Showing posts with label restaurants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restaurants. Show all posts

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pizza Hut, University Drive East

In 2014, the sun was starting to set on this Pizza Hut, figuratively and literally. (Picture by author)

With the recent news that Yum! Brands is closing some 500 sit-down Pizza Hut locations, that is, the ones that haven't already been closed down, it's high time for a look back at the sit-down Pizza Hut that College Station once had at 102 University Drive East (there was another short-lived Pizza Hut on University Drive proper in Northgate, and I promise I'll cover it soon enough). From newspaper archives and other sources, the Pizza Hut opened in 1974 but closed around July/August 2017. It did retain its iconic 1980s logo for a while after Pizza Hut started rolling it in more stores (probably as late as 2007), and today is home to additional parking for Fuego Tortilla Grill. The roof was redone in brown around this time.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Northgate Subway and the University Food Court

One restaurant for the price of three! (Picture taken by author, 8/19)

It makes me wonder why there aren't more buildings that house multiple brands of restaurants, arranged with common seating and other elements (restrooms, etc.), except in the occasional larger gas stations, Taco Bell/KFC stores (or other variants), or mall food courts. Yet that was the Northgate area got in the late 1980s.

Today, this is a massive Subway with a whole line dedicated for the Subway "pizzas", the building actually started out as something more intriguing, a three-unit "food court" with some common outdoor seating.

Today, a massive 24-hour Subway takes up the building, complete with a whole line dedicated for the Subway "pizzas" and a drive-through, which is rare (perhaps because of an unflattering appearance in Lethal Weapon 2? [link contains strong language]).

In 1988, the building (all new at the time) contained 31 Treats, Subway, and Little Caesars. 31 Treats was apparently a rebranded Baskin-Robbins, though it was a Baskin-Robbins later according to a picture I saw once (in Project HOLD, but couldn't find it again).

Prior to Rusty Taco's move in, 2011. Notice the evidence of the Baskin-Robbins actually being called "31 Treats".

Baskin-Robbins was ultimately short-lived, as Smoothie King got their certificate of occupancy in 1993 and opened soon after. Little Caesars survived into the 1990s but at some point closed and was replaced with Papa John's.

In 2001, Papa John's expanded into the vacant Smoothie King space, bringing its 900 square foot space up to 1,500 square feet and added an eat-in area. Sometime around the late 2000s, Papa John's closed up shop at Northgate, and the space was extensively renovated to become Dallas-based Rusty Taco, which was open 24 hours, and opened in October 2011.

Looking west on University. August 2019.

However, the summer hours were severely restricted in summer 2012, turning it into a mostly lunch-based option, and it closed shortly after the fall 2012 semester started.

Yelp! is the best resource if you'd like to read more (and it pictures of the front, too!). It was 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. The Dallas-based chain has locations as far out as Minneapolis, and even incorporated a garage door in the restaurant in lieu of windows, creating a hybrid open-air restaurant. They also had very cheap beer ($1 Pearl).

According to a guy who worked at the Daily Ruckus, Rusty Taco's pricing was fundamentally flawed since the cheaper breakfast tacos (eggs instead of meat) had thin profit margins, but that's what was most popular, and none of them were particularly good--the tortillas were small and tasted no better than what you could find in a grocery store.

In 2013, after Rusty Taco closed, Subway ended up renovating the entire building for their restaurant. (I believe they moved into the Rusty Taco portion, then renovated the old side).

I should also mention what was here before the "food court", in the 1970s and early 1980s it was the home of an ARCO gas station. In 1986, according to Project HOLD, files were made with the city to renovate the now-closed gas station (now closed) and expand it into a restaurant called Peso Exchange. As far as I can tell, this never opened, but it is an interesting piece of trivia.

Metapost: This is another post in the series to replace an old article on University Drive (removed due to an error involving lost content) with upgraded articles. The plan right now is to create a "new" post (which may or may not be previously published material) and also upgrade an "old" post.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

La Quinta next to Denny's

The current La Quinta as of August 2019 by author. Will it continue to be a La Quinta when the new one on the freeway opens?

Both of these buildings have the address of 607 Texas Avenue, thus they'll be covered at the same time. The restaurant at the corner of Texas and Live Oak was built in 1978 with La Quinta Inn was built in 1979 (originally "La Quinta Motor Inn", later "La Quinta Inn", before branded as simply "La Quinta") right behind it and, with the restaurant being Julie's Place (no. 139). The "#139" implies more of the chain, but from the Houston Chronicle archives, there's only references to the College Station location (none in Houston). Boasting a menu including hamburgers and onion soup, Julie's Place closed in January 1987 after a murder (there was a story on MyBCS, though I'm sure I had heard it elsewhere about how the manager actually swallowed the key to the safe and the stabbings were to retrieve the key, but I'm not sure on that since that's just a comment on the forum and the official court summary makes no mention of the key-swallowing incident). That said, an article from the Houston Chronicle did mention the body was cut from the sternum to the pelvis, which lends credence to the statement.

By 1989, it had reopened as Bombay Bicycle Club (not the 1990s, phone book lists BBC in that era), which was considered one of the nicer restaurants in town (it didn't have anything to do with Indian food), and by the mid to late 1990s it became a Denny's.

August 2019 picture of Denny's by author. Until about a year or so prior, it had green trim.

Additionally, the La Quinta has some additional buildings behind what is currently Rice Garden and the La Quinta Inn was previously home to a "super slide" of some sort, but I can't find much information on that. (Parts of this post originally appeared here).

Thursday, June 6, 2019

329 University Drive

From a phone book, though the exact year is unknown.

This building is unremarkable but has anchored the Northgate for years (Street View here). The lot was vacant in 1961 with no parking (possibly a former storefront that was burned/torn down years earlier). The modern building was built in 1968, and by 1972, was an establishment called "The Tavern", and the upstairs area (331) being On the Double copying service. In 1974 it was the home of "Kesami Sandwich Shop" ("Where No Two Sandwiches Are Alike!") but by 1977 it was the home 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 (likely 331 University used one of the dual entrances in the building, though Basil Whippet's removed one of the entrances).

By 1993 it was Equinox, and by 1999 it was Crooked Path Ale House. Somewhere during this time it was also Northgate Café, as well. In 2005 it was The Library. While having a bar with a name like that isn't too unique (seems like Michigan Tech had the same idea), The Library closed in 2008 or 2009 due to poor sales. BMO's, a rap-oriented bar, opened in the spot in 2009. It ultimately did not last more than a year. In 2010, it opened as Basil Whippet's Pub & Apothecary Lounge, and after closing in 2016, became "Icon Night Club & Lounge". The building has had a few exterior updates over time as well.

Metapost: This was originally part of a page of University Drive, since removed. This part has been expanded and updated.

Monday, May 27, 2019

102 Live Oak

The big black thing in the foreground is the menu board for Taco Cabana. Picture by author, May 2019.

Behind the Taco Cabana is another restaurant. Built as La Barronena Ranch Steakhouse in the mid-1990s (at 102 Live Oak, no ad at the moment, so I can't confirm if it had a tilde over the n or not), then became College Station Seafood, which closed in January 2011, then became Oceans Bar & Grill, and finally a Vietnamese restaurant called Vy's Kitchen Asian Cuisine in July 2012. This restaurant was the same ownership (and menu) of Vietnamese Taste. Sometime around 2018, this closed and was replaced with Rice Garden, though apparently Yelp treats it like the same business (even though legally it seems to have changed hands entirely). A residual link of the now-defunct EatBCS from Google mentions it was under construction in September 2018.

I'm not sure if I missed any or not, nor do I know when College Station Seafood took over.
(This post is split from this one).

Friday, May 24, 2019

Layne's of College Station, Eastgate

Picture from author, May 2014. Note the former Sully's in the background.

Built in 1962 and home to Wilson Plumbing Company for many years, Layne's of College Station has been in operation at 106 Walton since 1994, serving little more than fried chicken strips, Texas Toast, and a spicy mustard-based dipping sauce. It is similar to the Raising Cane's chain, though actually predated the chain by two years, but unlike the 400+ locations of Raising Cane's, Layne's just has three, the original, Southwest Crossing in 2006, and a third location near Caprock Crossing opened in October 2015. (This post is split from this one).

It should be noted that Brazos CAD says the building was built in 1962, but Wilson's website suggests that they have been at Eastgate since 1945. It's entirely possible that they moved or rebuilt once while in Eastgate.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Schlotzsky's Near Walmart

Author's picture from 2013.

Built in 1998 as Schlotzsky's Deli (2210 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South) with indications it moved from Park Place Plaza, they started serving Cinnabon sometime around 2007 (I remember telling one of my friends this back in high school) and has undergone one other significant change, in 2009 or shortly after, they redecorated (with the "lotz better" décor instead of the "Silly Name, Serious Sandwich" décor) and officially dropped the "Deli" part of the name. (This post is split from this one). [Updated to account for the fact that the "lotz better" décor didn't happen until 2009].

Friday, May 17, 2019

George Bush Drive McDonald's

Picture taken by author, May 2019

I couldn't bear to tear apart my original Marion Pugh article, so this is to replace it. Additionally, as of this writing, I'm in the middle of changing the colors and themes of the page, explaining it why it looks like it does. It's not final, and in need of some tweaks and QoL upgrades. I'm not even sure if it's the direction I want to go (such a change would also alter the US 290 page, and I like the blue and gray).

The "George Bush" McDonald's (111 George Bush Drive West) opened in 1997 with what I remember having a white roof alternating with maroon (mansard roof, similar to the common red or brown roof alternating with white or yellow), though I always felt it would've looked better with maroon and white. After all, it was next to Kyle Field, why was it using the away colors? It renovated sometime in 2003 or 2004 to the current form it is now. I think the reason McDonald's isn't in a hurry to upgrade the exteriors of this restaurant is that it will likely be demolished whenever they do the George Bush underpass project.

The parking lot to the south is owned by Callaway House. The properties were originally part of Marion Pugh Lumber Co. at 101 Jersey Street West (which dated to the 1940s, notably when the International & Great Northern railroad skewed southwest), which would eventually give way to J. Arnold Construction Co., as Marion Pugh (a former football player and class of '41) would pass away in 1976 at the age of 57. J. Arnold actually had a small railroad crossing just to the south of Jersey, which you can still see today (venture a bit south of the McDonald's and around that area).

Treehouse is the ONLY thing that hasn't changed much since this time (Courtesy Henry Mayo)

Marion Pugh Lumber Co. would eventually give way to J. Arnold Construction Co., as Marion Pugh (a former football player and class of '41) would pass away in 1976 at the age of 57. J. Arnold actually had a small railroad crossing just to the south of Jersey, which you can still see today (venture a bit south of the McDonald's and around that area). An Amtrak station had been built in that area, but the area at the corner of Marion Pugh (originally a dirt alleyway after the railroad was abandoned, and upgraded to a full road later) and George Bush (originally Jersey Street) was abandoned for several years before McDonald's filled in.

Apologies to whoever helped me with the Marion Pugh/J. Arnold Construction Co., as I lost the reference...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lone Star Pavilion and Friends

This view really hasn't changed all that much in two decades.

Like my collected directory notes shows, the buildings along the stretch where Barnes & Noble et. al. now were a ragtag group of tenants (Oakridge Smokehouse like the one in Schulenburg, Lords & Ladies, and a few others) but that unfortunately can't be covered in this first edition (maybe another time).

Lone Star Pavilion was built in 1997 with Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, and a few smaller shops, and a Best Buy built two years later. It is one of the few shopping centers in the area with the anchors (and their logos) looking almost identical to when it opened. The oldest "segment" of the shopping center is the Lupe Tortilla (813 Texas Avenue South), which opened in 1983 as a Red Lobster as part of a rapid expansion of the chain under the ownership of General Mills. The Red Lobster moved out in 2008, and after a few years of vacancy it was reopened under Lupe Tortilla, which kept the exterior. Lupe Tortilla isn't part of the center, never was (that's why the "and Friends" is in the title).

The interesting part about Red Lobster is when the new center came in, most of the parking lot was kept, with new medians added and the parking spots repainted.

Most of the main center I grew up around and had entered numerous times. It was always a treat to visit Barnes & Noble Booksellers (711 Texas Avenue South) or the Best Buy (more on that in a bit). The interiors of these can be seen on places elsewhere.

Office Depot (715 Texas Avenue) was right next to the Barnes & Noble, and next to that is a recently opened Five Below with a new large facade, this used to be Card & Party Factory, and since it was originally an in-line store (albeit a larger one), it's still a bit smaller than other locations. Next to Five Below used to be The Bear Mountain Outdoor Gear (also with a 717 address). It opened in 2012 as Overlanders, a spin-off of The Bear Mountain of Waco. It became The Bear Mountain Outdoor Gear two years later, and after ownership changed in 2017 (still keeping the name, presumably licensed), it closed in 2018 as it moved to a new location at Park Place Plaza inside a new Ace Hardware, in the old College Depot space. This used to be Golf Etc. but I don't know what preceded that. And Sew On, an embroidery shop is next to it at 719 Texas, Solar Nails & Spa at 721, Kung Fu Tea at 723 (here since at least 2017, previously A&M Outlet and before that Hobby Town USA, which opened in 2002 and later moved to Central Station before closing), Freezing Cow Rolling Ice Cream (previously Albert's Hair Design) at 725.

Early on, there was also a Zuka Juice (later Jamba Juice) in the complex, it closed sometime before 2003. The Best Buy (801 Texas) is at the end, and goes through mild remodels now and then, I remember it going from carpet to tile (or was it the other way around?)

Monday, May 6, 2019

"At Home" on the Boriskie Ranch

College Station never had a "Garden Ridge" store, but better late than never, right?

It's rare these days when Project HOLD actually helps contribute to an article and answers questions asked, but Project HOLD came through and delivered an article on Boriskie Ranch, located off of the Highway 6 bypass. I had actually wanted to publish this in 2017 before some unfortunate situations in my life derailed my plans on revitalizing the site (chronologically, this was supposed to be published after the former Café Eccell page before the site effectively went on a year and a half hiatus). I wanted to try to contact the author, but in my research of it when first writing this article, found that Burton Hermann had passed away two days prior to when I had looked it up [archive].

The ranch dates back to the 1800s and once covered an enormous part of land stretching to Texas Avenue to the west and what would be Southwest Parkway to the south, and includes a vast part of east College Station, including Post Oak Mall, Allen Honda, Wolf Pen Creek Park, a bunch of apartment complexes, Dairy Queen, a section of Earl Rudder Freeway, and others. Obviously, these will not be covered today (if ever), though some are already covered in some form.

There's not a lot I can say about the part that's already written (if Project HOLD changes links again, just search "boriskie ranch"), other than a few facts that Post Oak Mall was built in 1982, not 1989. Following the expansion the driving range was "College Station Golf Center" at 2301 East Bypass. In 1989, I can find a listing for "Brazos Valley Golf Driving Range" but the address (and number) listed is for 2400 East Bypass, the current Grand Station (the building was a former Lowe's, but the Lowe's listed in the 1989 phone book has a non-existent East Bypass address, because at some point the addresses were renumbered). But then again, there didn't seem to be a building for the golf center in 1995, which indicates that it didn't have a phone number, so it's one of those cases in which I don't know.

Regardless, Academy Sports + Outdoors (2351 Earl Rudder Freeway) was built and opened in February 2002, as the article says. The golf center, with its long poles and overgrown netting to prevent balls from going out into the highway, closed in the mid-2000s and was torn down for a shopping center. This would be the home of Gander Mountain (2301 Earl Rudder Freeway) and Dickey's Barbecue Pit (2297 Earl Rudder Freeway). Gander Mountain would open June 2007, giving another option for the local economy and another large store on Highway 6.

The closed Dickey's.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit was the last commercial development at Boriskie Ranch, opening in May 2009 (another article), though Google Earth shows the building built for several months prior. It closed May 31, 2017. Although the website incorrectly reported the month as "4/31/17" as of this writing, the rate for closed Dickey's stores in the last decade is staggering.

Around 2011, We Rent Storage at 2672 Horse Haven Lane opened, replacing an oil field.

In 2017, several shakeups changed the face of the former Boriskie Ranch. In addition to the aforementioned Dickey's Barbecue Pit, Academy moved less than a mile away closer to the intersection of Raintree and Highway 6, Gander Mountain closed in August following the parent company's bankruptcy, and Hunter's Creek Stables (now with an address of 2741 Horseback Drive, as opposed to the original address of 2401 East Bypass) eventually closed and was torn down to allow further development of Horse Haven Estates.

However, some life did come back when At Home Group Inc. announced that they would build a store in College Station. The new name of what used to be Garden Ridge, the Texas-based chain has had stores in Houston (often enormous, though they've scaled down in recent years), San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and parts beyond for years (even Syracuse, New York got a store before us). They tore down a covered outdoor annex of Gander Mountain to build an expansion (I think this had boats, I'm not sure).

Academy remains vacant. This one and the last two were taken in March 2019 by the author.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jack in the Box, Texas Avenue, College Station

It seems this store opened after the clown heads were removed.

Jack in the Box store number 683 opened sometime in the early 1980s (Brazos CAD hasn't been much help). The picture isn't high resolution because I was going to publish it as part of the Texas Avenue City Directory on the next update on Carbon-izer. It's all part of a big site overhaul. The picture is from me, but I don't have the date recorded down of when I took it (likely a few years ago). This is the only Jack in the Box in College Station proper as the one on Rock Prairie closed down a couple of years ago.

1504 Texas Avenue South

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Shiraz Shish Kabob

Picture taken January 2017, I had been holding onto this for over two years!

Unfortunately, I don't have my city phone books to back me up on this (so this may be updated a bit later this week) but Shiraz Shish Kabob (110 Dominik Drive) retains the architecture of a 1970s-era Kentucky Fried Chicken, which it originally was until moving to Park Place Plaza. In the late 1980s it was registered to "Fast Color Inc." and that was "Quick as a Flash", a portrait studio. My old notes say that Quick as a Flash was renamed to Ritz Portrait Studio before folding, and earlier versions of this website say that there was another restaurant called "The Filling Station" between Ritz and Shiraz that served a variety of fried foods (further research says it was just called "The Pump"). Both Brazos CAD and TexAgs confirm that the changeover to current ownership happened in 2008, when Shiraz opened, as well as confirming the name of the previous restaurant. The exterior of the restaurant was renovated during this phase, and during the renovation to Shiraz, a fountain was added in the main dining area for ambience (though it made the restaurant a bit humid). I'm guessing that when it became a portrait studio, connections required for food service were simply covered up rather than removed entirely. When I moved this from the page that is now the Blue Baker page, one of the comments was this: For a brief time after Quik as a Flash closed, that little building was a fast food place called, I think, The Filling Station. It specialized in fried everything. They were quite good if you could exist on fried everything. Chicken, chicken fried steak, fried livers and gizzards. They also baked beautifully decorated Christmas cookies. Interesting place.

On a more meta post level, I'm going to begin the process of properly integrating this website into, as it already has a few features that were moved there (not to mention the City Directories, worth checking out). As part of this, comments will no longer be available, something I've thought about before as most of these posts never got the number of comments I expected, and the comments "to be moderated" usually are spam. Speaking of which, the posts that attract the spam comments are often made on deprecated posts that were removed, with a text explaining such. There are also other old, awful posts never removed either...until now.

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 does not have it. Likewise the links for the other links seem to be lost.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gumby's Pizza, Dominik Drive

This was taken sometime in January of this year, when I did the Whataburger re-post.

107 Dominik Drive was built in 1985 as a College Station branch of Pepe's Mexican Food but became a branch of Gumby's sometime in the 1990s, and I want to say 1998 based on coupons of the time. (The old Gumby's was next to Sweet Eugene's, the parking lot bumpers still mention Gumby's despite moving twenty years prior)

The history behind the Gumby's pizza chain is murky, the website for the chain gives no clue of its founding and I can only guess it was licensed from the decades-old children's TV show many years ago and allowed to fester and grow into its own identity to present a pizza chain more common for the college crowd. Even in the 1980s, there was a pizza known as the "Gumby Dammit". The website also features classic Gumby videos, which are bizarre in their own right, and almost feels like something they'd show on Adult Swim, as it gets even weirder when you're sleep deprived or otherwise under the influence.

It's the pizza chain that's very rare (less than a dozen locations, all near colleges). It's the one where you can get a pizza delivered at 1:15 in the morning (they stop at 2) and sells pizzas like the Stoner Pie, which includes mozzarella sticks, french fries, pepperoni, and sausage. It's also a place that can get away with having a non-lit sign and choosing instead to string Christmas lights around the non-functional signage.

I've eaten at Gumby's a few times and it's, well, it's not very good and if I was in the area (which I was a few years ago) I would probably go to DoubleDave's. The drama around Gumby's got interesting a few years back when they opened up a location in Wellborn called Black Sheep Pizza, which featured a different logo but still the same menu (and presumably the same recipe). The way I understand it is Gumby's was sold among different partners, and Black Sheep Pizza (renamed GranDandy's Pizza & Meals after a trademark dispute) spun off completely, with a clause that Gumby's could buy them back, which they did after GranDandy's became a moderate success, leading the owner to build Howdy's Pizza (still in the works) with the modified recipes and menu.

EDIT 2/24/19: In October 2018, Gumby's moved to the former Wolfies location at Post Oak Square so that Whataburger could expand and rebuild.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dominik Drive Whataburger

The sun sets behind this Whataburger, but don't worry, it's open late!

This Whataburger at 105 Dominik Drive is another restaurant that has been here for decades (though been rebuilt a few times). This is the closest Whataburger to campus and I've heard (and felt) like quality is a bit sub-par compared to the Rock Prairie Whataburger. In 1969, it changed hands from an unknown seller to Grace Dobson (wife of Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson), with the earliest reference in newspaper archives to this location in 1971. In 1987, Grace Dobson to Whataburger. It changed hands again in 1987 to Whataburger officially, which was about the time a rebuild of the store commenced, as a permit had been filed in 1986. Regardless, it was rebuilt again in 1996. This is what Brazos CAD says about the store, and that is correct--I had heard when I was a bit younger of a large fire at the store in the 1990s, and later I found a newspaper that said that it did in fact burn down in January 1996, with a "mobile Whataburger" serviced the area until the Whataburger reopened that spring. The store was No. 78 even in the Dobson days and it still is.

While it is the closest Whataburger to campus, for a brief time it was not as you could get Whataburger in the Sbisa basement, and with the revelation that they had a "mobile Whataburger" even back in the mid-1990s, it makes me wonder how much money a Whataburger food truck could still make on campus today. It was at this location that I realized Whataburger had subtly changed its logo.

Today, it has an all orange logo (formerly, the name was in black and there was often blue trim). Compare this picture (not mine!) to the store today. There's another blank lot nearby used for overflow parking. This used to be a Shell station (it was a Texaco prior to 2003) just about three years later when Texas Avenue started to widen, and demolished a few years later. Since then, nothing has taken its spot, but it provides excess Whataburger parking. It was one of the "Max Food Mart" stores that were in a lot of the Texaco stores at the time. The gas station at 1405 Texas Avenue I believe did not co-exist with the old Zip'N at George Bush and Texas, as the stores I remember converting around January 2003 (Eagle archives show the conversion of the store at Southwest Parkway and Welsh converting, and I think that was one of the first to convert), and by February 2003, the old Zip'N had been completely leveled.

Update May 2019: This Whataburger is scheduled to be rebuilt soon, and the Gumby's has moved out.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Leaning Tower Pizza / Primo Pizza / My Daily Bread Bakery

Primo Pizza in better days, September 2013

Originally I was going to rewrite my old Eastgate page, but then I figured I could easily rewrite it into several posts, not to mention it was several years since I did anything with it.

109 Walton, from my records, seems to have been food related for most of its life. "Wing Zone" was here in the early part of the 2000s, records indicate, and during the 1990s it was home to Partners Food Delivery. My personal experiences deal with the current tenant and the two before it. First, there was Leaning Tower Pizza, which if I recall was here since the mid-2000s. It was an interesting place, with a particularly greasy pie with a unique cheese pizza. It was also very grimy for a College Station restaurant, but I didn't mind because that's why you have enough to kill any dubious bacteria. It had some garden furniture for an "eat-in" area and had "free delivery" that had a significant discount if you picked it up in store, which means it wasn't actually free at all.

Well, for whatever reason, Leaning Tower closed in spring (May) 2013. Luckily, it was said on MyBCS that Charles Stover, fresh from creating Flip & Peel at Post Oak Mall, had bought the store and recipes and would reopen with a new name and theme. Well, that didn't quite happen, and instead in late summer 2013, Primo Pizza & Rolls opened with an entirely new concept of gourmet takeout pizza, which included pesto on every slice (this opened in late summer 2013). Unfortunately, gourmet takeout pizza without an eat-in area wasn't something the market could handle (especially located in a neighborhood that was populated by college students and minorities) and Primo shut down in February 2014 due to underperformance, but the way it was worded indicated that the closure could be temporary. After all, the sign remained up. But in May 2014, new pictures revealed that the restaurant was gutted. (One more thing regarding Primo: Primo Pizza's webpage, archived in PNG form)

While an Eastgate pizza place was no more than a memory, it did have one more tenant afterwards that opened by fall. This is still open today...My Daily Bread Bakery. This was one of my favorite places in my neighborhood when I lived on Eastgate, cinnamon rolls for breakfast if I was running late for school, decent coffee and espresso, and even (though I don't know about it today), a selection of used video games (from her husband) for sale, where I bought Pikmin and I believe Metroid Prime. I haven't made much progress in either, or you would see it in Carbon-izer GAMES, my "game review" page.

Here are a few other pictures that I took in May 2014 after the restaurant was gutted.

Gutted PP, May 2014
Gutted PP, May 2014. This is where the counter and menu were. The kitchen was behind that wall. This configuration was intact for both LTP and PP&R.

UPDATE: In 2017, the bakery was renamed "La Gabriella Coffeeshop & Pastries". I still never did make much progress in the games...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Burger King at the End (or the Beginning) of Texas Avenue

The store in question.

This post is just on a Burger King (3129 Texas Avenue S). Before I get into that, let me tell you this. I would be lying to you if I said that nostalgia was not one of the driving forces behind this site. After all, I grew up here, and in these posts, published in the last few years and updated since then (such as this post, which received a rewrite nearly a year after its creation) detail most everything I remembered or should've remembered. I've already told about the shops and restaurants here, many of which I grew up, and in versions past of this site, even included things like my old schools, or Adamson Lagoon, and probably if I had more time and research, the doctors and dentists as well (the old pediatric dentist office is gone, with the old Scott & White building at 1600 University Drive East to come soon after).

This part of Texas Avenue, originally explored in a full post with all the descriptions of the stores nearby, including the pool store and the curiously unnoticed empty spot was really special to me in years past. You see, back in those days, the only reason why we would go this way is to go somewhere cool, like my uncle's house in Baton Rouge or perhaps Houston. Even in the early 2000s, there just wasn't a lot out there. Rock Prairie Road had stuff on it, of course, like the hospital, junior high school (whoops, middle school), or even the nice new Kroger that opened in 2000, but that was just about it. There wasn't even another interchange until Greens Prairie Road, and that just had the water tower and an Exxon/McDonald's combo.

Since the Highway 6 bypass was built in the 1970s, prior to around 2006, there was an intersection here with the southbound one-way traffic from the bypass intersecting with Deacon. To the south was Texas Avenue turning into an entrance for Highway 6 south with the northbound lane going from Highway 6. To the south at Deacon was a two-way frontage road that paralleled Texas Avenue up to Wal-Mart and became the southbound Highway 6 frontage road for the section south of Texas Avenue. Yes, for a time, you could drive straight from Nantucket Drive to the Wal-Mart parking lot and back without making a single turn or getting on the highway.

Around 2006, that all changed, and the set-up was altered. The road that paralleled Texas Avenue was cut off at an apartment complex, and the two lanes from Texas Avenue went to the frontage road south (now all one-way) or the highway. Another thing that did change was the demolition of a small Diamond Shamrock gas station (catty-corner from a new Texaco with a Subway inside).

Opening in 2007 (late 2007, since the Villa Maria/29th location opened first), this Burger King opened to replace the one at Culpepper Plaza, which was torn down and replaced with a Chick-fil-A. I always found it a bit strange that there just wasn't very many Burger Kings in town, as in some places they compete head to head with McDonald's...but it still wasn't too far away, and it was never very crowded. As long as it stays open and I don't get some sort of food poisoning, that's a plus!

Updated in August 2015 with new focus. There used to be other photos and a bit of other info, but sorry, that has gone into "storage"

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Luby's Cafeteria

For several years prior to closure, the sign had read "Luby's Drive-Thru"

Today's post isn't filler, it's something I actually have content and information for, the late Luby's Cafeteria in Bryan, Texas. Opening in February 1977, it opened at a time when cafeterias were more plentiful, but much like the clientele they tend to service, they've been dying off. No more Piccadilly Cafeteria stores exist in Texas, and even Luby's has been closing far more cafeterias than they've been opening (one opened in Cypress c. 2005, so it may not be a lost cause). Unfortunately, I have no photos of Luby's when they were opening and operating, because it was a Luby's, and the Luby's closing took many by surprise. It closed in April 2014 after a few decades of opening by a mystery owner, which turned out to be Café Eccell, after the drama surrounding it at Church and Wellborn Road, which opened in August 2014 after renovating it.

While Café Eccell has updated a bit (mostly by repainting the drive-through end of the restaurant and opening it as the sub-restaurant La Bodega Express, as well as making it share the roadside sign), Luby's is the one with the history behind it. A full page ad had been taken out for its opening, describing the restaurant that didn't have waiters or waitresses.

You'll feel good about Luby's... selection... Everyone likes what they get, because everyone chooses their favorites. Snappy fresh fruits and crisp garden salads. Hot and hearty entrees. Piping hot vegetables. Home baked rolls and breads. And the taste-temptingest selection of homemade desserts you've ever seen.

This was the only Luby's Cafeteria in the area. There was one in the mall that opened in 1996 but it closed after a while (lasting about five years, or less).

Enjoy the pictures I took in and around the restaurant shortly after closing (and after Eccell repainted it from the whiter color it was originally), taken May 2014.

4401 South Texas Avenue

Editor's Note: Updated 2019 to account for a few new things, including La Bodega Express, the Post Oak Mall location, and others.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2319 Texas Avenue South

The sky really wasn't that overcast, I had to make some changes to make the actual subject lighter. Picture by author, May 2019.

Built in 1984 and "Pop's Barbecue" by 1989 (still unconfirmed if this is the original tenant), this building is now a shiny modern tire store. As possibly early as 1994 it became Epicures Catering (pictures of when Epicures was here can be seen here, which existed prior to moving here but located somewhere else (unfortunately, the phone books don't list the address of where it is). Over time, Epicures lost its luster (it used to be a big advertiser in local dining guides) and fell into disrepair until moving out to rural Brazos County. The original green overhang was replaced with a gold one in the mid-2000s after the old one was too tattered. The 2011 conversion to Tiremax cleaned up the building and parking lot quite a bit, but the franchise went bust a year later and it had to change its name to "BCS Tires & Lifts", so the sign didn't look quite as good after that. You could actually see in Google Earth where Tiremax even added a bit to the building. I don't have any pictures of BCS Tires & Lifts (that you can see anytime), but there is a Pop's Barbecue ad which you can see here.

Updated 2019.