Friday, December 25, 2020

Former Valero at Holleman and Wellborn

Pore Jud's is Daid (Picture by author, 12/15/20)

The Valero at Holleman and Wellborn was demolished this month. The original convenience store at the station at 1011 Wellborn, dating back to at least 1993 was Jud's Food Stores out of Brenham. The station was built in 1989 as per BCAD but Jud's Food Stores was established in 1990, so depending on when the station opened, it may or may not have had that name. In fact, by the time the station opened, it was Jud's Food Stores #9. The first four stores were located in Brenham, with store 5 being in Seguin (2999 North Highway 123 Bypass) and 6 at 701 East Pierce Street in Luling. (This indicates that stores one through eight were older rebranded stations).

In any case, 1011 Wellborn was originally branded as an Exxon and remained that way for years. It also had a drive-through car wash and when I was younger it was occasionally used by my folks. I believe this was because there was a deal where you could use for free or very cheaply if you purchased gas, but at some point in the late 1990s this was dropped.

In 2000, the station was expanded with U Wash, which opened at the same address (though technically, the address by BCAD's number was 1001 Wellborn) and same ownership. U Wash was a self-serve car wash with several docks and was accessible only through the Exxon's parking lot. More change would come to the station a few years later, when it became a Valero in the mid-2000s (2006?). This Valero came slightly before the local Diamond Shamrock conversions to my memory, and was the first time I saw such a station.

Sometime around the same time of the Valero conversion, the convenience store became "Cross Roads Corner Store Aggieland" (the signage where Jud's was, on the left side of the door, was whited out). From then on, the station didn't see much activity in the station. The station did add Krispy Krunchy fried chicken inside in 2016 but this wasn't well advertised (not even on the outside of the store). However, U Wash was later closed and torn down within a few years of that without much fanfare, signifying (if subtly) that things were coming to an end.

Jud's Food Stores (of which 1011 Wellborn was store #9) was based out of Brenham, and in the early 1990s, stores one through four were located there. Store 6 was/is located at 2999 North Highway 123 Bypass in Seguin, with 7 at 701 East Pierce in Luling. I can't find number 5 of number 8.

In any case, I found in December that the Valero had removed the prices from the sign (though it was not covered in any way), with the gas station store emptied of merchandise, though the power was sill connected, given how the Monster and Coca-Cola coolers were still glowing. The drive-through car wash also had not been gutted yet. The whole thing looked as if it might reopen as something else, or at least be weeks away from being torn down.

Not so much—when I got around to it a few days later, the canopy was gone, the sign was gone, and Jud's wasn't much more than a foundation. (The car wash was still intact but gutted).

The rumor mill states that the corner of Holleman and Wellborn will be the home of a new McDonald's restaurant, moving from the corner of Marion Pugh and George Bush as part of the underpass construction. Unfortunately, this almost certainly means that the new restaurant will be a soulless brown building with silver accents rather than an example of the slightly nicer restaurants McDonald's was building/renovating with in the early 2000s, as the current restaurant is.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Burger Mojo, University Drive East

Burger Mojo doesn't have parking lot access from University Drive East, but neither did the previous tenant. (Picture by author. 7/29/20)

Yes, I know it has been a few months since the last update but this site is not yet dead. I actually have been making a few piecemeal updates here and there, and after evaluating the scenario, I will probably still post articles on this site rather than my own site (Carbon-izer), especially as 200+ articles seemed impractical to move. The "new" Bryan-College Station page includes several "street listings" with addresses in order, and hopefully contain some of the "less interesting" addresses that aren't much more than a photo and a brief blurb of information. (There are a number of recent "filler" posts like that on the blog).

Today's subject is 209 University Drive East.

The previous building here was a 1977-built office building that was essentially two connected octagons with a center portion connecting them. There were four suites, and each tenant got a floor of one of the octogons, with the center portion having access to all four (the upper level tenants had staircases, like an apartment building). Here's what the building looked like, with it last tenant, Lovan Animal Care, moving out at the end of end of 2015. (One of the other tenants that was there was "Hypnotik Salon & Tan", this left a year or two prior). This was part of the redevelopment of the block that included (but had nothing to do with) the Embassy Suites next door.

Note that the Google Maps Street View has a stone facade on the first level, that was actually a renovation over the original facade, which was mostly wood (which it was as of 2007).

Plans were to redevelop the site as a strip mall with Marco's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts back in 2016, but ultimately they moved on, with Marco's Pizza going in near Tarrow, and Dunkin' settling in near Deacon and Wellborn (and as of this writing, is wildly popular, with cars still lining up well after dark). Instead it was developed (and opened in December 2019) as Burger Mojo, a new fast casual hamburger concept by the Eccell Group.

Even in a time where restaurants have really gotten screwed over recently, Burger Mojo has announced a second location, at a former Wendy's restaurant at Holleman and Harvey Mitchell Parkway South (and some big news with that, check it out).

Monday, October 26, 2020

Outback Steakhouse

The front area used to have a lot more plants in the front.

Near the entrance to Target and the Manuel Drive stoplight (though a stoplight was not installed until around 2004) is an Outback Steakhouse, a chain restaurant that has been in College Station since its opening around 1993-1994, and one of the handful of local restaurants my family ate at growing up, probably because it was kid-friendly and had a children's menu (the "Joey Menu") complete with a coloring book and crayons.

The building has seen some minor modifications over the years. A new semi-enclosed area was built at some point, and the building was repainted from white to pale green before a significant re-do in 2017 when it was repainted tan and brick red (with the roof repainted black), removing "Steakhouse" from the lettering, as well as removing the palm trees in front of the building.

It also went through an interior update at some point, though the basics (black ceiling tiles, bar area in the center) still remain. I think it was this time when they actually added proper restroom signs (with braille) in addition to the novelty "Blokes" and "Sheilas" restrooms.

There was a time when Outback Steakhouse was one of the more popular restaurants in town, and in the mid-2000s, before the restaurants along University Drive East really took off but while the university was still growing, lines would sometimes stretch out the door, but that's been gone for a while now. The ongoing war on restaurants seems to have not yet claimed Outback Steakhouse as a victim...

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Clayton's Restaurant / Captain's Table

Captain's Table, the second restaurant here, was only open on weekends in October 1974. Bad sign? (Ad from The Eagle)

Clayton's Restaurant opened around 1957 at 2900 South Texas Avenue, and from copies seem to be a family restaurant not particularly specializing in anything based on this 1960s ad copy.

Clayton's had a big menu, but I doubt that most of it was all that good.

In the early 1970s, Clayton's closed and Captain's Table opened in April 1973 in its place, which was a more upscale restaurant with steak and seafood options (among others), including a full bar on the premises. Captain's Table featured a hexagon-shaped road sign that would survive for many years.

In mid-1977 Captain's Table abruptly closed, from still scheduling events in its banquet rooms in April 1977 to a "complete liquidation" of the property by June of 1977. In November 1977, it reopened as First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Bryan, setting a precedent for banks in the building from then to the modern day. While I can't find much on the interim years of the restaurant-turned-bank, by 2005 (nearly 30 years after it had stopped serving food), the bank was now State Bank, which was acquired and rebranded as Prosperity Bank in 2006 with other branches in the area.

If I recall, when I first started driving in the area around late 2010 (going to Blinn, of course), Prosperity Bank had closed its location here in favor of a nearby location, and The First Bank & Trust began renovations on it, altering and modernizing the facade (mostly adding a new overhang) and getting rid of the distinctive hexagon-shaped sign in favor of a traditional rectangle one.

In late 2019, The Bank & Trust was acquired by First Financial Bank, causing it to be rebranded to the First Financial Bank name. As of this writing, however, Google Maps Street View still has the default view as its First Bank & Trust iteration.