sleeve, there was some serious problem with the building itself that was unable to be fixed without major investment, like plumbing, electrical, or foundation (Special Services Building was razed for that reason, and never utilized again until over a decade later when a basketball court was put there).

Since the front of the building directly fronts the ramps to University and is difficult to get a picture of, I'll have to resort to other pictures. The top one is from the official map of TAMU, the bottom one is from Historic Aggieland.




Editor's Note: Be prepared to see new or updated content every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fort Shiloh

It would be fair to say that the contrived "fort in the wilderness" theme was played well. (See below for source)

2528 S. Texas Avenue

Some years ago, when this blog was younger, I had an idea to compile several different "dead restaurants" into what I called "Tales of Defunct Restaurants". Most of these were eventually split up, with the name kept alive through old URLs on the site. When I broke up Tales of Defunct Restaurants I, I mentioned that I would add a real post on Fort Shiloh, and this was the result.

Until around 2005, the overgrown sign of this restaurant (Fort Shiloh Steakhouse, though some phone books listed it as the Fort Shiloh Grille) could be seen as well as some wooden teepees, with a (much older) building in the back. I don't know the exact history of the restaurant, but from this link, which shows the demolished restaurant, it says that it was opened as an agricultural co-op (Shiloh Club) in what was Shiloh, a (very small) community established in the late 1800s. I don't know when the building was built, but it was an era when the land was farmland (whether it was a considered a part of Shiloh or College Station, I don't know). Before opening as a restaurant in 1976, it had most recently been a dance hall (see link above). If I got my facts straight, the restaurant was owned by Ken Martin Restaurant Group (owning numerous restaurants) and shut down in and around 1996 (per the Eagle article). If I remember right, one of the people involved in the creation was a guy who works in Sysco now (I can't remember his name, I think he was the manager) and served with the restaurant for years (as a sidenote, the guy who worked at Ken Martin's Safari Grill in Bryan was a long-runner as well, with 38 years of experience), but had to quit because the restaurant was apparently too successful and put a strain on his family. From the comments and confirmed, the name of the manager was Joe Ruiz, but searching his name with Sysco turns up no results (guess he hasn't set up a LinkedIn account).

The above picture is from Project HOLD, which have other photos in and around Fort Shiloh, though regrettably none of the teepees or the sign.

From what everything I've heard, it was a rather nice place in its heyday. Here's a comment from the original TODR thread:

Back in high school, I washed dishes at the Fort Shiloh Steakhouse. At the time, it was one of the more fancy local restaurants (filet mignon, anyone?). Sorry that a local landmark closes and is replaced by a dozen chain restaurants from Dallas/Houston.

Additionally, soon after I originally posted this post in 2013, on November 4th I found a 1980s phone book ad that further backs up it being Steakhouse. Note that despite the fancy surroundings, it was a dry establishment even though the county was wet.


updated june 2017 with new link and slight rewrite

Monday, August 5, 2013

Skaggs Albertsons / Skaggs Alpha Beta / Jewel-Osco / Albertsons


January 2011. The Albertsons had been closed for about 13 years by this point.

301 South College Avenue

Rhetorical Question: Why am I re-posting this, when I have had it since 2011?

The old post was a mess. I had to keep updating it to have it make sense. It became quite antagonistic for reading. CS Roads and Retail is meant to be something you can read for infotainment, not a reference guide, and plus everything had different addresses.


The old Albertsons that once anchored the center confused and perplexed many Aggies that have been here over the years, so here's the story. While scanning items for Project HOLD a few summers ago, I found that it opened as a Skaggs-Albertsons, with the center being (apparently named) the Skaggs Shopping Center. This was in 1971. I thought that the Skaggs name was dropped later, but what actually happened was a complicated brand name swap: Skaggs was a drug company, and Albertsons was grocery, so Skaggs Albertsons was a chain that had one of the first now-standard food and drug operations. Here's a picture of a Skaggs Albertsons in Florida. The Skaggs Albertsons would remain until late 1979, at which point Skaggs acquired American Stores, thus renaming itself as American Stores, and turned the store into what many people would know it by: "Skaggs Alpha Beta" in fall 1979.

Now, I do have an ad from that era but it's in such unbelievably low quality (for the microfilms, of course) that I'm ashamed to show it to you. Can it be cleaned up with a photo-editing program? Sure. Will I do it? Probably not, especially given at the rate that pictures are ripped off of here on a high basis without "real" visitors. This isn't other people's faults entirely: the new way that Google Image Search works now is rip the image out of context, which is unfortunate.

The new "American Stores" company continued to manage this store until it rebranded it as Jewel-Osco in 1991. Shortly after, Albertsons came back and bought the entire market off of American Stores (they would later come back and buy the rest of the company), and rebranded the store as Albertsons.

And so from about 1992 to 1997, Albertsons managed a store on the corner of College and University. However, Randalls, an upscale supermarket further down University, sold its store to Albertsons, causing the small supermarket to quickly be abandoned (it closed in November 1997, according to Wikimapia), and it continued stand for nearly another 15 years, longer than it had been any name.

Of course, a vacant building won't last forever, and in 2012, it finally began to come down, with demolition halting for months but continuing about a year later. Not much more than the east wall remains as of this writing.



An ad from the brief Jewel-Osco days. Note the "Special Supplement to The Eagle" to the left.


There's even a shot of a Sunny Delight bottle as I remember it, before they changed it to "Sunny D" (and later "SunnyD"). Tangy Original was called "Florida Style" and "Smooth" was "California Style".

Other shots, taken January 2011...






Regrettably, I couldn't get any of the interior on that shot, or any other time: the windows were painted over, and my one shot of the interiors was kind of messed up by the flash, and while it did capture some of the interior in a blurry configuration that revealed rows of fluorescents and columns, it mostly created a reflection of me, which I didn't like.


I had noticed there was a ladder behind Albertsons, so you could climb up on the roof (in theory, of course--you wouldn't actually be stupid enough to go up there, would you?)



Whoa, Albertsons was open 24 hours! Must have been super-convenient, relatively rare (I don't think even H-E-B did when it first opened), and must have been fun to see at night when the bars had closed for the night.



What was left of Albertsons after the first major demo.



The first Christmas at the store.



Albertsons interior. (Official Stalworth Picture)



From The Eagle, shortly after the demo began.

I have even more demolition shots, but there's nothing interesting left. What does it matter? Another piece of our city's history has been wiped off the map.

I'd like to think that even though Albertsons is by far not my favorite store, if it had gotten picked up by Kroger or H-E-B, it would be popular today. Yes, it would be considered small and ghetto, probably be pretty dirty, have a pitiful selection, but it would still be profitable enough to be open 24 hours and have a line-up that's almost exclusively oriented toward college students (a mix that would include cut-rate brands, kegs of cheap beer, and a surprisingly good ethnic food selecton), a store simultaneously loved and hated.

Too bad that was never the case, and the site is now a fenced-off grassy area, returned to simply potential.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

G. Rollie White Coliseum and Read Building

A sight you'll never see again!

No pictures are enough to replace G. Rollie White Coliseum or the Read Building (built 1954 and 1985, respectively), but I do have some pictures (about three dozen) that I took with a friend at the end of last semester. It was an odd experience: some offices and rooms were stripped, giving a true "urban exploration" experience, but some weren't (people taking finals, for one).

G. Rollie White Coliseum was two levels (an arena and a smaller upper level), with Read Building being four (second level of Rollie is Read's third). Read is connected to the lower Kyle Field decks. These will all be demolished for the "new" Kyle Field, which is a shame but now is not the time to discuss what the TAMU brass want (you can explore it in the comments, I won't censor).

You can see the pictures I took on Flickr.

As a bonus, here's an article from October 1985 detailing renovations to G. Rollie, which was probably done in conjunction with the Read Building expansion.


You can see the pre-renovated arena here.

Read Building wasn't much to look at, as it was cleverly disguised as part of Kyle Field.


10/24/13: updated to account for their demise, changed photo -- the new one is from AggieMap.tamu.edu (as well as for Read), which have since been removed. The old picture from this post can still be seen on Flickr.

12/18/13: A different angle has the Read Building gutted to a shell in late September. At this point you could see the original paint on the walls.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Travel Kleen and Summit


from Loopnet

317-321 Redmond Drive

Put this in the "forgotten Texas Avenue" file (and the "recycled post" file). Originally reported as part of the Aggieland Inn article when, according to the development list has lots 317, 319, and 321 Redmond Drive abandon their public right of ways. These used to be the "Travel Kleen" car wash and the Summit station, which were both demolished circa 2007. I thought they were part of a redevelopment, but it's not--today both have been cleared for a small strip mall under construction.

I've stopped at the Summit at least once (it was quite run-down) but never at the Travel Kleen--I wasn't aware there was a car wash even there (probably why they closed). Unknown to when either were built.

EDIT 11-6-13: A strip mall is up, featuring the area's first "Sleep Number by Select Comfort" and Aspen Dental. A third space is vacant.

EDIT 6-18-14: In the mid-1990s, this Summit was originally a Shell with a Zip'N convenience store. While a number of the older Shells did not make the conversion in 2003-2004 and had to convert to Summit stores, namely the two rural Shell stations profiled elsewhere on this site, the Shell here converted earlier. I'm not sure when this conversion took place. The Shell was at 321 Redmond (the same as Summit), and it was a Zip'N in 1989 (store #102) though it had been removed by 1993. The Shell signage remained up until at least by 1995.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seafood Mama's / Yum Yums Texas Style / Oxford Street / Steak & Ale

From Stalworth Online, during its days between Oxford Street and Yum Yums


1710 Briarcrest Drive

Beginning as an outlet of the late Steak & Ale (initially unknown when I published this post but confirmed via a mid-1980s dining guide), this former restaurant was best known as Oxford Street from some point in the late 1980s (see comments) until it closed in September 2008. It's unfortunate that I don't have more information on Oxford Street than I currently do, but it was a moderately-priced steakhouse (not to Republic or Christopher's levels) featuring "candlelight dining featuring steaks and seafood in an Old World setting" according to the 2004 Dining Guide.

Oxford didn't stay shut for long, as it was soon replaced with a restaurant called "Yum Yums Texas Style". Already there's problems with that: if it looked like a four-year-old named it, you'd be right. There used to be an article on The Eagle, dated March 2009 titled "Yum Yums owner gets back to roots with eatery", which a lot of the following is derived from (the link is now dead). The restaurant opened with the goal of "upper-end", homemade-style food, but it wasn't to last. The name had problems and unfortunate connotations which were called out in comments, with few defenders. It closed in less than a year. By all accounts from the brief time Yum Yums was on this earth, there were very few things to say. There's a scathing review on Yelp that blasted the food (the employees were nice, but that couldn't save it). One review from YellowPages.com (a "kelsey27") blasted it with "this place is totally DISGUSTING... FOOD SUCKS, STAFF SUCKS" and also the contractor was never paid for work done to renovate the restaurant (this is supported independently by third parties). Interestingly, on the original The Eagle article, there was a comment, and this is unaltered:
I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW RUDE YOU PEOPLE ARE BEING TO A FAMILY THAT IS BRINGING REVENUE AND OPPURTUNITIES TO OUR TOWN! GET OVER YOURSELVES AND GO EAT SOME GOOD FOOD. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW WELL THIS RESTAURANT DOES~

I'm guessing this person was the owner, or at least a close family friend.

Seafood Mama's opened in December 2011, painting the whole building a dark blue color and offering seafood and other items. Never went to Seafood Mama's, as it had very mixed reviews (Yelp's "Greg D." gave it five stars, which may or may not have been faked) but that couldn't be helped, as in late June of 2012, the restaurant was gutted by a fire ([archive]) and it did not reopen. By fall, it was razed. For several years afterward (at least as of early 2015, though I didn't notice it on recent drive-bys, so it might be gone), the Seafood Mama's roadside sign remained up. Will anything ever be built there again? Maybe.

(Post Updated 1/16)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Villa Maria and Texas Avenue


Texas Avenue South and Villa Maria Road

Here's another snapshot of life that I never really experienced, if I did, it was brief like a passing moment. The loss of a large Texaco and a Chinese restaurant for a Walgreens. As it turns out, Walgreens does have a penchant for tearing down good Chinese buffets. The "Aggieland Texaco" was here, as listed as 2907 Texas Avenue on older (pre-2005) restaurant report cards, and based on nearby addresses (and there IS no longer a 2907 Texas Avenue), this is what it was, though it did convert to a Shell later. It replaced something else between 1995 and 2000, though I don't know what.


The photo on the top is from the Eagle. I seem to recall a different photo from a different angle that had the gas station (fully intact) but I can't find it anywhere. Bummer. I know the gas station had brown brick, though.

I don't have a lot of information on the businesses here, but Soundwaves was an audio store and China Garden had two levels, though the Chinese buffet had closed prior to being demolished. According to MyBCS, the rumor was the woman who owned it committed suicide, but I don't put a lot of stock in that (being a rumor and all). It was previously a Mr. Gatti's pizza. There was also a furniture store (in the back part? Or maybe the front? Never mind, see the comments) that was torn down. I can't tell which is Soundwaves and which is the furniture store, but Soundwaves was a head shop back in the 1970s.

I was relieved that when they tore it down, they didn't touch the Golden Chick (blue roof) right next to it, but unfortunately it closed anyway about that time and turned into a Chinese fast food place. I never ate there when I went to Blinn, but if someone prefers one of the iffy Chinese buffets we have nowadays, well, that raises a red flag.

Despite my feelings on the whole demolition thing...I admit that Walgreens is more useful than a gas station (even though it would've been nice to have a gas station on that side of the road), and it wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention that I utilized the small retail shops they built. I've returned Amazon packages at the UPS store (2005 charter tenant?), I've bought pizza at Little Caesar's (fall 2010 opening), and I've used Walgreens (though there still is a vacancy between Little Caesar's and UPS).

On the subject of Golden Chick--well...at least there's one in Hearne.

Updated a few weeks later to alter to new format, minimal edits

EDIT 7/4/13: Mr. Gatti's closed sometime prior to Gattiland's opening. Mr. Gatti's in Northgate was the one that moved.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Chinese Restaurants and Brazos Square

An early 1990s advertisement for one of my favorite defunct eateries

This post concerns a number of stores between Manuel and Brentwood on the west side of Texas Avenue, starting with one of my favorites, Confucius Chinese Cuisine. For reference as to where we are in College Station, I've drawn up these images (fixed from their original state) for MyBCS a while ago. Example A: how it was. Example B: what it's like now.

While I sadly do not have a picture for Confucius Chinese Cuisine (2322 Texas Avenue), it was housed in a building at the corner of Brentwood and Texas Avenue. I still remember how cool it looked on the inside and out. It had a curved Chinese-style roof, the sign had one word in orange, one in green, and one in red. And those were lit up at night. I don't know what the history of it was. All I know was that it was open in 1989 but the building pre-dating it for a few years courtesy of an even older Chinese restaurant called "Jade Garden".

Inside, to the right you had the restrooms, a mural was toward the front, with small bald-looking people playing (or something--it was sort of weird). The restaurant was mostly red and gold, you could hear the aquarium bubbling (there was an eel, but I don't think he was ever used as a dish).

It was my family's go-to place for Sunday after-church dinners. The buffet was a single line with some of the best egg rolls my sister had ever had. I know what you're thinking: Chinese food buffets, a place of flavorless food, poor health standards, and morbidly obese people. Well, this wasn't one of those places (except for the "health standards" part, which all buffets tend to have).

It closed around 2001-2002 when the owner, Jimmy Chang, retired. I suppose it's better that the restaurant closed instead of selling out to new management: it never saves restaurants, just leaves a "bad taste" in people's memories of how good the food was.

Just two doors down was another restaurant, Imperial Chinese Restaurant, which moved there sometime between 1993 and 1995 (it was in the place where Wolfies is now, which was Ninfa's by '95). This one had declined from its early days, and outlasted Confucius Chinese Cuisine. The place in between was a pawn shop. The pawn shop and the empty Confucius Chinese Cuisine were demolished, with the pawn shop moving to a space at Manuel and Texas. After Imperial succumbed, the pawn shop moved back to the place where Imperial was. Where the two buildings were demolished, a Walgreens was built.

The Brentwood stoplight was added in the late 1990s or early 2000s, meaning it didn't last long before the road was widened.

Brazos Square, a little strip center that has been in continual decline is here.

At one time, both Play It Again Sports and Once Upon a Child were located here (both of the same parent company with the similar "recycling O") but a few years back PIAS fell by the wayside. The current pawn shop is where Imperial Chinese Restaurant was (which moved from a Harvey Road but NOT the same restaurant as a modern same-name restaurant where Tony Roma's was). The original pawn shop and Confucius Chinese Cuisine were of course demolished (the pawn shop moved across the street, but that was demolished for a TB&T bank)

At the end of the strip center was a Fuddruckers, but it moved out a decade ago and was replaced with "Asian Cuisine & Tea House" which closed quickly and deteriorated. There's an All-American Sleep & Mattress, but that became Fatty's Smoke Shop even later. This used to be Advanced Wireless Inc., a cell phone store with a neat looking logo, but ironically, as cell phones increased in popularity, AWI folded and disappeared. The sign looked worse and worse until it was finally dismantled.

In fact, the strip center has a look of a third rate wasteland. To illustrate: between the smoke shop and the pawn shop, there's the "Loan Depot" and to the right of the smoke shop, there's ANOTHER pawn shop (or at least in the last few years, I haven't kept up too closely with what's there and what isn't). Either way, it's a dump and soon as I get some pictures, I'll post 'em so you can judge for yourself. But it wasn't always that way. For years, REX TV was here, additionally, there was a toy store and a gourmet tea place. For example, in 1983, PrioriTEAS opened a second store here. As an aside, I'm impressed that they managed to spell "espresso" correctly when it was less known and you could get away with writing it as "expresso", but they called themselves a "desert bar".

And if you were in a kid in that era, Toys Plus might have been more up your alley.

Updated July 2014 with another title and new Brazos Square info


RESTAURANTS ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN THE ORIGINAL "TALES OF DEFUNCT RESTAURANTS VI". POST REWRITTEN MARCH 2014.
Thai Taste - First discussed here. The "reincarnation" of this restaurant is discussed here.
Sgt. Pepperoni's - Discussed on Two Way Roads
Spice Bowl - Mentioned on the Texas Avenue post

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sunset Gardens


Welcome to Sunset Gardens!


3020 South Texas Avenue

Quick, what's between Sonic and Wings N More on Texas Avenue? A bunch of things, actually, including the old location of Petal Patch, a Domino's Pizza, lawyers offices, a fitness place, a pool store, and a burned-out greenhouse/garden store that has been more or less untouched since the late 1980s.

Yes, this is Sunset Gardens. Considered an unclaimed property since 1992, Sunset Gardens was destroyed in a fire in the late 1980s by reasons unknown, and supposedly, according to MyBCS, due to the fertilizer contamination, would require lots of cleanup dollars invested if that area was to be ever utilized again.

I have no idea what Sunset Gardens looked like before its devastating fire: seems that there's no readily accessible satellite imagery from those days. However, I do have this ad, which given the original October 1985 publication date, indicates it first opened in 1983. Notice the logo: you can still see in the modern pictures, three decades after it opened.



But I did make the trip out there recently and take a few pictures.


Welcome to Sunset Gardens!



Same area, different view



The sign, relatively untouched, even with some of a labelscar attached, in a similar font to the "Parkway Square" font near the Kroger. Unfortunately, it's been marred by the anti-bevel crowd, which is a stupid issue I care little about.



Looking out.



A bit of foundation visible.



This structure was saved, except for the burned puncture.


UPDATE: Added opening date, and the ad based upon which this was derived.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Special Services Building

Besides the rare snow, I couldn't find a picture of this building that wasn't decades old.


Does anyone remember the Special Services Building? It was just north of Haas Residence Hall in the northwest part of campus, and from data on the Internet, razed in fall 2001. (It sits about where the basketball courts of the Hullabaloo Residence Hall now stand).

Unfortunately, we have little information of this building. It was at least three stories tall and references on the Internet mention offices being located there. But what was it? "Special Services" is a rather vague term: I've heard it had laundry facilities, but that's about it.

The main reason for demolition I remember it had creaking floors: so bad that it was deemed structurally unstable, with the furniture being abandoned.

However, the "Special Services Building" reportedly dates back to 1914 according to this TAMU chronology. Is that right? I mean, most of the buildings back then were made primarily of wood and would've been demolished by the 1960s or 1970s, and it would be a miracle that the SSB survived for that long.

Fill us in, because I know that I'm missing something. (EDIT 2015: Thank you! See the comments)

Updated May 22 2013 with picture and new categories, and again in 2015 to add a caption.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tales of Defunct Restaurants at 1045 South Texas Avenue


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


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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, Archive.is isn't working.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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