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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Heep Center

Historic picture looking west. Until 2011, this is very similar to what it was. Then they made Olsen go through there. (Mapping Historic Aggieland)

More photos, mine, in glorious color. Taken 2/2014.
Facing east. This is my best picture
Approaching east.
The skywalks within.
Looking west from inside.
Hi there!

Besides its impressive five-story atrium, this building is also one of my favorites because it's incredibly solidly built. The walls are a foot or so of reinforced concrete, and the whole thing (sans skylights of course) would likely survive a nuclear strike. Heep Center was built in 1977 according to Historic Aggieland.

EDIT 2019: The two halves are named for Herman Heep and Minnie Belle Heep, but they were built at the same time (although it would've been interesting if they were built as two separate buildings and then adjoined later). Here's another link for it...