Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Safeway at the Health Department

Boring government building or a disguised old supermarket? You decide!

Cross-posted from Safeway and Albertsons in Texas Blog

In October 1950, Safeway opened store #249 in Bryan, Texas, when they were a much smaller company than they later grew to be. It was likely from the Dallas division originally.

Used to be here! (1960)

Now it's here! (1971)

In the mid-1960s, Safeway rebuilt their store directly behind their old one. The reasoning for this was never fully explained, especially since the store was only 15 years old at the time and there were no serious issues reported in the press (foundation issues, right of way clearance).

In 1986, the store closed, probably to distance from the newly-acquired Weingarten store just a bit down the road. The replacement store would last as a Safeway as just a few years before becoming an AppleTree. It would be the last AppleTree until Kubicek sold out around 2009.

Sometime within the next 5 years of 1986 it was remodeled into the Brazos County Health Department, though I could've sworn that they've done an exterior remodel in recent years--the old one was distinctly grocery store-shaped. Regardless of what they did to the front, there's some rockwork on the side of the store: that's one sign that it was a Safeway, I suppose.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scoates Hall

This picture is from Flickr, but I still took it myself.

Who loves old buildings? I do! I took these pictures of the 1932-built Scoates Hall (officially at 333 Spence) in June 2012 shortly after renovation plans were announced (I think Scoates was last renovated sometime in the 1950s or 1960s, I have a hard time believing that a lot of what I was seeing was 1930s vintage). Unfortunately, I didn't have good picture taking skills or a good frame of reference to where these were (the floor plan threw me a loop, you can't directly access the two halves of the building, and even the second floor connections require some maneuvering), so the pictures aren't entirely adequate. I can however tell you that the water fountain in one shot is totally gone, the stairs were reinforced with new guardrails (the old rails used to terrify me--especially since they were below a taller person's center of gravity), and the new hallways look nice and shiny, though of course something is missing from before renovation.

Check out the shots here, on Flickr.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Zachry Engineering Center: End of an Era

We'll be exploring this one soon enough.

In late 2014, I was planning to hurry up on the last posts before closing the blog indefinitely to focus on new endeavors, and Zachry was supposed to be one of the "big posts" the blog had gotten some fans from. It opened in 1972 originally and I have a full suite of photos (though many of the videos are still in storage) on my website, Carbon-izer. The building closed in February 2015 for a massive remodel that pretty much gutted the building (I haven't yet gone inside, but based on my experiences from The Commons, which was so offputting that I refused to rewrite the post, it's probably for the best). It doesn't cover the Zachry Snackery, as it had been closed for several years prior to my exploration, and doesn't cover the Einstein Bros. Bagels that was briefly in Zachry from fall 2012 to its closure. The modern "Zachry Engineering Education Complex" (ZEEC), as opposed to the "H.B. Zachry Engineering Center" (ZEC, though I have also heard it as the "H.B. Zachry Engineering Building") reopened in 2018 and has a Starbucks inside (like many other A&M buildings these days).

Updated June 2019

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Former Piggly Wiggly at Texas Avenue & Rosemary

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

Even before the late Luby's served its first piece of fried fish, we had the first local location of Piggly Wiggly across the street from it. First opened in 1963, I can't nail down when it exactly it closed, but it seems to have been around 1980, give or take a year (and why it had an even number despite being on the odd-numbered side of Texas Avenue I don't know).

Piggly Wiggly in our corner of the world was owned by Piggly Wiggly Red River Co., which mostly owned the stores between I-20 and I-10 plus north of Dallas-Fort Worth, including Waco-Temple-Killeen, Conroe, Georgetown, Sherman-Denison, and Bryan-College Station. This was their first area store. In 1983, these stores were sold to local operator Six Star Foods, which kept three stores plus a store in Hearne limping along until they were closed in 1985.

Unfortunately, the Piggly Wiggly here didn't even last to the point where it was sold to Six Star Foods. Instead, the store closed, and in 1981, 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 & Books, 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" and located at 3806 South Texas Avenue (later home to Brazos Blind & Draperies) and in suite A from 1990 to 1998, and then jumped to Suite B following Sav-a-Lot's closure. 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 (which makes sense, at some point the address was corrected). Even before Sav-a-Lot left, there was one other "grocery store" at the center--at 4303 Texas Avenue (opened in 1988, as long as I can remember), was Brazos Natural Foods. The store had long been a purveyor of organic and gluten free items long before the mainstream supermarkets had them, but the store closed in early 2021. There are also additional storefronts on North Rosemary Street. 700 N. Rosemary is vacant (no clue what was there), 702 N. Rosemary being the long-time home of water purification company Jacob's Well (though the picture on their website is not of this location), and 704 N. Rosemary being Laina Salon (and formerly Nori's Hair Studio, though indications are it essentially renamed...and for a short time was "Nori's Hair Studio & Reflexology). The addresses jump to 710 N. Rosemary, and this was Awards & More, which was located here from 1999 to around the mid-2010s (it has since relocated). Today, the space being occupied by Curious Collections Vinyl Records & More, which has been here since 2017.

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

UPDATE 07-22-2021: Rename to "Former Piggly Wiggly at Texas Avenue & Rosemary", minor rewrite, especially involving the backstory of some tenants and adding the Rosemary tenants.
UPDATE 06-27-2023: Lone Star Quiltworks closed in February 2023 (owner retired). TexAgs mentions it here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Diamond Shamrock at the End of Texas Avenue

Burger King was the only occupant of the former Diamond Shamrock site for years. (Photo by author, ~2014)

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. The post here also features another change to the intersection: for years there was a Diamond Shamrock (listed as "Big Diamond No. 1" in some materials) that based on listings and aerials, opened between 1984 and 1989. It even featured a car wash station in the back. I'm not sure when it closed (2005?) but it was torn down by December 2006.

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. Many years later, a restaurant was built next to the Burger King (in previously unused space), Boomtown BBQ Company out of Beaumont, located at 3125 Texas Avenue South. This restaurant opened in August 2020.

UPDATE 10-02-2020: Updated the post for the first time since August 2015 when the rest of the "end of Texas Avenue" material was largely stripped out, including more information on Diamond Shamrock and the new Boomtown BBQ, making the post the first to use the [2020s] tag.
UPDATE 10-27-2020: Date added for Boomtown BBQ.
UPDATE 07-06-2021: New name as part of eventual page re-do. Added [College Station] to post.
UPDATE 03-12-2022: Boomtown BBQ Company closed in February 2022.
UPDATE 06-08-2023: Another restaurant has come and gone. So-Fly Chicken Sandwiches (part of the Eccell/Burger Mojo group) operated from July 2022 to mid-March 2023. Allegedly, this was because the owners reportedly had a good offer on the building, but nothing has replaced So-Fly following the sale.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Former Mobil, Texas and Lincoln

The former Mobil rides again.

Located next to a Century 21 office (which still does not have a picture or entry on this site), this (901 Texas Avenue South) was a Mobil for years (at least back to 1980, which is when I have phone books...and the building dates back to 1959 according to BCAD) but closed in 2004 (to the best of my memory) and was converted to Stratta Auto Repair a few years later before it abruptly closed in the early 2010s. 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.

About a year later, noticing the activity at the site, 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. A FabricCare appeared to be going in the garage area next to a tobacco store (collectively, "Aggie Stop"). Here's some more pictures from Sept. 2014.

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

Shortly after making this post in mid-September 2014, 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. Based on photos from others, it appeared that the FabricCare (now departed) was a "store-within-a-store" operation and not actually a tenant.

At the time, I lived in Eastgate, just a quarter mile away. I liked the fact that they made efforts to make this look very similar to the Mobil that was once here, but for a while I actually believed that it was only made to look like a functional gas station and not a real one, given that they had custom numbers for the gas station and not the electronic ones (every passing year more and more Shell and Exxon stations would add it). I should've noticed that the prices were indeed changing with the market, and what ended up happening is that during late summer of next year, a Valero banner was placed over the sign. It really took me off guard, 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 stupid for having thought so (plus "The College Station", the name, was a decent enough pun, though the "Discount Tobacco" threw me off) but the likelihood of reopening a closed-down half-century-old gas station that hadn't operated as such for a decade was so unusual I dismissed the possibility.

Sadly, Valero upgraded the prices to digital numbers, ending the unique features of the gas station and making it just like Valero took up operation in a dated and dying gas station.

UPDATE 11-6-2020 - Minor clarifications. Previously updated July 2020 with new post name and integrated updates.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Last Days of the Diamond T Stables

Back in 2013, I wrote about Alta Vista Christian Academy, which included a bit about the west part of Rock Prairie Road and mentioned these, some stables that had been on the road (originally Gandy Road) for a number of years. A few years ago, the land went up for sale on this one, and I knew I had to act fast: because a month ago or so, the city had revealed Equinox subdivision, which would eventually become "The Revelry Townhomes". And that's when I took these pictures. Diamond T seems to have opened in the early 1990s. Google Earth shows them there in 1995 and my 1998 phone book lists it, but the 1993 ones (and earlier) do not. Soon after I took these, the entire property was completely torn down and construction on the new development began. The Diamond T Storage next door continues to live on, though, but for how long is anyone's guess.

3270 Rock Prairie Road West (Gandy Road)

Updated 11.15 with new title, slightly updated information, and other minor changes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nightlife at Doux Chene Apartments

See those stairs leading up to the second level in the main office building? That's the focus today here. (Google Maps Picture)

By the time of Doux Chene Apartments' rename to "Flats on 12" in April 2015, the apartments had seen better days, having formerly been known as Doux Chene Apartments. Where do I start, though? Doux Chene Apartments were originally built in 1973 as a clone of the upscale singles-style apartment complexes that were popular in Houston at the time (though a 1980 ad doesn't indicate that it was singles only).

Mansard House advertised themselves as "country club apartment living", and trendy enough to be the first true mixed-use building in the City of College Station. From circa 1974 to late 1970s, it was "Mansard House". Mansard House, despite being the upper level of an apartment complex on the edge of town was one of the really nice places in town. Live entertainment, seafood, lobster, lamb, and more were all on the menu. The restaurant featured a large balcony on the rear of the building.

When I wrote this post originally I implied there were some Houston apartments like this, but upon doing more research, the "integrated restaurant" idea was rarer than I thought and I can't think of a true example. By 1980, while Doux Chene was still successful, Mansard House had closed and was replaced with Studio 2818, an actual discotheque.

Source: personal collection

Later night clubs included Dallas: The Night Club...

...and finally, Scandals.

Most of these are sadly relatively undocumented, only whispers across forums and other sources, including stories of ladies' nights with male strippers, with men being let in after the women had several drinks. Perhaps it's better that some of the craziness that went on is better left unsaid (I'm sure there were many regrettable nights). The most fascinating part is that Mansard House and some of the nightclub operations that followed left Doux Chene in the 1980s and opened what would be Hurricane Harry's in 1990.

In the original version of the post, I implied that the Doux Chene Apartments had fallen into disrepair, including a series of disasters...a tornado and a penchant for apartment fires as well, prompting a letter from management at the time, which is below.
"While your account of the history of the complex is mostly accurate, I take issue with the assertion that Doux Chene has not 'managed to upkeep itself.' While the property did fall into a state of disrepair in the late 80's to the early 90's, the current management has put a lot of effort (and money) into repairs and renovations and enhancements. While there is no hiding the fact that the property is 40 years old, it is in very good condition for a property of its age.

Doux Chene has indeed encountered more than its share of challenges.

A lightning strike destroyed 4 apartment units, severely damaged a dozen others. No injuries, a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

Severe hail required the replacement of nearly a dozen roofs, another quarter of a million dollars.

The tornado in 2006 actually destroyed two buildings, damaged several roofs, caused water damage in nearly 80 apartments, required replacement of over 160 central air conditioning systems. Total casualty loss, just over $4 million.

And then the small fire that happened shortly thereafter... The fire marshal initially indicated it was electrical, but upon further investigation it was found to be caused by a resident's cigarette butt rolling into a gap at the edge of his balcony.

Through all of this, we have been blessed in multiple ways. Firstly, there have been no injuries as a result of any of these incidences. Also, our insurance company has consistently paid in a timely fashion, and we have been fully made whole. We have also been given the reassurance, that no matter what we face, we will be able to come through it. I won't get all preachy here, but our faith in God has been strengthened through these difficulties.

Some ads were also sent as part of this, including Doux Chene hosting some wild parties (it's hard to imagine even the student-oriented apartments specifically hosting a keg party today). Sadly, they sent the low resolution versions.

As wild partying obviously upset the neighbors, a nearby apartment complex offered a shotgun as among the freebies you could get for signing a lease.

Having been around the apartment complex, the repairs are remarkable, the only difference between some of the apartment buildings is some different spackling on the sides of the buildings, something you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it. In any case, shortly after the email, management sold out. In April 2015, the apartment complex was rebranded as "Flats on 12", which despite some big promises was the typical games played: change the name, give a repaint, cheap remodel, jack up the rent, while the apartments are the same low-grade pieces they've always been. This also added a lighted sign on the front of the building, changed the entrance to the former restaurant/nightclub area, and replaced the tennis court with a sand volleyball court. It now houses an exercise room and other amenities, but the balcony is still there. Also, I should mention that the address did change at some point. It used to be 1401 FM 2818 but later became 2101 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South.

UPDATE 05-16-2024: Extensively rewrote from last update as seen here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Former Luby's Cafeteria

For a number of years prior to closure, the sign had read "Luby's Drive-Thru"

Opening in February 1977, Luby's Cafeteria (4401 South Texas Avenue) 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 continually closing restaurants left and right, even the one closest to its headquarters. All this before COVID-19 hit in earnest!

Unfortunately, I have no photos of this Luby's when they were opening and operating, because it was only a Luby's, and the Luby's closing took many by surprise. It closed in April 2014 a few years shy of its 40th anniversary, as it was sold to a mystery owner, soon revealed to be the Eccell Group.

This would be the new home of Café Eccell, after the drama surrounding it at Church and Wellborn Road. After renovating the inside and repainting the outside (it was originally white, which Eccell repainted to tan), it 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), it wasn't the one with the history behind it. Even the Eccell name would go away from the sign, as after being forced to close in spring 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, the owners revealed their intention to rename it. Originally planned to be "The Local", it reopened July 1, 2020 as "Public & Main" with a new menu (no word on the La Bodega Express restaurant-within-a-restaurant).

Of course, Luby's was 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 also 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), taken May 2014.

UPDATE 04-11-2022: While some other updates have been made in the past (2019 to account for a few new things, including La Bodega Express, the Post Oak Mall location, and others. A second update in 2020 rearranged the article and updated what happened to Café Eccell), KBTX has reported that Public & Main has closed for good. No other changes have been made to the article, but [COVID-19] has been replaced with [defunct].
UPDATE 08-03-2023: The next restaurant here will be Sushi Masa, though as of June 2023 the signage still reads Public & Main.
UPDATE 09-08-2023: Sushi Masa is now open, [defunct] removed.
UPDATE 05-10-2024: I should mention that as Public & Main it featured So-Fly Hot Chicken to replace La Bodega Express.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Texaco at Highway 6 and Highway 21

Today, a Texaco store stands proudly here. This picture and the others below are from the author, September 2016 (except for the Circle K Truxtop picture).

Funny story--I originally had wanted to do this post back in September 2016 (the rewritten version of course, as the "date posted" is from well before that) when Alimentation Couche-Tard announced it would buy CST Brands. In layman's terms, Corner Store, the convenience store commonly associated with Valero (though independent since 2013) would be turned into Circle K (which unfortunately recently did away with its classic or at least classic-inspired logo for a new, worse one). With that in mind, I felt it was high time to cover one of the Circle K stores that did grace our fair city before a wave of new Circle K stores come in adjacent to the Valero stores (if not taking them over entirely). This is of course a "rebranded" post originally posted as "Two TETCO Stores" many years ago.

But not to be outdone, there was news some months later that Sunoco, which had bought Stripes a few years back (resulting in new Sunoco gas canopies), was selling its convenience stores out to 7-Eleven, which would ultimately be the boost that put real 7-Eleven stores back in College Station-Bryan.

There is one other TETCO store that used to be covered on this blog, and that would be the one at Harvey Road and Texas Avenue, which has difficult access (parking was never accessible from Culpepper Plaza) and has been operating for years as an Exxon. That one has been operating for years as an Exxon (since the 1980s, though unfortunately I don't have a lot of info on it, it seems like there was more of an emphasis on auto parts), and would eventually go under the Speedy Stop name (but still an Exxon). I believe the SS name has been in place since 2000, as evidence seems to point that the original Exxon was auto repair-oriented but the rebuilt Exxon was not. I don't remember the old Exxon, personally, but I did take two pictures when it was Speedy Stop.

To begin, who remembers UtoteM? It was a small convenience store chain that once had locations all over the area, and we've covered a number of them in this blog before. My records indicate that there was one at the current site of Jin's Asian Cafe (though I currently lack the phone book records for it), one at 301 Patricia, one at the current site of Northpoint Crossing, one at what is now the current site of Checkers there at Holleman and Welsh, one at 105 Walton (that link goes to the main Eastgate page, I've been wanting to separate those into different pages), and one that later became a bus station, and those are the ones actually covered here. (An extant example can be found at the corner of Old College Road and College Main, unless that has closed and I just haven't been aware of that fact yet)

As mentioned on this page regarding the gas station at Longmire and Harvey Mitchell, Circle K bought these stores and shut most of the original UtoteM stores down almost immediately afterward. They weren't all bad, though, because UtoteM did construct a few modern stores with pumps just a few years before it sold out. 3401 Texas 21 was one of them, and by the early 1990s, this would be branded as a Circle K "Truxtop".

OK, I cheated: this isn't actually from the Bryan store, it's from Skyline Products but I still imagine the Texaco sign looking sort of like this

As part of a sale in mid-1999, Circle K sold its stores in town to Duke & Long as part of a 142 store deal, which rebranded the stores to Everyday and gave all the stores Conoco gas pumps, but a few years later, Duke & Long filed bankruptcy, and from there, the stores went their separate ways. Many of the stores went to Speedy Stop, which in turn sold a few, like Villa Maria/Cavitt and Longmire/Harvey Mitchell Parkway sold to Handi Stop in the mid-2000s, becoming Diamond Shamrock briefly before switching to Texaco as Valero began to consume the Diamond Shamrock name. Others, like 1600 South College Avenue, went independent (it still holds a Conoco-shaped sign).
Note the oval-shaped sign, that's from Conoco

However, 3401 Texas 21 held onto its Speedy Stop name until it was the only one in town left (along with a second Speedy Stop not related to the Circle K lineage). I don't know if 3401 Texas 21 had a Diamond Shamrock branding in the mid-2000s, I'm 95% sure it did, but it did have Texaco gas by 2007 like the Handi Stop stores (and by that time, the Diamond Shamrock stores were well on their way to being replaced by Valero completely). Despite promises, the TETCO stores have yet to receive full 7-Eleven branding, perhaps when the Stripes deal is closed they will get the leverage to finally push it, as it will expand their holdings to 10 stores (in theory--I can imagine the Holleman Rattlers sold off for being too close and the former Chicks sold off for being too big). It would also put well above Circle K, which would only gain four stores in their deal, all of them east of Texas Avenue and none of them too impressive.

Hopefully this will receive proper 7-Eleven branding soon enough!

As of October 2019, the gas station now has Chevron as the name with the Chevron logo on the highway, but still with TETCO branding.

UPDATE 06-23-2021: New title (from "Circle K Truxtop"), new captions. [Diamond Shamrock] also added. Also some updates were made reflecting Circle K and 7-Eleven and their changes here.
UPDATE 04-18-2021: Somewhere around December 2021 the convenience store was officially rebranded as 7-Eleven. (The Conoco oval is now gone).
UPDATE 06-16-2023: Unfortunately, the Highbeam article no longer works. We'll continue to search for a replacement.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Circle Drive-In and The Things That Replaced It

I'd probably be facing the screen at this point (if a long way away). Picture by author, August 2019.

In the planning process of the blog's current layout, I had considered deleting this post in favor of the dedicated Circle Drive-In post I had written in 2012. However, I noticed that even though it was a later post, this page (originally on Newport Condominiums) had far more views, and thus better SEO.

The Circle Drive-In of College Station, Texas, was located near the corner of modern-day College Avenue and University Drive. Still whispered about on the Internet and unrelated to the Circle Drive-In in Waco, mostly intact but now a flea market, the Circle Drive-In was so named because (like its unrelated Waco cousin) a traffic circle was nearby (which is now gone). In the old Circle Drive-In page of the blog, I added three pictures from Mapping Historic Aggieland from 1964, 1979, and 1983. The address is officially unknown, some say 402 Nagle but I can't find a proof of that. More accurate is the opening from 1952, but even Cinema Treasures, which often lists the first movie(s) shown at a new theater, does not have much information on it.



Picture credit: Historic Aggieland

It disappeared entirely between 1979 and 1983 (probably closed soon after the time University Square came into existence, which had a movie theater of its own) and was quickly forgotten.

Both North Ramparts (400 Nagle) and Newport Condominiums (402 Nagle) were built in 1981. Newport met its end in 2013, either because St. Mary's bought it or because of questionable structural integrity (note in Street View, the siding is missing). Despite that, they were still leasing as "The Lodge at Northgate" a few months before demolition. The apartments were built on a modified pier and beam layout where the parking was below the building about half a floor down, which is admittedly somewhat unique for College Station, but buildings aren't worth saving on being unique alone. One comment I received (in August 2016) had some rather unkind words to say about the building, even back in the late 1990s: I lived in Newport Condominiums in 1998-99 [in] a three bedroom unit. The rooms were very small and narrow. The management didn't seem to clean the units for new residents. And it seemed like the management also did not like to repair things, paint either the interior or exterior, etc. The place was going downhill fast. I do remember it was cheap and the location couldn't be beat, as far as proximity to campus.

Some of the Street View pictures that were in the original version of this post can be seen below.

Most of the theater ended up becoming the "Mud Lot", a cheap dirt parking lot owned by St. Mary's, though when most of it was converted to actual parking for the church, the other half closed (and some of the land was never even used as parking). This would remain untouched for well over a decade until construction started on "The Stack at Legacy Point" (711 Church Avenue) which was in conjunction with redeveloping University Square (a project that is stillborn as of this writing), which seems to be relatively decent for those who actually lived there. The apartments have only one ground-level tenant, a MedPlus medical clinic branch ("MedPlus at the Stack") which opened in February 2014.

Updated August 2019.

UPDATE 01-21-2022: One more story--about where The Stack is today and stretching into the adjacent "The Field at the Stack" (site of the former Albertsons and adjacent stores), was supposed to be a 10-story Marriott hotel and convention center proposed by the city in 2005, but plans fell through.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Luther's Bar-B-Q

The sky really wasn't that overcast, I had to make some changes to make the actual subject lighter. Picture by author, May 2019.

The current BCS Tires & Lifts looks quite a bit different than its incarnation as a restaurant. While it didn't last long in its original incarnation, it was the home of Luther's Bar-B-Q, a chain out of Houston which at the time of its construction in late 1984 (may have actually opened in 1985) was operated by a company named Diversifoods, which owned a number of Burger King franchises and a few other chains. In 1985, Diversifoods accepted a buyout from Burger King's parent company Pillsbury (effectively ending a feud that Diversifoods and its predecessor company Chart House had with Burger King franchises) but it had the unfortunate side effect of halting Luther's expansion and closing a number of stores soon after. The Luther's in College Station may have actually been only in business for as little as a year.

In any case, Pop's Barbecue was the successor tenant here, serving a similar menu, though the different phone number suggests an entirely new restaurant and not just a disconnection from Luther's. Pop's had a more successful run until around 1995-1997 when it closed and became the new location of Epicures Catering. Pictures of when Epicures was here can be seen on Yelp since I lack pictures of my own. Epicures existed prior to moving here but located somewhere else (unfortunately, the phone books don't list the address of where it was) and 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-colored one in the mid-2000s after the old one was too tattered.

After Epicures stopped operating in the spot, the building was extensively renovated and expanded to become a franchise of Conroe-based TireMax, opening in 2011. However, not too long after TireMax opened, the parent company went bust and it had to change its name to "BCS Tires & Lifts", so the sign didn't look quite as good after that.

One more important piece of information, as Luther's address was 2321 Texas Avenue South, and subsequent businesses used 2319, while Discount Tire (built in 1986) used the 2321 address. This made research of the building's original use confusing.

UPDATE 04-17-2022: While this post last received an update in 2020, another change is that BCS Tires & Lifts (also known as "BCS Tire Pros") had either been bought out or otherwise replaced in early 2022 by Big O Tires.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Exxon on Boonville

Stover Boys still had remnants in 2014, long after the restaurant closed.

The Exxon at the corner of FM 1179 and Boonville, which I have only recently seen, as shown here in a picture I took this February. It has been open since 1995 and has had several restaurants in it (a bit unusual for something not off of a major thoroughfare), since it has a kitchen and an eat-in area. "Fratello's Pizza Company" is the only one I've found at this address (3200 Boonville Road) but they also have their location as at the old Daylight Donuts space a bit west of here.

In late 2007, it became the home of Stover Boys, a hamburger-and-fries outlet that kind of had a "rural outlet, specials written on a chalkboard" feel to it that opened to much local acclaim. It was where Bryan-College Station was acquainted with Charles Stover and his restaurants.

Stover's restaurant was an instant success, and people would come out to this little gas station and fill up every available parking space. When it turned out that people would pass it by rather than fight for parking, it was clear that Stover's had outgrown itself and Stover Boys moved into an old restaurant pad in Westgate Shopping Center, clear on the other side of town. This was in 2008, and although it opened around early 2009, the Stover Boys signage still hangs at this Exxon, which also suggests how rarely new restaurants come in.

As of 2018, "Taqueria Poblano" operates in the space.

UPDATE 06-17-2023: I know I previously updated this to account for Taqueria Poblano but I wanted to clarify that beyond Fratello's (which was here and did move to the other Boonville address), Stover Boys, and Taqueria Poblano, the other place I found was "Deli Depot". The gas station opened in 1994.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Post Oak Mall Stores, 1982-1992

This page, formerly known as "Post Oak Mall Part 3 - The 1980s and 1990s" before a December 2019 revamp, attempts to cover the interior mall shops (sans the six department stores) as they existed from 1982 to 1992. Prior to around the early 2000s, the mall directories used an arbitrary numbering system, starting from 1 near Wilson's (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.
For reference, please use this map from the early 1980s (but not 1982, likely 1984), claiming the mall was "99% Leased".

1 / 9002. Card America - Seems to have come and gone by late 1984.

2 / 9000. Oriental Treasures
This is from my 1984 phone book, cleaned up and reproduced here. One comment I got from the old version (from Jennifer Kling) of this page did have to do with Oriental Treasures: "I have a fancy jewelry box from Oriental Treasures. They also had gorgeous geisha dolls that I was fascinated with." This was still in the mall as of the 1989 phone book.

3 / 4044. The Rainbow Store
This ad is also from the 1984 phone book (same page). Unlike Oriental Treasures, it was closed by 1989.

4/4042. Originally, this was a store called Duck Soup (likely some sort of gourmet/imported foods shop, consistent with its classification as "Food Services") and later D'Guiche Bed & Bath Shop in 1984. Very little is known about either one. The lease plan says this was supposed to be "Kitchen Stove", why they changed to a wackier name by opening is a question.

5/4040. Originally, this was Salad Bartique, a salad bar shop (yes, the food court expanded all the way into the corridor!) but it was Accessories by Taz in 1984. Very little is known about it, but it was still listed in the early 1990s phone book, implying it survived the remaining first 10 years of the mall.


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. By 1984, this was Emilio's. I don't know much about Emilio's or its products besides that it was a sandwich shop, intact in 1989 but gone in 1993. More info would be appreciated. It's modern-day counterpart is Manchu Wok.

9/4030. Sesame Hut was one of those stores, like Corn Dog 7, that was located exclusively in malls. Curiously, the one in Northwest Mall lasted to the very end, and then relocated to Long Point Road complete with the original logo! Like with Emilio's, it didn't last too long into the 1990s, and is now Roman Delight Pizza.

10/4028. The Great American Hot Dog Experience (later just The Great Hot Dog Experience) was originally supposed to be Carousel Snack Bar (according to a lease plan).

11/4026. Ken Martin's Famous Chicken Fried Steak. You can see a picture of this one, along with The Great Hot Dog Experience and Pepe's Mexican Cafe here. I presume it was a limited-menu version of Ken Martin's Steakhouse, and perhaps the only place in the mall to get "real" food. (Someone mentioned that they worked in "The French Fry Place" in the early 1980s, perhaps since Ken Martin's CFS wasn't listed in the 1983 phone book, this might have been the place).

12/4024. Pepe's Mexican Food was here originally along with two other locations (the original on College Avenue, still in operation, and the one on Dominik, later Gumby's). By the late 1980s, the Ken Martin restaurant empire pulled up the stakes on both Ken Martin's Chicken Fried Steak and Pepe's and the space became a McDonald's walk-up restaurant by 1989.

Orange Julius was another charter tenant (again, not opening at the same time, could've opened 1983 or 1984), but while it lasted most of the 1980s, it was eventually reconfigured so that the entrance to the restrooms now is where Orange Julius used to be. Orange Julius had hot dogs and french fries as well as its flagship drink (which reportedly tasted better than what Dairy Queen offers today).

14. Mall offices. This was not a leased space.

15 / 6018. Jumping over to the other side of the food court, in late 1984 this was Subway Sandwiches & Salads, back when they were better but still owned by the same company that made it a local empire. It replaced a charter tenant, Seafood Shoppe.

16 / 6016. Sugar Daddy's Fudge Factory was here, open by 1984. The mall's first candy shop wasn't a part of the food court, but it was close to it.

17 / 6020. The Wagon Wheel was a barbecue restaurant, originally located between Subway/Seafood Shoppe and Potatoes Etc.

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. David Alan's Mens Shoes (by 1984)

20 / 6010. Sweeney's - Jewelry store. This later became Babbage's by 1993 (likely since early 1990s), and still exists under a different name (GameStop, but that's for another list).

21 / 6023. Potatoes Etc.

22 / 6022. Giovanni's Pizza. By 1989, this was Villa Italian Specialties, which it would be into the 1990s.

23 / 6008. Cutlery World

24 / 6006. Wicks 'N Sticks - A candle store chain, which was common in malls at the time. This would be here in 1982 and survive into the 2000s, even expanding before going out of business.

25 / 6004. Lewis Shoe Gallery

26 / 6002. Carlyle Jewelers

27 / 6000. Swensen's - Ice cream and other foods. A location in Culpepper Plaza lasted for years longer, though it appears Swensen's was here for the first decade in its entirety.

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. Funnel Cakery was the original tenant here, then became Taste of the Tropics a few years later. The locally owned smoothie stand did move to a different location in the mid-2000s.

30 / 4018. Peanut Shack - Peanut Shack survived at least into the early 1990s. It was more of a snack booth than a food court place. Some years ago the folks at the now-defunct Labelscar snapped a pic of a Peanut Shack at a small-town Oklahoma mall. It was obviously closed for the evening, but that's what it was. Interestingly, it's still open (but probably dropped its 1980s flair) and has its own website, as it's the very last one left. The one at Post Oak Mall likely looked very similar to that one. There's no #31 either.

32 / 4016. The Wild Pair

33 / 4014. Jeans West - Like The Wild Pair, both were big chains of the time and both charter tenants.

34 / 4012. Brooks Fashions (women's clothing) in 1982, with some references online to knitted sweaters. The parent company went bankrupt, and by the 1990s Casual Corner was in the spot. However, it's not clear if Casual Corner moved here early on--Casual Corner was originally in a different place.

35 / 4010. County Seat from day one, which lasted into the 1990s. 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.

36 / 4008. Butler Shoes in 1982.

37 / 4006. Thom McAn - In 1982, this was a shoe store. Thom McAn was another big chain store in the 1960s and 1970s, and today Sears owns the brand.

38 / 4004. Open Country - This was listed under shoes, so I'm guessing something like hiking boots. Payless later reconfigured the space, but I'm not sure when they moved in.

39 / 4003. Corrigan's was originally here, owned by Zales. At some point later, Zales rebranded it. Likely, Corrigan's takes the place where #40 would've been.

41 / 4002 and 42/4000, were combined into Rox-Z (by 1984), a nightclub (unknown to opening to the inside or not). I don't know when EyeMasters opened, but it appears (and not Rox-Z) as early as 1989. EyeMasters (now Visionworks) DOES have an interior entrance which suggests Rox-Z did too.

The next few are also a bit confusing.

3007 was supposed to be "Touch of Class" (space 43) but by 1984, it was Armed Forces Recruiting (listed as a combined tenant, even though are three suites--3005, 3007, and 3009). An early 1980s directory (around 1984) listed as 44 (as Casa Olé had been opened and taken the original 44) because they labeled 43 on a space that was actually the electrical/riser room, which has been there since day one and not leasable space.

44/3026. Originally, this space was Italian Village Restaurant, which only lasted for about a year at most. Later on, it combined with space 45 (as per the 1982 map) for its replacement, Casa Olé. Casa Olé opened the exact same day as the College Station Weingarten did in late 1983. One of these remains dead and all but forgotten while the other one still remains alive. Guess which one? That's right, and Casa Olé still remains in the mall, despite middling reviews and a parade of new Mexican restaurants that opened in the years since November 1983. Better Mexican places had fallen since and Casa Olé remains open. It's strangely a bit comforting to have that link to the past, but still...better Mexican food out there.

46. Pet Emporium, alternately "Ripley's Pet Emporium", originally a chain out of Austin. On a previous version of this page, a commenter known as "CINDY" wrote this: I worked at Pet Emporium in the mid 80's. It started as a chain store out of Austin. Laurie Rogers managed and eventually bought it and changed the name to Post Oak Pets. It was odd being next to Casa Ole when occasionally a rodent would escape a cage and wander over. I also recall trying to catch escaped birds in the mall. Great times. Sometime after I left, the location moved over by Penney's.

48. Peck & Peck - This was originally a private-label women's clothing shop from New York's Fifth Avenue, but by the time it reached Post Oak Mall, it was being driven into the ground by a new owner (and from what I saw, prices weren't particularly pricey). It looks like P&P's incompetent owners shut down this store in the mid-1980s. However, the 1993 directory still has Peck & Peck, which means it was probably one of the last ones around (cross referencing with a 2/93 phone book proves this true). There's no 47 in any of the old maps.

49 / 3018. Originally known as "Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company" (now Great American Cookies). In malls in the 1980s, you could get broken pieces of cookies for fairly cheap, but they don't do that sort of thing anymore. A second location has opened in town, but this location is still here, meaning it survived the 1992-2002 era, and 2002-2012.

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

51 / 3014. Originally "The Game Peddler" and later Scripture Haven by 1984.

52 / 3012. Camelot Music

54 / 3010. Worth's, a women's clothing store (since 1982). There isn't a #53 either.

55 / 3008. The original home to J. Riggings. The pre-opening lease plan shows that "Ranch House Meat" was supposed to be here.

56 / 3006. Kid's Kasuals. It later became Scripture Haven but that may have come in after 1992.

57 / 3004. Radio Shack - This lasted up until the early 2010s.

58 / 3002. Originally "Courts Western Wear" (related to Courts Saddlery?)

60 / 3000. Team Electronics (as of 1984). At this point, the corridor hits Dillard's and continues to work clock-wise toward Sears.

61 / 1022. Coach House Cards & Gifts (since 1982)

62 / 1020. Open by 1984, this was Hit or Miss, an off-price women's clothing shop. It closed sometime in the early 1990s after parent company Zayre (later TJX Companies) spun it off.

63 / 1018. Originally, this was MJ Lighting, then became Petite Shoppe by 1984.

65 / 1016. Athlete's Foot originally, no #64.

66 / 1014. T-Shirts Plus

67 / 1012. Zales (original location)

68 / 1010. Royal Optical. This remained into the 1990s.

69 / 1008. Gallenkamp Shoes in the early 1980s. This was unoccupied in my undated 1990s directory.

70 / 1006. Jo-Ann Fabrics/Singer in the early 1980s. The 1990s map has this vacant.

72 / 1002. This was a large store that held Town & Country Furniture. By 1989 this was Oshman's Sporting Goods, which would remain in the 1990s. Oshman's was a big sporting goods store found in malls and strip centers all over the Southern U.S. area and based out of Houston. To get a good idea of what a typical mall Oshman's looked like, watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in which Genghis Kahn trashes one (it makes sense in context). I'm assuming it was 1002 since 72 lines up with 1002 and absorbed 71 (1004) and 73 (1000).

76 / 2002. The Home Front - Much like Bed Bath & Beyond, this offered soft goods and other furnishings (silverware and others). It had some stores in Houston, too (it absorbed space 77). Here's an ad from 1984.

78 / 2006. Waterbed Gallery in the 1980s directories. The 1990s directory has this as a vacancy.

80 / 2008. In the early 1980s this was Command Performance, a salon that would jump around several places until finally closing a few years back. No #79.

81 / 2010. Despite being planned as "Giving Tree" this space did apparently not have a space in the early years of the mall.

82 / 2012. Keyboard Center (as in the musical instrument, not what you probably have in front of you)

83 / 2014. Motherhood Maternity

84 / 2016. Upstage Shoes

85 / 2018. Walden Books (original location)

87 / 2020. Lerners - Likely the same business that eventually became New York & Co., but wouldn't assume the name until years later (and in a different location). No #86.

89 / 2022. Regan's - Women's clothing. No #88.

90 / 2024. Kinney Shoes (charter tenant) was here into the mid-1990s.

91 / 2026. Chess King. Likely lasted to the early 1990s.

92 / 2028. Foxmoor - women's clothing chain found in many malls in the 1980s and early 1990s.

93 / 2030. Gateway Cards

94 / 2032. Gordon's Jewelry

95 / 2034. Quick as a Flash operated here from September 1982 to 1987 when it moved to a former Kentucky Fried Chicken off Texas Avenue.

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.

98 / 5000. The Stadium - In previous directories, I was confused between this restaurant and it successor, Jubilation (another restaurant). Remarkably, one of the "Fun Maps" has a logo of it, suggesting it might have been a sports bar. By late 1984, it was Jublilation (which may have been the same ownership). This I have little knowledge of other than "it existed". A 1984 newspaper article mentioned it was open 24 hours a day.

99 / 5002. The original space 99 was listed as MPACT, but the 1981 lease plan shows it supposed to be First Bank & Trust.

100 / 5004. Casual Corner in 1982 (original location)

101 / 5006. Bookland, though the 1981 lease plan shows it was supposed to be named Gateway Books.

102 / 5008. Walgreens - The first Walgreens in College Station-Bryan, though the merchandise line-up was slightly different (more drug store, less pharmacy). It departed in the early 1990s (my 11/89 phonebook lists it) and it wouldn't be seen in the area for a decade. When it did return to the trade area, it was in a different format (box type stores with drive through pharmacies). By the 1990s, the space had shifted around slightly, covering a slightly different space. It became a large Express store.

103 / 5010. Stay N Play. Exterior facing store, no access from the inside. Phone book from 1984 confirms it to be a drop-in daycare.

104 / 5012. "Fashion Conspiracy" in 1982.

105 / 5014. Foot Locker

107 / 5016. Record Bar. No 106.

108 / 5018. Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby. It would survive well into the 1990s but close a number of years before the chain disappeared.

110 / 5020. Baker's Shoes

111 / 5022. Classic cheese and meat store Hickory Farms. HF only operates seasonal kiosks these days but they used to do full stores. Most "mall memory" sites involve kids stuffing their faces with the samples here. From 5022 to around 7004 was originally largely vacant in the first year of the mall or so due to the dead-end from the unbuilt Joske's/Foley's.

112 / 5024. Parklane Hosiery was one of the charter tenants.

113 / 5026. KG Men's Store

116 / 5030. By 1984 this was Pat Magee's (No 114 or 115). Based on what I could find, Pat Magee's was a Texas-based "surf shop" that apparently still has about one location left.

117 / 7000. Marvin John's Big & Tall by 1984.

118 / 7002. Shoe Designs by 1984. My 1989 phone book lists this as "The Shoe Box" (one of the rare entries with the suite numbers) but it isn't clear if it is the same business.

120 / 7004. Woman's World in 1984.

121 / 7006. Mission Jewelers/Mission Jewelry (exact nomenclature unknown) was here at least into 1996.

123 / 7008. Champs Sporting Goods was here in the 1980s. Interestingly, it later left for a number of years before returning later. No 122.

125 / 7012. The largest non-anchor store in the mall (at the time) at 15,000 square foot, Woolworth occupied a huge space here for over 10 years. It later went out of business in the early 1990s (still there in '93 and the only one left in town at that point). No 124.

126 / 7016. Tinder Box (smoke shop?) was here in '82.

127 / 7018. Deck the Walls, a home décor store.

128 / 7020. Regis Hairstylist, which lasted into the new millennium.

129 / 7022. Aggie Unlimited

130 / 8000. Herold's (or Herald's), shoe store.

135 / 8006. Video Concepts (aka VideoConcepts) by 1984. (No 131-135). The store sold televisions and things to hook up to them (video recorders and Atari systems), such as this ad shows. It was later bought by Radio Shack in 1985 and operated as a separate chain. For another good look at Video Concepts, Mallwalkers has some good shots, though they're from 1991.

136 / 8008. Texas State Optical in the 1980s.

137 / 8010. Playland Toys. This is the last store listed before the JCPenney wing, which wasn't built in 1985.

I have access to another undated map but I don't know if it is from the late 1980s or the early 1990s, so I can't give the remaining stores in the JCPenney wing in this update.

As of 1984, there were also kiosks operating. K-1 was Gold Post, K-2 was Piercing Pagoda, K-3 was Sunglass Hut, K-4 was MPACT again, K-5 was Just Video.

[Return to Post Oak Mall's page]

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. During this time, an article that described the extremely janky operations of the previous Adult Video 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.

Before Adult Video, there was a Texaco (Alford Texaco) on the site (c. 1969).

UPDATE 10-27-2020: Changed some wording and added mention of Texaco.