Friday, January 20, 2012

The Burger King Near Blinn

From August 2019 with the gas station recently de-Rattled. Picture by author.

When I first made this post back in January 2012, it was titled "The Terrible Food at Blinn", which was a rant on how awful the food was at Blinn compared to my new digs at A&M (which only lasted one semester before food was outsourced to Compass/Chartwells). I have no idea what Blinn's current digs are like but was astounded at what awful quality it was: there were very few places to eat on campus at all. There were vending machines (overpriced more than usual), the college bookstore with a small selection of convenience store items (Pop-Tarts were the usual item of choice here, despite an obvious push to stock more "healthy" items), and the student center having two "food court" type establishments, both of which were absolutely terrible, "Clux Delux" and "Block & Barrel". Clux Delux, according to what the packaging stating was supposed to be a bit like a poor man's Chick-fil-A, but it was just cafeteria food sitting under heat lamps, with cartoonishly bad everything. Unidentifiable gloop, an item on the menu literally listed as "chicken chunks"...Clux Delux had it all. Block & Barrel was just pre-packaged items including soggy, plastic-wrapped sandwiches (when were they made? who knows!)

This was depressing to me, as way back when Blinn was opening the Student Center building in the early 2000s, it had real fast food, one of which was a Taco Bell (I suspect the other was a Yum! Brands restaurant). Indeed, underneath the cheap banners of CD and B&B, you could see holes drilled in where the restaurant signs once were...and you know you're in for a real disappointment when Taco Bell is considered high cuisine to whatever they served.

Naturally, no one but the desperate wanted to eat the overpriced slop at the student center, so the nearest go-to place was a Burger King at the corner of 29th and Villa Maria, and due to schedules, was still too long to be walked to and from. Opened in 2007 along with an adjacent Rattlers', the first new Burger King in town in over two decades (certainly slow compared to the growth of the city's McDonald's restaurants). My memories of it were thinking it was grimier than the typical Burger King, and also around 2011 or 2012 when they switched to having monitors for the menu instead of just the normal menu system that slid to show breakfast and lunch items at different times.

The Rattlers', of course, is still branded as such, despite the takeover of the chain by Stripes. The chain's Shell stations have all been converted to Sunoco stations, but the Exxon-branded Rattlers' remain, for some reason. Or at least they would, except this is no longer a Rattlers', and instead a generic Exxon convenience store as of August 2019. (It also throws the other Exxon Rattlers', like the store on Boonville and Highway 6, or the one in Navasota, into doubt). This seems to have happened very recently, it's even still on the Stripes store locator page (#5258) as of this writing but lacks even the Stripes drink cups. The convenience store is at 2411 East 29th Street whereas Burger King is at 2401.

As an update to the above written, as of March 2020, the name of the convenience store is now called "Rustlers Den", a similar name to the Rattlers except with red lettering.