Monday, January 17, 2011

Dave's Seafood & Steak / Tom's BBQ and Steakhouse

This restaurant was built sometime in the early 1980s (build date unknown due to demolished building) as Dave's Seafood & Steak Restaurant (operating from 1983 to 1985), closing as one of the restaurants that got washed out in the mid-1980s recession. Other than the ad above I have little information on it. It was briefly another restaurant (Johnny Peppy's) in late 1985 and early 1986 (it lasted for less than six months but it did open based on a mention in a Chamber of Commerce newsletter).

It later became another restaurant known as Karin's (according to The Eagle, so far, any other proof up to and including tax records has proved elusive) and in 1991, it became the College Station home of Tom's Barbecue & Steakhouse, which also changed the address from 2005 to 2001 Texas Avenue (though I believe it was the same building). Tom's Barbecue had been in town since the late 1960s and had established a new-build Bryan site just six years earlier at 3610 South College Avenue (now home to J. Cody's). While I never remember going there, it was a well-known restaurant in town and right across from the H-E-B Pantry Foods where my family regularly went grocery shopping.

Tom's Barbecue & Steakhouse began as just "Tom's Barbecue" in 1969 and moved around town a few times before settling at 3610 South College Avenue in 1985 in a newly-built location (now home to J. Cody's). The College Station restaurant officially opened in 1991, with both locations featuring a meat-based menu of steaks, burgers, barbecue, and a few others. It was also known for the "Tom's Famous Aggie Special", which gave you barbecue (your choice of meats, whether it be ribs, brisket, or whatever), a block of cheddar cheese, pickles, half an onion, bread, and served on butcher paper with a knife. The food quality, however, started to go downhill toward the end of the restaurant's lifespan, likely when pitmaster Wayne Kammerl left following new ownership in 1998. In April 2001, both restaurants abruptly closed.

Here's a menu from Project HOLD (which was supplied by me, actually). I don't know of the date, maybe late 1990s?

Originally some menu items were removed and blacked out (like the Veggie Basket), while some were added (they were stapled to the front)

There also used to be a Buffalo Wings one stapled on, and it used buffalo clip art, again.

In 2011, I found the old Tom's BBQ website (as early as the late 1990s, the College Station Tom's BBQ website disappeared and the domain was taken over by an Arizona-based Tom's BBQ). Here's the History page from it (thanks,

If you go to the archived website, you can see that for early 1997 and late 1996, it was a pretty advanced website: you could order online for pick-up, which wasn't common back then.

After serving for parking for the adjacent E-Z Travel Inn for a few years, it was torn down for a strip center.

The main tenant was Blockbuster, which moved down from 1800 Texas Avenue South. It also featured a location of Rhino Video Games (also owned by the Blockbuster at the time, though I don't think they had interior access). Rhino was bought and absorbed by GameStop in early 2007, which was disappointing as I heard Rhino actually carried classics like Super Nintendo, which GameStop had long since scrapped by then, and didn't have GameStop's aggressive policies that made it disliked by many people. There were some other smaller stores (not listed here, but the typical nail salons and cash stores) and a Batteries Plus, which eventually became Batteries+Bulbs in a corporate rebranding in the late 2000s. After Blockbuster failed in the early 2010s, the location became MattressFirm.

UPDATE 07-13-2021: New restaurant addition with Karin's (the restaurant added in an update a year ago) downplayed.