Showing posts with label texas avenue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label texas avenue. Show all posts

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 13, 2019

Alfred T. Hornback's

Picture from author, May 2014

For many years (at least since the early 1990s), Alfred T. Hornback's was located in Eastgate at 120 Walton Drive and featured a large floor with pool tables and country music. Eastgate was not a huge draw like Northgate was and it closed permanently in summer 2011 though remained open for special events a few years following. It's currently occupied by DC, Inc., after DC (Dixie Chicken, not DC Comics) moved out of the building that later contained Blackwater Draw Brewing Company. There's also a small professional office (122 Walton) that has dental offices (Dr. Dwight Hirsch and Dr. Monica Brown as of this writing). The building was built in 1967. In 1980, it was the home of Texas Moon Tavern, which featured steak, burgers, and beer, and while it had a different address for some reason (124 Walton) it had the same facade. The only mention of this restaurant on the entire Internet comes from this page though there's another ad for it I found. It was also the home of an even older bar called Sparky's, which is talked about more than Texas Moon Tavern. A comment from one Jim Gates on the old Eastgate page mentioned this about Sparky's: "A bar with a blacked out room lit by - you guessed it - black lights and painted in fluorescent paint graffiti. There were also two neon snow flake looking things on a tall pole overhead that flashed back and forth."

Metapost: After this, I'm going to be taking a break from this site for a while as I've been doing stuff on the website every single day for a straight month. I'll still collect photos for the "Unupdated" section and eventually post those when they come around. Some will receive new names.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Diamond Shamrock, Now U-Haul

Diamond Shamrock signage, date unknown. From Project HOLD, cropped and re-balanced.


Located at 501 Texas Avenue South, this Diamond Shamrock existed from 1989 to around 1998 when it was closed in the process of the Texas Avenue widening. The convenience store probably wasn't even a full brand, not even Diamond Shamrock's "Corner Store" (which existed as far back as 1990, but I don't believe for any of the local locations until they were converted to Valero). Afterwards, it was absorbed by the U-Haul dealership (formerly Texas Avenue Moving Center) located at 519 Texas.

Diamond Shamrock had previously been a Sigmor Shamrock store (a predecessor company to Diamond Shamrock, though it might have converted to Diamond Shamrock briefly before being rebuilt, as at least one Sigmor store saw a conversion), as was a few others. The U-Haul dealership appears to have originally been on the site of a Philips 66, and records indicate they used a building leftover to do operations, but after Diamond Shamrock died, they moved to that building and removed the old one for more parking.

The style of Diamond Shamrock (black, multiple colors) had to have been more common but no pictures exist of that style on GasSigns.org.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Former JJ's Liquor, Texas Avenue

In the pre-JJ's days, though all but the ball-looking thing at the top of the sign survived to the end.

Originally located at the now-defunct Texas Avenue page and later at this page, this former liquor store (1600 Texas Avenue South) has been near the corner of Harvey Road since the 1970s (original build date unknown, it was listed in the early 1970s phone books but did not exist in 1971 as per aerials), originally as Discount Liquor Store. J.J. Ruffino bought it in 1983 to complement a Bryan store, and it remained as such for decades. In late 2010, Ruffino exited the liquor store and sold the three stores to Spec's. Spec's converted the store on Rock Prairie and Longmire to their brand but kept the two stores as JJ's, eventually converting them to wholesale only. I went into the store only once in 2016, when I applied for a job in the chain, though for unknown reasons it fell through. (I can tell you that the inside of the store was dark and dingy). The location at Redmond and Texas Avenue closed in 2017 when Spec's built a new store at University and Highway 6 at the former Linens-N-Things that incorporated their wholesale operation.
Southbound on Texas Avenue, March 2014, from car.
Southbound on Texas Avenue, March 2014. Another view.

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].

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?)

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

Monday, March 4, 2019

1501 Texas Avenue

It appears that the doors out front were sealed later.

Built in 1980 as a bank office building, today this building houses offices for Texas A&M University. A 1998 directory lists it having the Texas A&M Foundation and offices for "United Bank College Station". I'm also told this had a branch of Aggieland Credit Union before that branch moved to Southwest Parkway around that time. Picture was taken in February 2019 as I had no previous picture for it before.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pooh's Park, Tinsley's, and Others Replaced by a Shopping Center

View of the center today


Once again, we come back to one of our blog, this time to roll a few smaller posts into a bigger one. As the picture above shows, the area at Holleman and Texas Avenue is now a large (kind of low end) shopping center. In addition to covering all the changes that went on there (which I have yet to do), I can combine a few older posts into this one. So, first, we have Pooh's Park at 1907 Texas Avenue South.


There's far more to Pooh's Park (no, not related to the "Winnie" one) I can get into today, because it's a popular topic on local nostalgia threads: if you want to learn more, you can head over to Facebook to talk or browse through old photos (and they include newspaper articles!)

I never got to experience Pooh's Park myself, but from what I've seen and read, it was like Chuck E. Cheese, Putt-Putt, and a skating rink (roller, not ice) all wrapped into one. It opened in 1972 and was where the shopping center where Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, and Ross are now. I would like to say that Pooh's Park remained open until it became too valuable to remain (and was getting run-down anyway) and closed in the early 2000s, but no, that's not the case (it is very similar to a certain defunct theme park that closed about a decade ago, though). It closed in by 1989 (at that point, the phone book no longer lists it) and only the sign remained up (with the logo of the yellow dog they had, and not the one pictured above, and the name gone) until around the time they built the shopping center in the early 2000s, and then remained up until a little while afterward.

A 1984 phone book has a different ad that does mention things like a water slide (408 feet) and a different address (at some point, they changed to 105 Holleman, though based on what you can see from Google Earth, and backed up by a picture of Texas Avenue from a local history book I don't have a copy of with me) is that Pooh's Park was accessed through Texas Avenue, not Holleman.

Google Earth 1995, with modern streets overlaid


Some older maps (circa 2001-ish, long after Pooh's Park bit the dust) put a "Pooh's Lane" roughly where the Bahama Buck's is now, but unless that first part of Holleman Drive East was actually called that (after all, there's a few things that do support that, including the odd alignment of Holleman Drive and Holleman Drive East suggests that the East part was first, and then Holleman Drive extended that way later by way of a particularly awkward curve, or the fact that the subdivision nearby (behind the strip center and the other businesses on the east side) is named Pooh's Park Subdivision.

Sharing the address with Pooh's Park (at least the original address) was one "Furniture Liquidation Mart" which closed in October 1985 (The Eagle), and I would guess that this is what Bahama Buck's replaced (it used to be the foundations of another building). It should be noted, though, my 1984 phone book doesn't list it.

Near Pooh's Park was Tinsley's Chicken 'n Rolls.

Chicken done well, chicken well done!

Opening in late 1979, Tinsley's was located on 1905 Texas Avenue but was closed by 1989 after the Tinsley family sold out to Church's, which would eventually close or convert the restaurants (I don't think this restaurant was ever converted). Later, it was Kokopelli's (by 1998), and soon after, the Clay Oven (by 1999), a quick-serve (cheap!) Indian restaurant. This location, unfortunately, was razed for the shopping center, but Clay Oven was already closed by then. I have no actual pictures of what the building looked like in reality, nor do I remember Clay Oven being there at all. Sad, isn't it?

The plane was a real thing, though, David Tinsley used an actual 1930s plane to promote his restaurants, not unlike how Flying Tomato used hot air balloons.

While the "Boss Bird" made a brief appearance in Huntsville (after a long period of total absence), it is now closed (now a Hartz Chicken Buffet). It wasn't particularly to die for (although I think the "dried out chicken" complaints were an over-exaggeration, at least from what I saw in my visit).

There were a few other places on Holleman that later disappeared beyond Jot 59 (see picture), though one of them was a quick-lube auto place (name escapes me).

So anyway, all that was torn down for the shopping center (University Shopping Center, the name of which wasn't promoted), which opened around 2003 (after the H-E-B, I remember), with many of the stores it has today (Hobby Lobby, Shoe Carnival, Ross Dress for Less, Petco). Hobby Lobby moved from their old location at Post Oak Square, with the others being new. There was a branch of Loupot's, CiCi's (which came a few years later, as the old Culpepper Plaza was partially demolished), and a Goody's Family Clothing.

Goody's would close in early 2009 as the chain went under, but it was replaced with a few new stores, Big Lots (returning back to the market, as by that time, their old location at the former Kmart had been closed for several years) and a Twin Liquors (which, despite slightly nicer décor, seemed like a smaller, inferior competitor to Spec's).

Another shopping strip was built around the same time as the rest (but named The Shops at Wolf Pen Plaza) with Starbucks Coffee, a Sprint store (which initially had the older logo), and Champion Firearms (moved from the Kroger shopping center).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jimmy Jackson's Exxon

The landmark Exxon sign has stood here for over three decades.


This is the first new post in many months, but it's not a truly new post, it's just an old post "edited for syndication", and was originally part of The Far South Point of Texas Avenue (which is no longer, as the post has been rewritten), one of the last posts, which itself was originally supposed to be a part of "Texas Avenue: The Main Street of the City". Anyway, "Jimmy Jackson's Exxon" opened in 1983 at Miller's Lane (FM 2818 before it finished expanding to the highway) and Texas Avenue, this Exxon has a massive sign that was clearly grandfathered in as College Station would not allow such a majestic structure anymore like that, this Exxon was a full service stop built catty-corner to the Kmart on the edge of town (well, it was the edge back then) with a self-service car wash, garage, and convenience store.

Selling out to "Franky's" in 2001 (aka Frankie's), I actually managed to make contact with Jimmy Jackson's daughter (Mr. Jackson sadly passed away in 2013), but could not locate any photos of the gas station in its heyday. There was a second Jimmy Jackson gas station, which was sold and torn down well before his death, it was the Eckerd (now CVS) at the corner of Villa Maria and Texas Avenue.

In reality, the sign isn't quite so massive as it appears from further 2818 (mostly due to the hills), but something tells me that it was designed to be seen from the bypass when it was built (at least going northbound). As of this writing, I don't seem to have a picture of the actual "Franky's" convenience store, but it seems to have been altered from its original form anyway. I also get the feeling Franky's is kind of sleazy anyway (it was one of the ones pointed out by KBTX as having synthetic cannabis before a variety of laws cracked down on that).

2801 Texas Avenue South

Saturday, October 25, 2014

4300 Texas Avenue

The building in its original form. It doesn't look like this today, thanks to a later facade re-do. Courtesy John Ellisor.


Just across from the Luby's, we had the first local location of Piggly Wiggly (owned by Six Star Foods locally, at least in the later days). First opened in 1963, I can't nail down when it exactly it closed, but it seems to have been in the late 1970s or early 1980s (and why it had an even number despite being on the odd-numbered side of Texas Avenue I don't know).

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

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

After Save-a-Lot closed, it became Jacque's Toys & Games, a local upscale "learning toys" store. Now, Jacque's would claim it's been around since 1986 (the "start of business" time), but not in that space. It was originally called "The Toy Box" at located at 3806 Texas Avenue South in Bryan, later home to Brazos Blind & Draperies. Jacque's closed in September 2016.

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

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

The current Google Maps imagery shows Aggieland Preschool Academy at the old Jacque's and Lone Star Quiltworks and BCS Fitness on the left.

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"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Rare Gas Station Revival


Figures that I'd have to update this blog every once in a while. This is a small update to one of the Texas Avenue parts with new photos and info. Located next to a Century 21 office (which we didn't photograph), this was a Mobil for years (at least back to 1980, which is when I have phone books) but closed in 2004 (to the best of my memory) and was converted to Stratta Auto Repair for a number of years a few years later. I never released these pictures because the direct sunlight tended to mess them up, but here they are.
Looking at the garage, September 2013. Sorry my thumb partially obscures the shot. It was bright!
Another view, September 2013. I think that chimney is from another building which I believe may be part of the same complex. I remember the name of the business was written on the side wall facing Lincoln, but I'll have to do more research into it.
The pumps are still intact, September 2013. What a time warp!
Mobil signs, September 2013. A lone shadow looks in.
September 2013.
September 2013.

In September I returned to take a few more pictures. Sadly, inquiring within about the Mobil signs had no positive response--the signs were gone, likely disposed. Bummer. FabricCare has made their home in the garage while a tobacco store is opening next to it. Here's some more pictures from Sept. 2014.

Wow, this thing still lights up!.
Another pump that lights up.
More lights.


Behind it was an old garage, originally known as "Murphy's garage" or something like that (informally) but later it became Mechanics Unlimited, all the way into the early 2000s. Eventually, it closed. The building was recently repainted on my visit. The maroon board in the lower right was used to board up the garage doors, while you can see the maroon paint that was once on the bricks

It's 102 Lincoln, but there appears to be something going in there, though the fact that it was issued nearly two years ago makes that dubious. By the way, the chimney seen in the old Mobil shots are from this building, not the Mobil, which is 901 Texas Avenue S.

UPDATE 8/30/15: Shortly after making this post, the renovations were completed at this location. A sign replaced the long-empty Mobil that read, "The College Station" with "Discount Tobacco" written under it.

I still lived in the neighborhood at the time, and was aware of this. "Cute," I thought. "I like the fact that they made efforts to make this look very similar to the Mobil that was once here." After all, no gas station had been here for about a decade, the vacant "Texashell" was never re-occupied, probably owing to a difficult location, and I found it implausible that anyone would open a gas station without an electronic display. Everyone did, and every year more gas stations (especially the Shell stations) would upgrade. I should've noticed that the prices were indeed changing with the market, and what ended up happening is that during late summer, a Valero banner was placed over the sign. It shocked me, because not only was Valero buying essentially a dated gas station (the pumps were updated, they were not mock-ups, but the station hadn't seen a lot of updates over the years), but it was real the whole time! I felt a bit foolish for having thought so (plus "The College Station", the name, was a decent enough pun, though the "Discount Tobacco" threw me off) but come on...at the rate it was going, it was likely to be razed entirely for a new building, with the pumps taken out in the process, or at least, have the canopy destroyed and paved over. You would agree, right?

UPDATE: 10/21/15: Sadly, Valero has upgraded the prices to digital numbers. Alas...

Note: The title photo appears on Wikimapia with permission. I also plan to "outsource" the post, as part of this post was written as the big Texas Avenue post. That's why the name of the post as of 2015 went from "Mobil & Mechanics" to "A Rare Gas Station Revival". Please stand by while further edits continue.

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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fuego Tortilla Grill

Fuego after a recent repaint. Picture taken by me in July 2014.


Fuego Tortilla Grill (108 Poplar Street) is a small chain in Texas selling tacos. The San Marcos location used to be a KFC while the Waco location (on Interstate 35) replaced a motorcycle shop (and a new-build). The Fuego in College Station replaced something far darker.

For years, a brown brick building at the corner of Poplar and Texas Avenue was the home of "Adult Video" at 603 Texas Avenue. The building faced Texas Avenue (the entrance was off Poplar) on a lot that was vacant prior to the early 1980s (construction took one smaller house). Legally operating as "Dolar Video Inc." (as that what's it was officially) and operating out of Irving, apparently, Adult Video had its name in large, red block letters shining out to the Texas Avenue side (the building was where Fuego's dirt parking lot is now). It was a huge NIMBY for years from its opening in the early 1980s, and in 1994, a clerk was shot in the head in a robbery. According to the company profile listed above, it eventually shuttered due to tax reasons (this is backed up by other sources) but I seem to remember that in the final days, the "ADULT" part was removed, with only "VIDEO" showing, possibly (though I can't say for sure) an attempt to go legitimate (as College Station had essentially banned businesses like it operating within city limits in the early 2000s). It shuttered in 2004 for tax evasion.

Around 2009, the now-vacant building was finally removed, and along with another house razed around the same time, a restaurant initially filing under the name "Al Carbon Street Taco Grill" appeared. An article that describes the extremely janky operations can be found here, though the date is wrong, it was originally published two years earlier. When ACSTG finally opened later that year in 2010, now Fuego Tortilla Grill, it quickly zoomed to be extremely popular. Despite the poor location and access, Fuego Tortilla Grill became wildly successful, even in light of new competitors on the horizon and a salmonella outbreak in 2014, closing the restaurant for the first time since its opening. Finally, in September 2015, it ceased its previous 24/7 operation to be closed on Mondays.

Updated August 2019, including cutting out other information outsourced, formerly known as "Fuego and Other Buildings South of University Drive".

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Park Place Plaza

The most activity here in a long time. These and others are the author's photos from 2014.

2501 Texas Avenue South

Appearing shortly after Parkway Square and built in 1986 catty-corner to that shopping center, the center appeared to be the counterpart to the shopping center in many ways. While Parkway Square had its Kroger, Park Place Plaza had its Winn-Dixie Marketplace. While Parkway Square had McDonald's, Park Place had Kentucky Fried Chicken. Both had stores that faced Texas Avenue, and both had stores that faced Southwest Parkway.

The center is divided into four sections. Section A is the side that faces toward Southwest Parkway. Section B is the former grocery store anchor. C begins east of the former grocery store anchor and toward the back. D is the section of the stores in a separate building not attached to the grocery store anchor that face toward the parking lot (direction towards campus), but not all suite numbers are available.

Here's a map (from Holland Retail Advisors that shows the shopping center as it was in 2014.

Click for full size.

The largest tenant was a Winn-Dixie Marketplace supermarket at 45,500 square foot, comparable to the nearby Kroger. WDM was the company's attempt to build bigger, more modern stores for the 1980s, but unfortunately, the company had expanded too far and built too few Marketplace (or larger) stores, contributing to the chain's Texas pull-out in 2002 and bankruptcy in 2005, and the chain continues to retreat. The College Station store closed well before that. As Victoria-based Lack's Furniture opened in February 1997, Winn-Dixie closed in 1996 (the Bryan store continued to operate until 2002). It closed in late 2010 along with the rest of the locations (interestingly, an unrelated furniture chain closer to the border called Lacks Valley Stores ended up buying the domain name, and later, some of the old locations). The sign hung around (literally) for a little while longer but in 2014 the space was finally filled with two new tenants. The left side, keeping the address, became College Depot (which moved from Parkway Square), but after the spring 2017 season, College Depot went out of business. Legacy Ace Hardware & Gifts opened in August 2018, which replaced The Bear Mountain closer to Barnes & Noble. The store (operated by the same owners of Bear Mountain) includes a Bear Mountain outdoors store inside the hardware store. Here's a picture of the co-branded former anchor from May 2014 when College Depot moved in.

Next to Planet Fitness is Lupa's Coffee. This was a Quizno's that lasted far longer than it should have (2012 closing after a long deterioration). It reopened briefly as "Big Johnson Deli", which some local press for the suggestive name, but it closed within a year or two afterwards. I believe Quizno's Subs (as it was known originally before the apostrophe was dropped) replaced a Schlotzsky's Deli (as it was also known as back then).

Linh's Nails is next to it at C101, this used to be Premiere Dance Academy in the early 2010s, then A+ Foot Massage at C102 (listed as available in 2014), then Weight Watchers (also listed as available), then Laila's Beauty Studio (replacing Young Life), then Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (not "Aggie PC" as the chart says, this was here prior to 2014, and takes up C105 and C106). Going toward the back, there's Lit Cafe Hookah Lounge & Smoke Shop (C107), Studio Noir (C108). Studio Noir used to be the home of Gun Corps, a consignment store that specialized in guns. It closed after year end 2016 but there was a catch: their inventory was still locked up, and those guns were all collateral for loans and the bank seized everything during the bankruptcy. Many customers ended up getting their firearms back through the system but some customers ended up getting stiffed. Previously it was a short-lived restaurant called Aloha BBQ Hut. C109 is/was Gabrielle Baby & Maternity (old listings, can't verify). C110 is Vapegeek, C111 is Fusion Peru restaurant, and C112 is Sour Apple Repair. There's 555 Grill at D104 (formerly the home of Cali Chic Salon as of 2014, USA Nails before that), then at D105, the current home of Kumon Math & Reading Center (formerly the home of 4.0 & Go), then Ohana Korean Grill. This used to be a Spice Bowl, an Indian restaurant that predated Taz. I had heard it wasn't very good (this is supported by Yelp).

Prospector's Grill & Saloon (more nightclub than restaurant) opened in the spring of 2014 with a custom wooden facade (this used to be another restaurant called Kebab & Curry). After about a year, it closed when the owners stopped paying rent and skipped town, and it stood vacant for another two years before it was reopened as Rockies Night Club, their third location (originally in the mall, later in the former Weingarten in Bryan). In August 2018, a 16-hour standoff damaged the nightclub when law enforcement was forced to drive a vehicle into the restaurant, and although the nightclub reopened, it ended up closing for good in May 2019. A Hertz auto rental facility anchors the far south end (opened 2014).

I'm going to largely neglect the north side stores on Southwest Parkway, but since at least the late 1980s there was a Little Caesars here, which held fond memories for me through all of its renovations and continued to be the "go-to" pizza spot for my family until the Rock Prairie Road location opened around 2013. Originally, Little Caesars had blonde, 80s looking, wood paneling on the walls, this was removed in a 2000s renovation and replaced with black and white tiles. Eventually, a further renovation changed that, including removing a doorway to the kitchen with a traditional entrance to make the restaurant feel more open. There was also a gumball machine, and for many years had a promotion where if you got a black (grape) gumball, you'd get a free small pizza. I know I won at least once. It was great fun, but probably a bit of a money-loser and it was eventually discontinued (another discontinued item--I last saw the Baby Pan!Pan! around 2005, and even then, the packaging was dated). Prices went up and down for the Hot N Ready, sometimes $5, sometimes $6. Next door to that was a martial arts studio that closed in the early 2000s, became a sketchy video/DVD store for a few years, and then became a martial arts studio again (Academy of Modern Martial Arts). What's even more interesting is I've had people tell me that this was another video store before the first martial arts studio, called Paramount Theatre. An expansion to include music resulted in the larger space the martial arts studio has now. (Questions if the author ever practiced tae kwon do here in the mid-2000s will go without comment).

Lupa's Coffee can be seen, this filled the old Big Johnson Deli/Quizno's. I read that this used to be a Schlotzsky's Deli back in the 1990s before they moved to near Wal-Mart.
Prospector's Grill & Saloon with its new custom facade.
A Planet Fitness and College Depot now fill the former Lacks/Winn-Dixie.

The Kentucky Fried Chicken in the parking lot moved in the mid-1980s as well from Dominik Drive and renovated in the mid-2000s (exterior and interior).

Updated June 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saber Inn / Taco Cabana

Picture from May 2019 by author.

Texas Avenue has always been full of restaurants and hotels, and occasionally both. Saber Inn was one such place at 701 Texas Avenue South, and featured a restaurant along with a small motel section (just 36 rooms) and a cloverleaf-shaped swimming pool. As not many restaurants were in town in those days, hotel restaurants were a viable choice when dining out for locals. (Nowadays, most of the hotels have restaurants near them, not in them, though there are still some notable exceptions, like the hotels at Century Square).

The motel was torn down years ago. From what I've read, it lasted from 1957 to 1982, and then became "Baker Street Restaurant & Bar" (unknown if related to the Baker Street Pubs in Houston, some of which have since closed), and that was torn down too for a Taco Cabana (unless of course, I'm wrong again and the restaurant was at the motel site), which opened sometime in 1989 (Brazos CAD says the main restaurant was built in 1988 with the patio in 1989).

Saber Inn had a restaurant as well, but the scan cut off the address.

For years I argued that the Grapevine was never in the Saber Inn (partially because for years they ran another location down the road from Saber Inn), until I did find proof of it in another phone book; seems they took over the dinner service at one time while expanding to have wine and cheese. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the date, and I still need to work on the chronology of that.

Taco Cabana has mostly remained constant since 1989, though the logo and exterior updated as the chain changed, currently tan with pink accents, and a pink sign with white lettering.

Updated May 2019

Monday, June 24, 2013

Manor House Motor Inn

From a 1988-1989 Aggie Football guide

I went to Adamson Lagoon many times when I was younger, and seemingly towering over the pool area (certainly if you went up to the large slide) was the larger Manor House sign, a motel that was about a quarter mile away on 2504 Texas Avenue South. I don't remember when the towering sign disappeared (as part of sign ordinances, no doubt, a similar fate befell McDonald's just a ways down the road). It also has renovated completely around the time of its name change to just "Manor Inn" (probably much needed, the Days Inn next door remained in a time warp, and it still is like that today.

The original sign (which you can see in the advertisement) looked like this except it was maroon instead of black, as it was a chain at one time, and even in 2001 a Waco location still existed. (Brazos CAD says it was built in 1982, and by 1983 it was clearly open).


Updated May 2019

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Manor East Mall

725 (East) Villa Maria Road

I never did get any Manor East Mall pictures before year end, so went ahead and override what I had planned and released what we have today. I regret that I gave a lot of what I discovered--including the discovery of Britts as the first anchor--to Mall Hall of Fame, as well as an early name of the complex (pre-building): the "Manor Village Shopping Center", but here it is at last.

Manor East Mall has long has been a favorite subject of mine, dating back to this little summary I wrote for DeadMalls.com a few year back with an outdated Internet moniker, which was clever but ultimately stupid. (If you know me in real life--the answer should be pretty clear in a few seconds).

I first went to Manor East Mall over twelve years ago, my first and last time, and discovered (by then) it was a mostly empty corridor with a pet store and boarded up storefronts. I seem to remember it was blue, and it had benches. Although originally a "cross", you only went in, and turned right.

With that said, here are some bits about it, including some where you will find nowhere else. Remember, on some of these, you heard it here first!

A lot of false and misleading information is floating around about Manor East Mall, specifically two objects: its initial line-up including a J.C. Penney (which is partially true) and opening in 1972 (which may or may not be true). These facts were derived from a Brazos Valley history book, and I don't know where they sourced that from. This is the REAL scoop. Its initial anchors did include a 68,000 square foot Montgomery Ward (built before the mall, in 1966) and Britts as majors, but not much else about the mall line-up beyond the initial line-up. It included "The Fair", a Houston-based junior department store for a while, a Karmelkorn, a radio station, and some of the initial tenants shown on this 1972 ad from The Eagle (appearing on the Internet for the first time, exclusive to this blog). Some other tenants are listed on MyBCS.com. Kroger also was a charter tenant, though disconnected from the mall. Here's an early, easily-available picture of the Montgomery Ward and Kroger, before the mall was built.


Given that the original anchor, Britts, had its arches on the inside, I'm guessing the Britt's building was built a bit before the mall, which must have opened in 1971 (not 1970). Check out these Britts opening ads and other advertisements from The Eagle. These are exclusive to this blog, folks--never before seen on the Internet.






The Manor East III Theaters opened in November 1974. It was the first multiplex in town.

Kroger moved out in 1977, and the space had been taken by Hastings by the early 1990s (although it's quite possible that Hastings was around in the late 1970s--there was a Hastings at Culpepper Plaza).

When Britt's left in the late 1970s or early 1980s, it was briefly filled with a JCPenney (from downtown) before moving to Post Oak Mall. A unique feature of this JCPenney during this time was a rare but not unheard of coffeeshop inside the store, which was almost certainly originally the coffeeshop at Britts.

Hey, it's Pelican's Wharf!


By the late 1980s, it was occupied by a "Food 4 Less" grocery store. During that time, in 1982, Manor East Mall got a third anchor: the world's first mall-based Wal-Mart (which is yet to be disproved). It had two entrances (one exterior, one interior) and was a "brown" Wal-Mart as was standard in those days.

Post Oak Mall was a vacuum that ended up killing the last of the major downtown stores and Bryan retail (including the downtown Bealls, Woolworth, the Townshire Sears, and the Manor East JCP). It even added Dillard's and Foley's.

Wal-Mart was ultimately short-lived, and moved out circa 1994 for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter on the bypass. The mall had a fast exodus of tenants during that time, losing most of its national tenants.

In 1991, Food 4 Less closed (within weeks of the H-E-B Pantry's opening to the north) and it was split between Jo-Ann Fabrics and the 50 Off Store.

In mid-1997 the 'Magination Station, a local playhouse group, moved into the old movie theater and started renovations. But Montgomery Ward closed its only and last store in the area in early 1999, as part of the last round of store closures before bankruptcy.

While the 'Magnination Station (known as The Theatre Company within the next few years) and Bealls still active, the mall soldiered on until circa 2003, when the last of the in-line tenants closed and it was razed by the son of the developer that originally built it. A few of the corridors were converted to in-line space, but it was largely lost.

A few of the stores by the late 1990s had exterior exits. Family Dollar did (though that was a result of being added in the 1990s as a last-chance addition), and Bealls did too. I think these were behind the barriers of the north wall, though. Eckerd, which moved out circa '99 for a stand-alone store, also had one (if you visit Mall Hall of Fame, the map is wrong in its placement of Eckerd...wrong side of the mall, it faced Villa Maria--but correct in other places).

Also during this time, Shivers set up a snow-cone shack near Wayside and Villa Maria Road. This didn't last long, but Shivers survived, jumping to Culpepper Plaza II, and eventually Woodstone--I think it closed circa 2008).

The strip mall next to Hastings largely survived the transition. There was a Payless ShoeSource (moved) and a store called "Lease Town Rent to Own", which later became "Rent City" after the transition much to my bemusement. It later closed.

Gold's Gym was also in the old mall, I seem to remember it was behind the Hastings area. (Actually incorrect in an email. There wasn't enough space back there anyway!)

Here's an overview from 2003, showing where things were.
The "A" is where Family Dollar and Bealls had exterior access (Family Dollar opened circa 1997, it seems). There's also the Theatre Company visible. To put it in the present day context, the interior hallway north toward the old Britts has been demolished and replaced with an alley, the east-west corridor is now in-line space (Project: Yogurt, the ink store, etc.), and everything south of it is gone for H-E-B.

Note that in the present day, Hastings has expanded slightly, too. The building to the south had Carter's Burger if I recall correctly but I don't know what else.

Further information on its next incarnation, the Tejas Center, another time.

Thanks to The Mall Hall of Fame (though I supplied a lot of information to it to begin with), The HAIF, MyBCS, and The Eagle.

You'll notice there's a curious lack of interior photos...I couldn't find any, and emailing Stalworth Development (the company that both built it and redeveloped it) was at first promising but ultimately turned up nothing. There's an exterior photo floating around (see Mall Hall of Fame) that is the same view of Kroger and Montgomery Ward taken years later.


A rare interior picture, courtesy John Ellisor


Here's more stuff added as of June 2013 (I haven't actually gotten the pictures yet, except for one):

An ad from 1973. I find this hilarious since they seem to indicate everyone's father looked like that goofy guy from up there. Also, note that "Bell Bros." and "Beall Bros." are pronounced exactly the same.


Although I was sloppy in getting this from the microfilms (cutting off some), this 1973 ad has Animal World featured, which was one of the last in-line stores to leave, and one of the oldest. It was where we got some stuff immediately after getting our cat in 2000 from the animal shelter. Sadly, she's no longer with us.


Crafts Etc. ad from 1994. The theater had closed by this time.


If I got anything wrong, or you'd like to add something, leave a comment! Or send an email!

In later years (1990s), the mall still held a variety of local tenants even though the best days had long left it. Here are a few gathered from local publications. A beer and liquor memorabilia store? That's cool, I guess.


Here's a list of the mall stores about the time Post Oak Mall opened:
Animal World
Bealls
Bell Bros. Shoes
B&F Shoes
Cloth World
Courts
Eckerd
El Chico [may have been located outside the mall]
Eve's
Fifth Avenue Bookstore
Gallenkamps
Graves
Great Western Credit [ATM machine?]
House of Jeans
Karmelkorn
Keyboard Center
Margos' La Mode
Mean Machine
Milady
Montgomery Ward
Mor Rea's
Musicland
J.C. Penney
Orange Julius
Powder Room
Lindsey's
Singer Sewing Center
Starship Hallmark
The Fair [out of Houston, not the Chicago The Fair]
Turquoise Shop
Village Casuals
Wicks N Sticks
Your Optical Shoppe
Zales


Last updated 9/21/14 with a new picture by John Ellisor and another small change. Did you notice it?