Wednesday, July 31, 2013

McDonald's at Northgate, The Area's First

From The Eagle, courtesy John Ellisor

Almost anything is interesting when you find enough to it, and today, we're looking at the original Northgate McDonald's (and its replacement).

Opening in December 1973 at the northeast corner of Spence Street and University Drive (801 University Drive) built by Philip Springer, the original McDonald's in Northgate was in many ways one of a kind with the only McDonald's in the area until 1977 when the Manor East Mall location was built. The Northgate location actually won a landscaping award (local only) when it opened when a 1976 article described that the McDonald's cleans up all the trash in and around the area, with "small pines, evergreens and grass [comprising the landscape]". It's a far cry from the island it is today surrounded by concrete.

In 1985, it added a little curved "solarium" window much like a Wendy's would have was added in the front (enclosing some additional outdoor seating), which McDonald's did as well for a time.

This I remember being demolished and rebuilt in the very early 2000s, though I can't remember if it was rebuilt with the new "front" or not. I think it was. I vaguely remember the little "ATM" flags flying over it (as Wikimapia reports), which were after the rebuilding but before a renovation. I can't tell what that thing is in the pictures post-demo pre-remodel (which happened around 2007, as it points out). Looking from a side-view aerial looks like it's some sort of covered playground area, which must have a post-rebuild touch, but it doesn't matter because it was demolished for an expansion of the eating area (and featuring a study area). Actually, a MyBCS thread reveals it was to be used for live music, which, unsurprisingly, turned out to be a failure, so it just became outdoor seating.

From a University Square lease plan

Two things that also made this a bit cooler than the average McDonald's, both of which are gone:

#1: This McDonald's did delivery. Yes, I know that a select number of markets did it in the 1980s (featuring a commercial which has unfortunately been removed from YouTube for some reason or another), it's being done in other countries, and they want to do it again (newspaper articles from April 29-30 2013 too numerous to link to). From what I could tell, it was a franchise-specific thing, and of those, only this location. This ad was from 1992.

#2: This McDonald's did tours as well. Here's a bit from a "Things for Children to See & Do in the Bryan-College Station" guide from the mid-1970s. This was back when it and the Villa Maria location were the only McDonald's locations in town. They definitely don't do this today anymore.

#3: This comment: I was in College Station from 94-99 and always thought this was a weird McD's location. When I first moved to CS, there was a weird game room/arcade in the back of the building that couldn't be accessed from the inside--you had to go outside and around back. I remember when they redid it and added the "live music" area in the front--I only remember ever seeing one band play there, right after they reopened. It seems like it was within weeks of opening that they reconfigured it to just be outdoor seating. I believe I read this was part of a basement area (which early McDonald's had, but rare in Texas).

Additionally, since this was last updated in 2014, it's not at the "northeast corner of Spence Street" anymore when the stoplight was removed and a median built between the entrance to University Square and Spence Street. In 2018, the McDonald's updated its exterior to a modern prototype.

Updated in August 2014 and June 2019

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grins at 4410 College Main

Find the error with the times of operation!

Grins was another quasi-Northgate establishment further up College Main in Bryan, 4410 College Main to be precise, and reportedly hosted some great live entertainment acts in its day. I've heard that the only "drinking" opportunities they had was Coors Light, so I'm guessing the food wasn't too fantastic either. The above advertisement came from November 1979. From 1983-1985, it was Dr. G's, unrelated to the later Mr. G's, Dr. G's ("The Remedy", it advertised) offered live music, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and Mexican food (likely beer, too, though the ad didn't mention that). Morganstern's was in the spot from 1986 to 1988. Still later (1989) it became Brazos Landing Seafood Grill & Bar (seafood, salads, and burgers--the ad mentioned swordfish, hamburgers, grilled shrimp, blackened chicken, salads, "and more"). That same year it was listed simultaneously as Texas Star Tavern. (Hmm.)

Since 1992, however, it has been Junction Five-o-Five, which despite its name, isn't a bar or other entertainment establishment. A picture of the current building was taken in June 2014 by me, and current Street View.

Other tenants that I could find and confirm included: Venetian Blind Hospital (or Sturdi-Craft Co.) (1947). I haven't found anything else yet or when it became a bar (or when it stopped becoming residential, as it presumably originally was).

UPDATE 08-03-2021: Complete rewrite with new information.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Former 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 would stand guard at the corner of Live Oak and Texas Avenue for over thirty years, though the logo and exterior updated as the chain changed its image, with the last incarnation being tan with pink accents, and a pink sign with white lettering. This would come to an end in January 2020 when the store and 18 other Taco Cabana restaurants closed with parent company Fiesta Restaurant Group citing underperformance (given the competition Taco Cabana faces between Mad Taco, Fuego, and Torchy's, all of which produce a superior taco at a better price point, it shouldn't be a surprise).

UPDATE 03-15-2021: In March 2021, Las Palapas (also from San Antonio, like Taco Cabana) opened. "Las Palapas Aggieland" as the sign says, has a color scheme in terms of lighting that resembles a bit of how Taco Cabana used to be. Post renamed to "Former Taco Cabana" to better reflect state of pictures.
UPDATE 07-21-2021: Removed [Defunct] as Las Palapas now operates in the spot. I should also note that it is open 24 hours (except on Mondays and Tuesdays), making it a rare 24 hour sit-down operation. Menudo is served on weekends.
UPDATE 05-26-2023: Tragically, Las Palapas ended up cutting down on hours again (10 pm weekdays, 2 am weekends) like other restaurants these days...and eventually the dreaded "closed for remodeling" suddenly cropped up. A Facebook post by the company later confirmed it. (Re-added [defunct] to the page...)

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Grapevine

A bit off the beaten path, but the fence wasn't here when it was a restaurant.

201 Live Oak Street

To clear up a few rumors that still float around even today, the Grapevine, a defunct restaurant near the intersection of Texas Avenue and University, was not and was never at Saber Inn down the street (EDIT 6/12/2018: actually, that may have been right all along--more later). It was, however, not located at its current place, from 1974 to 1980 it was at 315 Texas Avenue, a long-gone address that was shared with Senter-Piece Flowers.

In 1980, the current restaurant was built and owned by Patsy Perry (Zabel), running up until 2001 when Patsy (now Patsy Zabel) retired retired after nearly three decades [archive]. The restaurant briefly reopened under new owners (as mentioned in the KBTX article) and it did in fact open (in the original 2013 version of this article there was a Battalion article from 2004 entitled "Fresh from the Grapevine", but they removed it and I can't get an archived replacement article), if briefly, probably gone by mid-2005, if that.

Normally we would just put up an ad (as seen above) but today, we're presenting (and this is something I've worked out) real recipes from The Grapevine. The dressing, the potatoes, and the cheesecake have all been released on a Facebook group, and they're here now. (Yes, I got permission and yes, the link does in fact work!)

I also acquired a partial menu from late 2000 (with the last price increases in place--a typical entree held a cost of about $8.50) but I decided against putting it up except on request.

This blog reports it was "Lighthouse Christian Church" for a while after the closing of the Grapevine. The blog talked about said baked potatoes in great length, which I have reproduced here. I was going to leave a comment, but comments are closed on that post. Their loss, I suppose. I don't know how long Lighthouse was there, the blog was published in June 2007, but June 2007 happened to be when the current tenant, the Rohr Chabad Jewish Center, opened its doors for the first time.

Updated July 2017 with new photo taken this month, clarification of when the current restaurant opened, redoing links, further details on chronology, and integrating the October 2013 update.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

College Main Wash & Go

Be honest, have you ever seen a "Grand Opening" ad for a common laundromat? (from The Eagle)

Located just north of Northgate (and colloquially considered part of it), 4405 College Main is completely abandoned, but it wasn't always that way. The building was built in 1985 according to Brazos CAD and was divided into two suites.

4405A was primarily a laundromat. The first one, College Main Wash & Go, only lasted until 1989 but it served as a laundromat sporadically over the years, including Come 'N Wash (2004-2005) and BV Washateria (2005-2009). There might've been something in the during the 1990s but research has been inconclusive at the latest update's press time. By 2014, it was converted into the i-Stop convenience store but by 2015, i-Stop had shriveled up, leaving the center completely empty.

At 4405B, the earliest restaurant I can find is Carrie's Kitchen in 1987, immortalized in the "Camptoons map" (from Carbon-izer) While I don't have phone books for the late 1980s (except 1989) readily available, it appeared that before the more well-known Thai Taste (which occupied B for most of the 1990s), "Carrie's Kitchen" was at 4405B in 1987 (and according to taxpayer records, only lasted a very short time). Thai Taste opened in 1990 and moved out to University Square in 2002. From what I've heard, Thai Taste was well-liked in this location, the University Square location, not so much. Details on Thai Taste are still sketchy, but I seem to remember from reading on forum postings that Thai Taste closed in the mid-2000s on College Main, but the name was bought and it reopened on University Square for a few years. Vietnamese Taste began operations in 2003 (keeping the "Taste" part of the old sign). Vietnamese Taste closed in May 2012 (roughly) and reopened as "Vy's Asian Kitchen Cuisine" just off Texas Avenue a few months later. It lasted another five years in that spot before changing hands; they must have done SOMETHING right.

After that, it was registered as "Bottoms Up" (presumably a bar) but Googling it just shows it as a taxpayer entity and not anywhere as an actual business. Despite "existing" for a year, this was probably just a stillborn business. With Vietnamese Taste having left in 2012 and never reopened, and the short rise and fall of I-Stop, the whole building has been vacant and is for sale. It can be yours for about $860k.

UPDATE 08-03-2021: New name, minor rewrite, new details, removing [2000s], [services], and [northgate], adding [defunct], [service businesses], and [college main].

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Captain's Half Shell Oyster Bar / The Boat / Shipwreck Grill

I don't have a contemporary picture on file, but that shouldn't be too hard to find. Ad from The Eagle, October 1985.

Starting as The Captain's Half Shell Oyster Bar in 1985, which appears to have had other locations and likely as well a spin off of the extant Captain Benny's of Houston, today this 206 East Villa Maria Road is the home of Shipwreck Grill since fall 2009, owned by Wade and Mary Beckman.

The Captain's Half Shell Oyster Bar operated here from 1985 to 2002, and following that was another seafood restaurant, "The Boat", from 2002 to 2006. (Despite the name of Sam's Seafood on the tax record, it was not related to Houston-based Sam's Boat). After that, it sat abandoned for a few years, though according to tax records, just prior to Shipwreck changed hands to become "Melting Pot African-Caribbean Cuisine" (though this may have operated as a home-based catering service briefly). From 2013 to 2024, a second restaurant operated across the street, Amico Nave Ristorante. In March 2024, while the corpse of Amico Nave was still warm, the owners of Shipwreck Grill announced they would renovate the former Amico Nave into the new location of Shipwreck Grill, causing them to "abandon ship".

UPDATE 03-06-2024: Rewrite of existing post for Amico Nave addition.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mr. Gatti's on Northgate

One of the new restaurants of University Square was Mr. Gatti's (opening 1974), which had the tagline of "The best pizza in town (Honest)", and by all accounts, it was a decent pizza place. It had two levels, cold beer, and, as the ad above indicates, did have live entertainment (like a pre-fame Lyle Lovett). For nearly two decades, Mr. Gatti's thrived at 107 College Avenue.

The "pizzamat" (817 University Drive), as indicated above, was a take-out pizza and beer building and had the address of 817 University Drive. It is now the home of the little drive-through ATM (First National Bank?) which was Mt. Aggie Snow Cones in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The pizzamat replaced, and had the same address as the "Rao Drive Inn", an extremely cool looking drive-in straight out of the 1950s, was closed and torn down in the early part of the 1970s.

"54" is scribbled on the side. Did it open in 1954? (from Historic Brazos County: An Illustrated Journey)

By 1996, Mr. Gatti's (by now the only one left in town, the Bryan one having been closed for a time, it was now China Garden) finally was closed and replaced with Gattiland, as the ad below indicates (how do I know it's 1996? Check the bottom picture). Gattiland wasn't anywhere near the old Mr. Gatti's, as it was in Bryan some miles up. It didn't even cater to the same clientele at all (though Mr. Gatti's arguably was heading this direction, a buffet wasn't offered in the 1970s), and the story of that restaurant from here on out would only get worse...

Shortly afterwards, the building was torn down, and in 1997, a new Schlotzsky's Deli (now just Schlotzsky's) was built on the spot.

Prior to dropping the "Deli" and adding Cinnabon. The patio has been expanded since then (2012). From Stalworth's website.

Edit 1/16/14: Added opening date, will make another update when Gattiland article is added.
2/14/14: link added
May 2019: Updates made.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wickes Lumber

A full-service hardware store!

This has always been a building I've seen since my youth, operating as a business I can't remember anymore (it had six letters and appeared to be there for a while, given how faded it was) but originally, it was Wickes Lumber, operating since at least 1975 (likely built soon after the completion of the "West Loop"). Given the ad below, it seemed to be a full hardware store, even going with its own functioning railroad spur to bring in lumber directly.

I don't know when Wickes Lumber went out of business...FundingUniverse seems to indicate late 1980s or early 1990s, which makes sense and then somehow later down the line, Wickes was bought and operates in the UK exclusively, but such a thing is out of the scope out of this article.

You aren't missing much in terms of building variety.

After the closure of Wickes in the late 1980s or early 1990s (as mentioned before), about two or three other businesses tried their hand at the building. There was that faded sign with six characters in the early to mid-1990s (as far as I know that was the first tenant after Wickes) and something else as well later (or two), until finally coming to Moore Supply Co. and their "Bath & Kitchen Showplace" (initially with a tiny sign) sometime in the early to mid 2000s. Sometime since this post was last updated (2017?) Bath & Kitchen Showplace renamed to "Facets".

The surrounding buildings that Wickes had were all sold off (they were owned by Wickes--during the right time of day, you can see a Wickes Lumber "labelscar" on the Boral Bricks building). Brazos Valley Turf occupies the building to the right of it (has been there for years), and Boral Bricks was in the back (probably originally something else after Wickes). The addresses are all different...Wickes Lumber had been 101 West Loop, but the current addresses include Moore Supply Co. as 1530 Harvey Mitchell, Brazos Valley Turf as 101 N. Dowling Road (which is strange since the same address is shared with Living Water Pottery), and Boral Bricks ("Boral Bricks Studio"?) is at 95 N. Dowling Road. Brazos CAD was no help in trying to get any information on the confusing addresses of these things, nor any old phone books. The only things that I gleaned from my resources was that Brazos Valley Turf opened in the late 1990s (which makes sense with what I remember), but even before BV Turf opened, the address of Country Grocery was 101 A N. Dowling Road, which suggests that even back in '96, there was a second address for that.

Finally, we have those pictures of railroad spur I mentioned before. It shut down around or before the untimely closure of Wickes Lumber, and a cell phone tower has been built on the site, but some of it remains today. These pictures were taken in June 2010 with my then-new cell phone camera, and I'm excited to show these, even if they are low quality. It had been around since at least 1975, so it was likely built soon after the completion of the "West Loop".

One more story—in the late 1990s or early 2000s, someone had the bright idea of parking their car in the wide right of way area between Harvey Mitchell Parkway and the parking lot, and putting a "For Sale" sign on it. This, in turn, was a success. The car was sold, and other people started to put up their cars in the space to be sold. At one time there was up to five cars, and no less than 3, until TxDOT got fed up with people parking their cars there, and put up a row of "No Parking" signs in the area that remained until construction of the overpass began.

UPDATE 03-20-2021: Added back section that was previously from "Photos of the West Loop". There's some sort of collision center coming to the former Boral Bricks area, but I need to get more information.

UPDATE 01-04-2024: A few corrections and updates.

I did want to make a few corrections. The warehouses behind the store were indeed part of Wickes Lumber, before the construction of Joe Hudson's Collision Center (today at 95 N. Dowling Road and opened around August 2022), you COULD see the faded Wickes Lumber scar on one of the buildings on Wellborn Road, given the right light conditions. Wickes Lumber also opened in 1974.

Some additional information I uncovered that there was a "JST CONCRETE CO INC" (operating from 1995 to 1996) at the address; however I can't confirm or deny it was the first tenant I remember seeing there, as well as Les Investments Inc. from 1990 to 1994 (probably not the actual name on the building) and "SHR ROOFING SUPPLY INC." from 1994 to 1997. Showman Electrical Supply Co. Inc. was here from 2001 to 2002 and used the 1530 Harvey Mitchell address (the first to do so, looks like).

Also, I believe 2017 was when B&K Showplace became Facets, with a repaint coming around that time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

McDonald's & Blockbuster

Opening in December 2001 as the first of its kind (remember, the "heady times" mentioned yesterday) and renovating circa 2008, the McDonald's features an adjoining Blockbuster. It used to be really cool at the time but also an odd combination: McDonald's and movies? (I guess the Redbox kiosks installed circa 2006 at most McDonald's fulfills a similar purpose). The 2008 remodel cut down on the huge cavernous feel of the original store for a separation into the three "zones" developed around that time, an area for kids near the Playplace indoor playground (which it always had), the "Grab n Go" zone, and the "couches" area. I didn't really like the post-remodel version. I remember when I went for a "McTeacher" night when teachers made burgers for charity in middle school.

The Blockbuster closed in spring 2013. I wanted to take a picture of the inside of the Blockbuster, for posterity (this site) last summer, but was stopped by a clerk, who no longer works there for obvious reasons.

I think it would be interesting if the Blockbuster side was filled in with some sort of new, I know that McDonald's divested itself from Chipotle in 2006, but sure would be awesome to see it occupy the other side, provide some competition to the nearby Freebirds, as well as giving those who don't like McDonald's another option...or perhaps another seemingly wild concept (McDonald's + haircuts?)...but in all likelihood it will be remodeled into an expansion of McDonald's.

UPDATE 1: As of July 2013, there's some McDonald's signage and decor on the outside of the Blockbuster side, which is cleared of all décor. It doesn't exactly look aesthetically pleasing.

UPDATE 2: Well, the "haircuts" might have come to pass...sorta. As of December 2015, it has become a location of Sola Salons, a chain of rentable salon spaces. Unfortunately (but understandably) it lacks a connection to the adjacent McDonald's.

1748 Rock Prairie Road (Blockbuster)
1750 Rock Prairie Road (McDonald's)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

George Bush Presidential Library & Museum

Presumably taken before September 11th, I don't think they'd allow trucks up there anymore (source)

Happy Independence Day!

I won't write a full post on George Bush Presidential Library, simply because it will read too much like a tourist guide or be politically charged (renaming Jersey Street to George Bush Drive before Clinton even finished his first term is a particular sore spot for many area non-conservatives).

Nor will I have any newspaper clippings or other material on it (there is literally enough material for a website in itself). All I have is some statements about the museum from 1997-2007 and a particular favorite exhibit of mine, Trains: Tracks of the Iron Horse, which introduced the Union Pacific 4141, a train that was on display near the pedestrian overpass (with a special spur), and after a few years of ordinary service, returned to Aggieland once more after President George H.W. Bush's last trip.

It was a pretty heady time to be living in Aggieland at the time (1997-2002). Although the Bonfire collapse and September 11th happened in this time frame, development was taking off in Rock Prairie Road, the University Drive and Harvey Road restaurant rows were building up, and many buildings--the new College Station Library, Reed Arena, and a few others all opened up.

At least the construction turned George Bush Drive West from a bumpy two lane road (similar to Luther St. West now, by all accounts) into a smooth, fast, four-lane avenue with a median.

Updated June 2019

1000 George Bush Drive West

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brazos Blue Ribbon Bakery in Bryan

This is a beautiful full-color ad of the Brazos Blue Ribbon Bakery at Villa Maria and Briarcrest (1136 East Villa Maria Road to be exact) from a late 1980s Texas Aggies football program. Although Brazos Blue Ribbon Bakery dates back to 1988, it wasn't the first business in the 1984-built building, a recently unearthed Eagle article mentions it was originally the home of Green Light Auto Parts (and also mentions that the business was originally supposed to focus on industrial production, with long-range plans to be moved to Bryan Business Park).

In 1998, BBRB moved to Dominik Drive in College Station where it would become the genesis for Blue Baker, and this location became a Must Be Heaven in 2000, which survives today. I was never impressed with MBH (Must Be Purgatory, perhaps) but I admire its willingness to stick out in a difficult location. Even though Must Be Heaven still occupies the space, that smaller sign is gone, it's now just a rusty metal frame.

UPDATE 08-12-2021: Appended new date and link for BBRB. Also in spring 2021 they split with Brenham's Must Be Heaven and renamed the restaurants as Sweet Relish Café.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Post Oak Mall Stores, 1992-2002

Originally posted as "Post Oak Mall, Part One - The Anchors" before the re-do into the current form in January 2022, this covers the mall's interior stores (well, mostly--there are bound to be gaps) from 1992 to 2002. Like the 1982-1992 page, prior to around the early 2000s, the mall directories used an arbitrary numbering system, starting from 1 near Wilson's/Service Merchandise (originally at one of the mall's corners) and continuing up to 137 (later 155 as the JCPenney wing was built). This later switched to suite numbers. To keep things consistent, both will be used.

Also to keep things consistent, the anchors will be referred to such as they did in this era, with Bealls, Service Merchandise, Sears, JCPenney, Dillard's, and Foley's.

Here's my 1998 map (at least I believe it's 1998, as it matches the evidence I have) map from an older post, though it's a little hard to read and wrinkled (click to see full resolution).

[Click here to see the back of the directory]

As this was built off the existing 1980s list, some descriptions are identical if it didn't change. In the creation of this list, I did have a 2001 directory which I referenced, but currently it is not added. It may be added in the future to Carbon-izer, however, and I'll link to it if I do.

1 / 9002. This was listed as Summit Stationers in the late 1990s directory but vacant according to a 2000 tenant list.

2 / 9000. Command Performance in late 1990s and early 2000s. This was a haircutting salon in numerous malls even back in 1980, though it seems to be extinct today.

3 / 4044. Spencer Gifts...this was in the spot for years. I'm not sure when it moved out to a slightly different space but it was here from the mid-1990s to well past 2002. They always used to have a lot of lava lamps.

4 / 4042. Lady Foot Locker in 1998. By 2000 it was Deck the Walls.

5 / 4040. Christie's (jewelry) in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

6/4038. Corn Dog 7 was one of those places that sprouted up exclusively in malls in the South during the 1980s and while I've yet to locate one in the wild since 2008 (Mall of the Mainland, since closed), it was here until the around the mid-2000s. 7/4034. Chick-fil-A, a charter tenant to the mall survived to almost 30 years of the mall, closing December 24, 2011 due to high rents. There were other issues too, like the mall not doing renovations (by the time they did, it was too late). It was a bit unique in that it had a small dine-in area with some Aggie memorabilia on the wall, and was a full-featured Chick-fil-A (no "Express" here). It was also the first in town, long before the one at Briarcrest was built, or before the campus CFA Express locations, or before Chick-fil-A started to sprout up with ever-more convenient locations even if those locations are consistently packed. This was my first Chick-fil-A, and I had a lot of ice cream here over the years and some chicken nuggets, but no sandwiches.

8/4032. Manchu Wok, the requisite mall Chinese food. Tax records indicate it opened in 1991.

9/4030. Roman Delight Pizza opened in fall 1998. It isn't on the '97 directory. It remains today (well as of this writing in '21, though signage changed from what it looked like originally and certainly through the cut-off of 2002 in this section.

10/4028. Subway opened in this newer location at some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s (though in tax records retroactively changed it to the new location). It was here until around 2005.

11/4024. As 11 & 12 were combined in the previous decade, the McDonald's was here from 1987 until 2002 when the local franchisee retired, closed the store, and became Sonic by late 2002 (no drive-in). The McDonald's was a walk-up location, but I believe it served a full menu. The Orange Julius space next to it (referred to in the previous document) had completely disappeared by the early 1990s; it was reconfigured.

16 / 6016. Beeper Boutique c. 1997 and 2000. The space for 15 (6018) is vacant in both versions.

17 / 6020. By 2000, this was Hat World, which kept that name for years. (They rebranded to Lids at some point, but that's outside the scope of this section).

18 / 6014. Merle Norman was in this spot for years since at least 1984 (they were not an original February 1982 charter tenant). At some point in the 2000s, they moved out to Post Oak Square, but it didn't last too long after that.

19 / 6013. Pretzel Time was here from 1994 to 1997. Later they moved to a kiosk (K-11) after this. It was combined into the new Gymboree.

20 / 6010. Babbage's opened here in 1992. In 2002 it was renamed GameStop following a corporate rebrand initiated a few years prior by then-parent Barnes & Noble. It should be noted that in its heyday as Babbage's, it included mainline computer software as well—my family's copy of Kid Pix Studio was bought here.

21 / 6021. Gymboree opened in 1997 (March 1997, another clue to when that directory was from) and occupied two spaces, including the space that used to be #19. The former Pretzel Time is where the main entrance. It may have had a second entrance to the food court at some point, but I just remember an empty wall with Gymboree's logo.

22 / 6022. Villa Italian Specialties was here approximately from 1988 to 1997. The 2000 directory doesn't have a space for it. The space was absorbed by Afterthoughts (later Icing by Claire's, then just Claire's when Icing and Claire's switched places) by 2001.

23 / 6008. Afterthoughts since 1988, I'm not sure when they completed their expansion into the food court area but it wasn't until after 2001 when it was rebranded.

24 / 6006. Wicks 'N Sticks - This mall candle chain was still here in the 1990s and early 2000s.

25 / 6004. Lewis Shoe Gallery was here from 1985 into 1995. By 1998, it was absorbed into the Wicks 'N Sticks space.

26 / 6002. Gordon's - This jewelry store appears to have moved to this location in 1993 and remained up until 2020.

27 / 6000. Swensen's - Ice cream and other foods. A location in Culpepper Plaza lasted for years longer, but Swensen's at the mall existed until 1994. It was briefly "The Yogurt Culture" in 1995-1996 before becoming Smoothies Ice Cream & Yogurt in 1997, and would be so until the mid-2000s. This was a chain, there was one other location in Deerbrook Mall.

28 / 4020. Time Out Family Amusement Center - This video arcade was in the mall for many years, I believe into the early 2000s.

29 / 4019. Taste of the Tropics kept its storefront here until the mid-2000s when it moved to a different location in the food court.

30 / 4018. Cinnabon (yes, a real Cinnabon, not a display case at Schlotzsky's) was here from around 1993 to 1997. Frustratingly, I did see a picture of Cinnabon in the mall...the counter was a bit off-set in the mall corridor to allow a few extra tables for its patrons but not enough for a full storefront like Chick-fil-A. By 1998 it was Friedman's Jewelers, which it still was as of 2000.

32 / 4016. The Wild Pair

At some point in the 1990s, the parent company of The Wild Pair and Jeans West, Edison Brothers, combined the spaces into the new location of J. Riggings, but that closed and around 1999 this was briefly All Wound Up, a novelty toy store (later bought by Borders) and by 2000, had become a location of Aggieland Outfitters.

33 / 4014. Jeans West (charter tenant) did last into the 1990s before it was closed and combined with the above store.

34 / 4012. Brooks Fashions (women's clothing) in 1982, with some references online to knitted sweaters. Around 1995, Brooks Fashions went bankrupt and Casual Corner moved in.

35 / 4010. County Seat from day one, which lasted until around 1999. Wikipedia mentions it was owned by Chicago department store Carson Pirie Scott for a time, before the latter was bought by Bergner's and spun off again. By 2000, it reopened as Limited Too.

36 / 4008. Butler Shoes in 1982. 5-7-9 operated here from around November 1996 to July 1999.

37 / 4006. By 1997, Camelot Music had relocated to this location in the mall. In 2001, it was purchased by Trans World Entertainment, and rebranded to "fye" in the early 2000s.

38 / 4004. Payless ShoeSource was here probably since the early 1990s when expanding into the Open Country space (which took 38/4004)

39 / 4003. Zales (former Corrigan's) was still here in 1997 and 2000.

41 / 4003A. Carved back out of the former Rox-Z and taking the 41 title (but with 4003A as the suite number) was Adventure Travel. It was here around 1998-2000 but there are no other records handy as to when it departed other than the fact it was gone by 2003.

42/ 4000. EyeMasters had been here by 1988, replacing Rox-Z and taking most of its former space. It eventually rebranded as Visionworks (which is still there) but that all came later. It boasts an exterior and interior entrance.

Like in the 1982-1992 list, there doesn't seem to be anything in "43" nor does it have a corresponding suite number.

44 / 3026. Again, like past and present, Casa Olé operated here through the 1990s. It is now one of the oldest operating Tex-Mex restaurants in town at this point.

48 / 3020. With 46 absorbed and no 47 in any of the old maps, this was Coach House Cards & Gifts at least since the early 1990s after the demise of Peck & Peck. Coach House survived for many years after.

49 / 3018. Great American Cookie Co. did not change this decade and even survived the next one.

50 / 3016. General Nutrition Center - GNC survived at least to the early 2010s.

51 / 3014. Bath & Body Works (#218) first opened in 1994, and this was its home during the early years, into 2002.

52 / 3012. FootAction was here, possibly as early as 1985. It survived until around 2004.

54 / 3010. Vanity, a women's clothing boutique, was here from 1993 to 2004.

55 / 3008. Rugged Outdoors was here as of 2000 (so says the website), though it later moved closer to Sears.

56 / 3006. It appears that Scripture Haven has been here since 1985 and as of this writing (January 2022) still exists, though the owners are about the retire and the store will come to an end. The store sells Christian books and other products.

57 / 3004. Radio Shack - Radio Shack continued to live on through the 1990s. It wasn't until the company having major trouble in the early 2010s that it closed.

58 / 3002. Catalena Hatters / The Texas Store opened in 1994 and moved out a decade later. Although originally associated with the defunct Catalena Hatters (which was on Main Street in Downtown Bryan), the replacement to The Texas Store relocated outside of the mall near where Chipotle is on University Drive East these days. (No, I don't see a #59).

60 / 3000. At this point, the corridor hits Dillard's and continues to work clock-wise toward Sears. Starting out this section is World Bazaar, closing in 1992 after being here since 1989, and had a few tenants since. There was "Lam's" in 1994 (appeared to be the same "Lam's Silk Garden", which moved around a few times and will be covered in this page), and "Outback Sheepskin" around 1997. This was the store listed in a taxpayer website and there is zero information on the Internet about it. By 2000, it became Ann's Bridal & Formalwear, which it would be for a few years after that.

61 / 1022. This was the original Coach House Cards & Gifts location but it looks like it was mostly seasonal Christmas stores for most of the 1990s (and thus vacant the rest of the year). In 2000, it was Dollar Corner, which it was in 2001. It seems strange that something so dowdy as a dollar store could hang out next to Dillard's even in 2000, but I guess Dillard's was doing well enough that it didn't matter.

62 / 1020. Children and juniors' apparel retailer 4Ever Young was here from September 1999 to 2002. While the mall directory doesn't list it, tax records this was "Art & Craft Showplace" from December 1995 to December 1997, though it's likely this was just a temporary store that did not open regularly. You can see an ad in this Battalion page though it doesn't have a logo.

63/ 1012. By the time the late 1990s, a large portion of the corner of stores between Dillard's and Sears was occupied by The Limited. By 2005, this would be absorbed into the even larger Steve & Barry's, but that comes later...

68 / 1010. Skipping directly to 68 was Royal Optical c. 1997 and a location of Pro Soccer by 1999-2000. Pro Soccer is still around, located in a shabby little strip center located across from the mall on Harvey Road...but it hasn't been at the mall in years.

69 / 1008. This was "Visions" from 2000 to 2002 (gift store). Other than that, I have no information on this space.

70 / 1006. The 1990s map has this vacant, but the 2000 website lists this as Brazos Co. Sheriff's Station.

72 / 1002. This was Oshman's Sporting Goods (described in the 1980s page) until 2002.

76 / 2002. C. 1999 this was the home of Brazos Valley Troupe, but from 1999 to 2000 was Sleep City (#7). By fall 2001, it was Rugged Outdoors.

78 / 2006. Waterbed Gallery in the 1980s directories. The 1990s directory has this as a vacancy, and I can't seem to find it in the 2000 website either. By the time the 2001 print directory came out, it was renumbered as 77 and where the sheriff's department had relocated to.

85 / 2018. By 1998, Lerner New York had occupied this large space (absorbing several other stores). It would stay here up until the early 2010s, but changed to New York & Company in the early 2000s.

87 / 2020. Lane Bryant (#885) was here since around 1993 and bit it around 2016 (which is outside of this section's time frame).

89 / 2022. There's no #88, but in 2001 this was The Buckle.

90 / 2024. Kinney Shoes (charter tenant) was here into 1990s. After "they killed Kinney" in 1998 (bankruptcy), by 2000 this was operating as Pacific Sunwear.

91 / 2026. The Gap operated a large store here for many years, opened sometime around 1993. In 2011, the location closed, but during the 1990s and early 2000s (Gap's heyday), it was located here.

95 / 2034. Little Havana Cigar Company was here from 1997 to 1999. From 1999 to 2004 it was News Plus, a small newstand store.

97 / 2038. This was Cinema 3 prior to 1998 (Plitt originally, then Carmike). The Wikipedia article for Post Oak Mall (which I will NOT list) had that it closed for 2000 for years (unchangeable due to a particularly aggressive user who, based on edit history, was on Wikipedia 22 hours a day), based on an SEC filing that mentioned the cinema was closed by 2000. I still don't know when it actually closed...but by 2001, Cactus Canyon was preparing to move in, and later it was known as "The Canyon". I seem to remember that there was some sort of incident that gave it a bad reputation and had to change its name. Cactus Canyon (and the bars that followed it) did not open up into the mall.

101 / 5002. Due to a reconfiguration at some point, Chelsea Street Pub & Grill was directly across from Cactus Canyon on the left side of the main entrance to the mall. This was where the mall faced the freeway (despite having a Harvey Road address). Chelsea Street Pub was a popular mall-based restaurant in the 1980s and 1990s in the South, but the restaurant here came late (opening in 1996) and only lasted five years. It did outlast Luby's (see below, 149) but not for much longer. It operated after mall hours until last call. It was also one of the last stores here to actually open into the mall.

100 / 5000. American Eagle Outfitters faced the main mall corridor. It has been here at least since 1998, and I believe is even there still today.

102 / 5008. All resources I have indicate this was a large Express (women's)/Structure (men's) store in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

103 / 5010. My late 1990s/early 2000s directories show that this exterior-facing store was a U.S. Navy recruitment office.

104 / 5012. From 1992 to almost twenty years later, this was Trade Secret, a chain salon. In 2010, the parent company went bankrupt.

105 / 5014. This was still Foot Locker into the 2000s.

107 / 5016. There is no 106, but this was Keta's Hallmark in 1998, into the late 2000s.

108 / 5018. Kay-Bee Toys closed in 2003 after being at the mall for over 20 years.

110 / 5020. Gadzooks opened here in 1987, and continued well into the mid-2000s. Until 2003 it had clothing for men and women, and had a cool neon sign also.

111 / 5022. The original location of Journeys opened here in 1996. I'm not sure when it moved closer to the food court, but it was after 2002.

112 / 5024. The Coffee Beanery, Ltd. had a store here from 1993 to 2004. I guess the mall store made it work despite the franchise having failure rates. It was an actual storefront (not a kiosk) at the mall, but you can see what it might have looked like here. (Note the presence of Roy Rogers and a partial sign for The Great Hot Dog Experience in one of the pics, the latter having a presence at Post Oak Mall, but the former only having a Bryan store in the late 1960s).

114 / 5028. Circa 1998, 5028 was labeled as 113, and it was all the space of Trevor's. By 2001, Trevor's had downscaled and freed up space 113 (5026), though it still appears it was vacant in 2001.

116 / 5030. Nancy's Unique Boutique was here from late 1995 to 1999, then changed hands to become Gigi's Unique Boutique (just listed as Gi Gi's Boutique in the 2001 directory). This closed in 2003.

At this point, there was the Foley's entrance, then wrapping back around...

118 / 7000. LensCrafters was here since at least 1998 (merging 117 and 7002).

120 / 7004. "Modern Woman" was here around 1998 (same spot as 1984's "Woman's World", though they don't seem to be related). A 2000 store listing says this was "Halloween Bootique" but from a December archive. Seems to be strange that they would have should be a temporary store that shuts down by early November well into the Christmas season, but by 2001 it was the new location of Command Performance (moved from its location next to Service Merchandise).

121 / 7006. Samuel's Jewelers was here by 2001. It replaced Mission Jewelers around 1999, though they were both under common ownership by that time.

123 / 7008. Victoria's Secret was here as of 1998 and had been in the mall since around 1990. It has since substantially grown from the location as shown c. 1998.

124 / 7010. Listed as "122" in the c. 1998 directory, this was Eddie Bauer, which was here from 1995 to 2000. Around November 2000, it reopened as Abercrombie & Fitch, which it would be for almost the next decade.

125 / 7012. Champs Sports by 2000, this was vacant in the 1990s, possibly vacant since Woolworth passed on around 1993. (Eddie Bauer also takes up some former space).

126 / 7016. Flowerama from 1992 to 1998, this was a chain floral store. The 2001 directory puts this as Lady Foot Locker but as #127.

128 / 7020. Regis Hairstylist was here as of 1998 and still here through 2002 and would remain for close to a decade afterward.

129 / 7022. Claire's Boutique was here by the mid 1990s, possibly as early as 1985. Later they would switch with the location of Icing by Claire's (formerly Afterthoughts), but that's beyond the scope of this current page.

130 / 8000. By 1996, this was a large The Shoe Dept. store, which it would still be in 2001.

136 / 8008. Inspirations was here since 1992 and would continue past 2002.

137 / 8010. Sam Goody was here in 1997 and 2001. At some point in the mid-2000s, sister store Camelot Music was converted to fye, but the fate of this Sam Goody is unknown.

138 / 8012A. Going into the 1985 JCPenney wing, Ritz One-Hour Photo was here in 1997 through 2001, probably as late as 2005, but we'll explore that in a future version.

Because the old "number" system was added before the JCPenney wing, 8012B is neither labeled nor occupied as a number. This was probably to keep options open as this was where a seventh anchor would've been added (still a grassy blank area). It's unknown what the original plan was, whether to add Mervyn's, Montgomery Ward, or Foley's (before they took the main spot where a Joske's was planned to go), but it's a safe bet it was one of these three.

139 / 8018. Waldenbooks was originally closer to Sears and Dillard's (see 1982-1993 page) but it seems it moved here as early as 1985 because the directories that used numbers are contiguous, meaning it likely did not absorb smaller store spaces. In 1993 it added a "Waldenkids" combo as well, though this eventually just amounted to little more than just an additional facade. Either way, Waldenbooks was a large store and one of the best stores the mall had to offer, but it closed in summer 2007, probably among the first victims as the new corporate parent Borders began to struggle.

140 / 8020. By 2000, this was FX Video Game Exchange (also known as Special FX Video Game Exchange). It later moved to near Dillard's sometime in the mid-2000s, but it always sold used games and other stuff. Ultimately, the local store would move to Central Station citing rent reasons and but closed several years later. In 1997 this was Keyboards of Texas.

141 / 8022 . "The Curiosity Shop" was here from 1985 (moving from Culpepper Plaza—see FX Video Game Exchange above) to 2002 (original tenant!), moving to 4301 Texas Avenue in Bryan for a few years before it closed. The Curiosity Shop, from information we have, had gifts and apparel.

142 / 8024. Currently, no information can be found about this store space from the information we have.

143 / 8026. Post Oak Pets was here as the successor to Pet Emporium closer to Casa Olé and moved here in 1987. It closed sometime around 2002-2003.

144 / 8028. After a brief stay at suite 9014 as Candy Barrel (see below), Candies & More moved here in 2001 and would remain until around the early 2010s (more on that another time). The "& More" came in the form that Candies & More had convenience store products, if I recall it even had some tobacco products and lottery tickets...and even for a bulk candy shop, it looked grungier than the ones in other malls.

So now we come to JCPenney and wrap back around for the 9000-series suites...

145 / 9014. Currently, no information can be found about this store space from the information we have.

146 / 9016. Aggie Unlimited in both the 1997/2001 directories. 147 / 9020. Le Nails was here since 1995 but was still here in 2001. 148 / 9022. First National Bank of Bryan, yes, the mall had a bank branch inside of it with an exterior entrance. I don't know exactly when the bank branch closed, but it was before the merger with Franklin Bank (and subsequent failure/sale to Prosperity Bank). 149 / 9024. Luby's Cafeteria opened a restaurant here in September 1996, giving (briefly) a second location in addition to their Bryan location. Luby's in the mall kicked it in late 2000 just after about five years in College Station, leaving only the Bryan location once again to serve the community until its closure in 2014.

What predated Luby's was Wyatt's Cafeteria. This was a bit of a tough nut to nail down because some other sources and claims also said Bishop's Cafeteria, which was owned by competing cafeteria operator Furr's/Bishop's Cafeterias L.P., and besides, Bishop's was primarily operated in the Midwest. (Furr's/Bishop's was a spin-off of Kmart, which in the 1980s was starting to build an auxiliary operation of cafeteria restaurants).

In 1995, while in bankruptcy, Wyatt's Cafeteria (renamed on the corporate end as Triangle Foodservice Corp.) licensed the Bishop's Cafeteria name, which for its one and only unit was a rebranded and renovated Wyatt's Cafeteria...this one!

Luby's probably did minimal updates upon the closure of Bishop's, but even Luby's could not turn around the unit and it closed about four years later. This would leave a hole in the mall for years, sometimes using it for temporary space but otherwise unable to lease it as restaurant space.

150 / 9014. Candy Barrel was here from 1995 to 2000. In 2000, it changed hands and became Candies & More, which then moved closer to JCPenney. By 2001, this was "The Wireless Store".

151 / 9012. "The Pro's Choice" was a store here from 1995 to around summer 2001.

152 / 9010. MasterCuts was in this part of the mall at least since 1998 (likely even since 1985 when the wing opened) but closed in January 2020 due to something unrelated before most hair salons were ordered closed a few months later (with many never reopening).

153 / 9008 . In 2001, this was Timeless, a gift shop, in 1997 into 2000, it was Lam's Silk Garden.

154 / 9006. A store called "Botanica" was here in 1998 through 1999, it was owned by the same owner as Flowerama. Tax records seem to show that Botanica was the successor to Flowerama (Flowerama was franchised, Botanica was original), with the 1998 directory showing both stores but both with the same phone number despite being nowhere near each other. In early 2000, it became Vitamin World, a chain supplements store.

And thus...that's the story so far. Is it complete? Hardly! As of this writing, the 1982-1992 page needs a lot of fixing up, so that's actually going to be my next project.

The attached maps will show where the kiosks are (these do not have store numbers) they include (from both maps) Gold Post, Piercing Pagoda, Sunglass Hut, Jewel Time, Gold 'N Silver, Things Remembered, Shade Shack, Design Imports, Vogue Jewelry, Alley Artist, "Bags, Belts, & More" (parantheses as this was one kiosk), Embroidery World, Name & Photo, Longbow Rocks & Gems, Things Remembered, another Timeless (but as a kiosk!),, GTE Wireless, Houston Cellular (the predecessors to Verizon and AT&T wireless, respectively), Lone Star Communications, PrimeStar Communications, Tropik Sun Fruit & Nut (this was a chain of kiosks), and finally, Sno-Zone, a snow cone stand in front of Bealls. I personally remember Sno-Zone having a variety of flavors (everything from Tiger's Blood to Pickle) but I never actually got anything there.

In conclusion, between 1992 and 2002, the mall lost all but one restaurant and Service Merchandise became a second Dillard's. The next ten years would see even greater upheaval in terms of anchors and retail mix, and the fourth decade would see that turn difficult...but all in due time.

Also, if you like this page and want to see more about malls, check out the mall-related pages currently on!