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IronTiger

Former Fast Food Locations in Texas

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KFC, same side of Airline in front of the present day Family Dollar, is now a taqueria.

 

Seemingly pretty much everything in that area is now a taqueria. Not that I have anything against tacos... I love 'em. I could eat them every day, and there are several times in my life where I've made a pretty good run at doing just that. But how many taqueria's does the Upper Airline area need?

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I don't remember a Red Lobster down Dyna, mkultra, but I do remember this little diddy that I used to love, called the Moon Palace. How I miss the Palace...

Could Red Lobster have been in the stand alone building next door to Los Cabos/Moon Palace? I've been trying to put my finger on what that game room used to be for quite some time now. It was obviously a restaurant, but what? It's been driving me crazy. Wouldn't that be something if we ended up answering each other's question? The building certainly doesn't look like an old Red Lobster, but I guess it's possible.

 

oh yeah... Jojo's, was a coffee shop/ restaurant, old style, like Kip's or Denny's... was where you went after partying into the wee hours. 

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Thank you very much for the tip, Firebird. I'm going to take your advice and take a trip to the downtown library. Much obliged!

I remember Jojo's very well, just not this location. When I was younger, we frequented the one on W. 34th, which is now a Denny's. Champ's used the same strategy, so to speak. I spent several a late night (early morning) in Champ's, trying to sober up over a mound of bacon. Drunk as we were, we'd make spitballs with the paper the straw comes in, and fire away at the train roaming around the ceiling.

Lord, some of the things I did when I was young, are quite embarrassing now. Glad my son has more sense than I did, at least in that respect, lol.

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I remember the Dairy Queen on Airline across from Stovall Jr. High. I had my first "unofficial" date there. In eighth grade one of the cheerleaders, an adorable Dorothy Hamill look-alike, invited me to accompany her there after school for a parfait - her treat even. I guess I must have been kinda cute too. What happened?  :(

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I'm going to take your advice and take a trip to the downtown library.

 

No, no, you don't want to go to the downtown library. That's a different place. You want the Julia Ideson Library, which is the old city library downtown a block or so away. It was replaced by the current downtown library in 1976 and now serves as the home of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, which ishoused in the Texas Room on the second floor.

 

For whatever reason, this goofy site will not let me post the URL for you. Unbelievable. Anyway, just Google or search for Julia Ideson Library Houston.

 

As I said, it's a great place to spend the day. The are old phone books, the Coles Directories, maps, Key Maps, aerial photos, regular photos and magazines about Houston's history. There are also many books that aren't on display you can request to view, but can't check out. You'll have a great time.

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Well that would've been a little embarrassing going to the wrong library! Thank you for correcting my misunderstanding. I've got the information for Julia Ideson jotted down and hope to go spend a portion of my Saturday perusing. Thank you again, Firebird!

Specwriter, that's awesome. Guess I never had the looks you did. The parfait was always on my nickel, lol. That DQ closed within the last decade. It was always one of the better locations to me. It was the one I mentioned earlIer that is now a clinic. I used to avoid the one on E. Little York @ McGallion like the plague, when I still lived in northside. The one on Aldine Bender is always good, and has very attentive and friendly service.

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I happened on this discussion and am delighted to see talk about the area I grew up in. I think I can help you out here.

 

I've done pretty extensive research on the retail businesses in the Upper Airline corridor.

 

I can tell you that JoJo's and Moon Palace were located at 185 W. Dyna. The Jojo's opened in 1976. It became Moon Palace in 1992.

 

The Red Lobster was located next door at 181 W. Dyna and it opened in 1974.

 

The Burger King at 187 W. Dyna was the first restaurant along the road. It opened in 1972. Steak and Ale opened at the end of the street with a 10718 North Freeway address. Then came the Red Lobster. Pizza Inn at 171 W. Dyna opened in 1975. Jim's Coffee Shop (now the Mambo Seafood), Bobby McGee's Conglomeration, El Chico and Furr's Cafeteria also opened in 1975 in the Deauville Shopping Center, which has a North Freeway address, but is also along W. Dyna. Jojo's opened in 1976.

 

Square Pan Pizza at 163 W. Dyna and the Ground Patti at 171 W. Dyna opened in 1978. Jim's Coffee became Champs in 1979.

 

The Ground Patty became the Original Flying Pizza in 1980, which was really odd as it was only a few feet from Square Pan. The Jojo's became Co-Co's Family Restaurant in 1985.

 

China Border took over from Steak and Ale in 1998. Mambo replaced Champs in 2003. I stopped updating after 2008 because as I live on the westside, it's hard to keep up with things in the old neighborhood. Anyway, hope that helps the memories and the conversation.

 

Many thanks for this, Firebird65. HCAD's ownership history for 181 W. Dyna only went back to 2000, and I think that threw me off a bit. You'd think I'd have been able to remember the exact location, as we used to eat there semi-frequently when I was growing up. Square Pan Pizza was a regular stop as well. 

 

Not on W. Dyna, but another former fast food location in the vicinity that occurred to me earlier: First Mate, on the NE corner of I-45 and W. Mount Houston/249. It was a seafood place with a nautical theme that was similar to Long John Silver's in terms of the food (low-priced, mainly fried seafood combos). The original sign frame, one of the taller ones in the area, is still there, and along with the building itself has been updated numerous times to reflect the succession of restaurants that followed First Mate. It's currently a BreWingZ. 

 

Edit: I think we must have a quorum in this thread of HAIFers who are former Aldine/HIdden Valley/Northline Terrace residents.  :)

Edited by mkultra25

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Seemingly pretty much everything in that area is now a taqueria. Not that I have anything against tacos... I love 'em. I could eat them every day, and there are several times in my life where I've made a pretty good run at doing just that. But how many taqueria's does the Upper Airline area need?

 

Ever been to the Airline flea markets on the weekend? The traffic rivals the West Loop during rush hour. I don't doubt that there are more than enough customers just on the weekends along to keep every taqueria on Airline doing a healthy business. 

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Well that would've been a little embarrassing going to the wrong library! Thank you for correcting my misunderstanding. I've got the information for Julia Ideson jotted down and hope to go spend a portion of my Saturday perusing. Thank you again, Firebird!

 

Purpledevil, if you've never been to the Texas Room at the Ideson building, it probably bears mentioning that the procedures there are a little different than the regular library due to the rarity of the materials it houses. You have to sign in at the entrance to the Texas Room, and backpacks or other bags are not allowed inside (lockers are available to store your belongings in while visiting). Also, ink pens are not allowed, only pencils. Laptops and tablets are OK. 

 

As you might expect, the reference librarians are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Let them know it's your first visit and what your areas of interest are, and they'll point you in the right direction. 

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Not on W. Dyna, but another former fast food location in the vicinity that occurred to me earlier: First Mate, on the NE corner of I-45 and W. Mount Houston/249. It was a seafood place with a nautical theme that was similar to Long John Silver's in terms of the food (low-priced, mainly fried seafood combos). The original sign frame, one of the taller ones in the area, is still there, and along with the building itself has been updated numerous times to reflect the succession of restaurants that followed First Mate. It's currently a BreWingZ. 

 

You're speaking of 9410 North Freeway, of course. I can help you there. Here are all the restaurants I could find that have been at that location from its opening until I quit updating in 2008:

 

1974 - First Mate (seems it didn't last long and the site was vacant for quite some time)

1985 - Frenchy's (ate there quite a bit while in college)

1989 - Magic Wok

1993 - Bar-B-Que Express

1995 - Taquito Joe

2003 - Wings-n-More

 

Now, apparently it is a BreWingZ.

 

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Ever been to the Airline flea markets on the weekend?

Uh, no. And no desire to. But yes, the traffic there is beyond horrible. The music was extrememly loud there too. My parents could hear it clear as a bell, same as if they had a radio blaring on the backyard picnic table at their house more than a mile away in Northline Terrace.

 

Talking abut those flea markets, I picked up a copy of Houstonia magazine recently that detailed the best Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in Houston.

 

The article was fatally flawed, in my professional opinion (B.A. Journalism - UH), because quite a bit of it was written by Robb Walsh. Nothing against Walsh - he is an expert on Tex-Mex food and has written many books on the subject and of course, authored numerous reviews for the Houston Press. Unfortunately, he is also now a part owner of a Tex-Mex restaurant (El Real), so that should disqualify him now as an impartial reviewer.

 

However, putting that aside, the article is divided into Tex-Mex (which supposedly Walsh didn't write, nudge-nudge, wink-wink) , Regional Mexican and Seafood. Under the Regional Mexican, Walsh did list such renowned places as Hugo's AND, believe it or not, Taqueria Buey y Vaca, which just happens to be in the food court of the Airline flea market of the same name.

 

How weird is that?!?

 

So I guess if you want great authentic Mexican food, you can either drop big bucks at Hugo's, or go slumming at an Airline flea market for the same experience at a lot less cost. LOL!

 

Here are the starting dates for the Airline flea markets (at least the ones in existence in 2008, when I last updated my list):

 

1981 - Sunny

1981 - Sin Ta

1982 - Airline

1999 - De Buey y Vaca

2001 - Mercado SabaDomingo

2004 - Day-to-Day

 

The De Buey y Vaca flea market opened in 1999, but that taqueria in the food court with that same name predates it. Exactly when it opened, I couldn't tell you, as it is part of a food court, and thus does not have its own address. But I do know seeing the name "Taqueria de Buey y Vaca" in the 1980s. For some reason, it sounded funny to me and the name always stuck in my head.

Edited by Firebird65

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Purpledevil, if you've never been to the Texas Room at the Ideson building, it probably bears mentioning that the procedures there are a little different than the regular library due to the rarity of the materials it houses. You have to sign in at the entrance to the Texas Room, and backpacks or other bags are not allowed inside (lockers are available to store your belongings in while visiting). Also, ink pens are not allowed, only pencils. Laptops and tablets are OK. 

 

As you might expect, the reference librarians are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Let them know it's your first visit and what your areas of interest are, and they'll point you in the right direction. 

 

 

Ah, yes. Thank you for mentioning that. I had forgotten about those special procedures. Would be good for Purpledevil to know that in advance before going. The first time they asked me to sign in and list what I was looking for, I was a little taken aback for a moment. They don't ask that at the regular library and at first I was a little put off by their asking.

 

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Talking abut those flea markets, I picked up a copy of Houstonia magazine recently that detailed the best Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in Houston.

The article was fatally flawed, in my professional opinion (B.A. Journalism - UH), because quite a bit of it was written by Robb Walsh. Nothing against Walsh - he is an expert on Tex-Mex food and has written many books on the subject and of course, authored numerous reviews for the Houston Press. Unfortunately, he is also now a part owner of a Tex-Mex restaurant (El Real), so that should disqualify him now as an impartial reviewer.

However, putting that aside, the article is divided into Tex-Mex (which supposedly Walsh didn't write, nudge-nudge, wink-wink) , Regional Mexican and Seafood. Under the Regional Mexican, Walsh did list such renowned places as Hugo's AND, believe it or not, Taqueria Buey y Vaca, which just happens to be in the food court of the Airline flea market of the same name.

Houstonia Magazine of course isn't great, mostly because it's written by a bunch of bloggers masquerading as journalists.

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Houstonia Magazine of course isn't great, mostly because it's written by a bunch of bloggers masquerading as journalists.

 

Perhaps not, but it sure beats looking at some thinly disguised real estate magazine while at the doctor's office.

 

Not sure where you live, but whenever I go to my doctor or my wife's doctor in either Sugar Land or Katy, there must be a million different ones, all with the same ads for either real estate agents or other doctors, and all with "articles" on said agents or doctors obviously written by a PR agency.

 

So yeah, Houstonia may not be a paragon of journalism, but there certainly are worse things to read.

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Ah, yes. Thank you for mentioning that. I had forgotten about those special procedures. Would be good for Purpledevil to know that in advance before going. The first time they asked me to sign in and list what I was looking for, I was a little taken aback for a moment. They don't ask that at the regular library and at first I was a little put off by their asking.

Thanks for the heads up, mkultra. I'd have been a bit startled myself upon my visit tomorrow. This is indeed my first visit to Julia Ideson, so everything will be completely foreign to me. That's why when Firebird mentioned it in his tip, I immediately thought of the downtown library, instead of this one. As horrible as this seems, I was blind to the fact that this resource even existed, and I'm a native. With my love of historical subjects, I'm surprised I never knew this library was in existence.

Maybe a silly question, but I'd feeling even sillier showing up without knowing this in advance, but is my standard library card sufficient to check-out materials, or is that even allowed? I didn't see anything mentioned when I got the information on the library.

Edit: Sunny's opened up my sophomore year in high school, and I remember it well. My great uncle used to set up a table there every weekend. It was quite a bit smaller, and not near as heavily Hispanic populated as it is currently. There is another old one, just south of West on the east side of Airline that's been there for years and years now, as well. Can not think of the name of it right now to save my life.

Edited by Purpledevil

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Maybe a silly question, but I'd feeling even sillier showing up without knowing this in advance, but is my standard library card sufficient to check-out materials, or is that even allowed? I didn't see anything mentioned when I got the information on the library.

 

I do not believe you can check out anything from the Texas Room. In fact, I am quite sure of it. They've renovated the place since I've been there last, but the second floor, when I was last there, was divided into two sections. On one side was a repository of books and materials you had to ask the receptionist to get for you. On the other side was the so-called Texas Room, which, in addition to tables and chairs, had the less valuable books, the directories, the maps, the Key Maps and the photographs. At the entrance was the small desk where you checked in. There was no place to check out anything. You could view whatever you wanted at the tables, but you could take nothing out of the room.

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Good to know. I kind of figured as much, but it certainly didn't hurt to ask. Thank you both so much for the great information!

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Good to know. I kind of figured as much, but it certainly didn't hurt to ask. Thank you both so much for the great information!

 

The greatest history nugget I ever found at the Texas Room was a copy of the 1948 San Jacinto High School yearbook. What's so great about that, you ask? Well, as you may or may not know, I've researched and written an e-book on the history of the Aldine High School football team. (I used to post about it on here a lot in another long-since dormant thread on Aldine area history). Anyway, I had found via old newspapers and the UIL all of the scores for every regular season and playoff game Aldine has ever played, EXCEPT one. And that was a game against San Jacinto's B-team in 1947. (Back then, varsity teams would sometimes play against sub-varsity squads. Not sure why.) The game was not reported in any newspaper and the UIL does not have a result, just the fact that the game was played. The 1947-48 Aldine yearbook did not have a score. But the Texas Room had a copy of the San Jac yearbook and it did list that Aldine's varsity team beat San Jac's B-Team 20-0. Now, at last, I had every score for every game!

 

Last year I did find the same yearbook on Classmates.com. But in 2007, hey that was a big deal to me.

 

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You're speaking of 9410 North Freeway, of course. I can help you there. Here are all the restaurants I could find that have been at that location from its opening until I quit updating in 2008:

 

1974 - First Mate (seems it didn't last long and the site was vacant for quite some time)

1985 - Frenchy's (ate there quite a bit while in college)

1989 - Magic Wok

1993 - Bar-B-Que Express

1995 - Taquito Joe

2003 - Wings-n-More

 

Now, apparently it is a BreWingZ.

 

I can answer that one. Wings-N-More (which also apparently dates back to Wings-N-Things, get back to me later about that one) actually was two companies: "Mark Dennard's Original Wings-N-More" and a franchised Wings-N-More based in Houston. A year or so ago, the franchised WnM all became BreWingz, which is either because Mark Dennard pulled the franchise or the franchisee wanted to expand beyond Houston (I've heard both ways). The Wings-N-More in The Woodlands (as do the ones in my neck of the woods, of course) still operates because it WASN'T one of the franchised ones. And, on that subject, the original Wings-N-More in College Station was a Sambo's.

Edited by IronTiger

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Where was the Burger King at Veterans Memorial and Spears? It doesn't seem to be easily identifiable. To the northeast is nothing, northwest is a strip center with a gas station canopy, southwest is a gas station, and southeast is more stores, all in a strip mall configuration.

I have, however, figured out the Burger King at Town & Country Village: it was in a strip center at the northeast corner of West Belt Road/Sam Houston Tollway and Queensbury Lane. It shared the space with a Bonanza. This building was extant until around the time the rest of Town & Country Mall was demolished.

Just south of it was another building of a much newer vintage that appeared to be a chain restaurant of some sort.

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Oh yes, and 8394 Bellaire (former DQ) is still very much standing: it's now a Loanstar, and it made pretty much zero renovations to the facade. See here.

[Yes, a major update to the list is still undergoing]

Edited by IronTiger

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I do not believe you can check out anything from the Texas Room. In fact, I am quite sure of it. They've renovated the place since I've been there last, but the second floor, when I was last there, was divided into two sections. On one side was a repository of books and materials you had to ask the receptionist to get for you. On the other side was the so-called Texas Room, which, in addition to tables and chairs, had the less valuable books, the directories, the maps, the Key Maps and the photographs. At the entrance was the small desk where you checked in. There was no place to check out anything. You could view whatever you wanted at the tables, but you could take nothing out of the room.

 

 

and microfilm... or was when I was there, years ago. I was looking at Sanborn Maps on it, before they were digitized. You had to sign in, in pencil. The trip was priceless, just to visit the building, a real beauty. Enclosed porch was where the copy machines were placed. It had those map drawers / collections, as well. Take coins, just in case. It was old style when I went.

Edited by NenaE

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Page updated with new format! There's a small error on the index (missing <hr> tag between Pizza Hut and Ponderosa Steakhouse). A few new restaurants have been added to the list, and restaurant suggestions have been added. Enjoy!

Thanks to all who helped out! Another update is coming in a month or so.

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Looks like I found another one, in an ethereal gas station location:

14647 S Main St, Pizza Inn, replaced in the last year or so.

Speaking of gas station locations, the McDonald's in the Exxon in College Station is being replaced with a Mooyah. Should add that.

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Wow, I never would have guessed that the River Oaks Plant House/Village Flowery was an old Jack in the Box. I plan on updating a few then adding Whataburger, Denny's, Jack in the Box, Quiznos, Grandy's, and by popular demand, Champs to the next update.

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By the way, 94 E Crosstimbers St is still a Jack in the Box, it was torn down and rebuilt in 2011. 

9602 Houston Dyersdale E Rd. is actually 9602 Mesa Road (probably old name for such) and...still a Jack in the Box!

 

If I added every rebuilt McDonald's, I'd have a very long list, for instance. :(

Edited by IronTiger

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That's a mistake, IronTiger. Chick-Fil-A was mostly in the malls down here. Whataburger was primarily a standalone burger joint, and had some really cool looking locations like the two big W shaped buildings on Crosstimbers. I think you're doing your project a disservice by switching, but that's of course, just my opinion.

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Well, I don't have any Whataburger listings at the moment, there are certain to be some cool ones but the only ones I have are:

 

- a strip mall location near Almeda Mall

- a location on the Katy Freeway that was torn down in 2005, tried to find the address in vain but couldn't find it

- a location in A&M's "Underground Food Court", which despite its name is only half a floor underground.
 

...and that's three locations.

 

Chick-fil-a I can at least name malls, plus that location on I-45 in the Baybrook Mall area that moved due to freeway construction.

 

It doesn't mean Whataburger will never be added, it just means the "adding its page" will be delayed.

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Gotcha. Well, Chick-Fil-A was in both Almeda & Northwest Malls. That's the only two originals I know. Greenspoint nor Northline had one. The new one on Crosstimbers was not part of the original Northline Mall's footprint.

Let me know when you move on to Whataburger. There's a couple up on the northside that are mere concrete slabs now, and only the memories remain (like the one on Crosstimbers across from Mister Car Wash). Others, like the E. Crosstimbers location near Bauman, may be something else currently, but still have that distinctive look of an old Whataburger.

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Whataburger will be on the next update, but I don't have a lot of data, so it will look a bit anemic compared to the others.

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Was the House of Pies on Kirby originally anything else? Seems kind of that way...

 

I think it's always been House of Pies. After that fire last year, the news articles mentioned that it had been there since 1967, and Historic Aerials doesn't show it to be there in the 1966 view.

Edited by JLWM8609
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OK, maybe not quite on the month, but the list has been updated. It's more filled out but there's still a lot missing. If anyone can help me fill me in on old Whataburger or Grandy's locations, that'd be excellent. I also neglected to put down Quizno's, which will come next time, hopefully (I think I promised it for this month, sorry)

Edited by IronTiger

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OK, maybe not quite on the month, but the list has been updated. It's more filled out but there's still a lot missing. If anyone can help me fill me in on old Whataburger or Grandy's locations, that'd be excellent. I also neglected to put down Quizno's, which will come next time, hopefully (I think I promised it for this month, sorry)

 

There was a Grandy's at 9205 S. Main. It's now a Baytown Seafood. There was also a McDonald's at 9203 S. Main that's now a Shipley's Do-nuts. The Whataburger at 4616 OST closed down a few months ago. It's boarded up. I don't know if you want to include it since it was replaced by a brand new Whataburger about a mile down the road.

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I'll try to include Del Taco on the next update as well. One more correction in regards to the McDonald's listing, the 2000 Fannin block McDonald's is the Midtown McD's near the Pierce Elevated, 609 Main was the address of the McDonald's (and also Shamrock Tower, which was to replace it) which was the "other Main Street McDonald's" and was reportedly quite noxious.

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If memory serves, there were also Grandy's locations on Edgebrook east of 45 South, and one on Hwy 6 near Bellaire Blvd.  I do not remember the addresses.

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Yes. There was a Grandy's on Edgebrook and IH 45. A Chilos Seafood Restaurant stands in its place right now. The address is 1150 Edgebrook Dr. Idk about SH 6 and Bellaire.

 

By the way, I saw you needed help on a Burger King location in the website you made. It was the location where you put Veterans Memorial Dr. and Gears Rd. The original building still stands, even the sign. The sign even has the BREAKFAST remains, according to Google Maps. Christian's Soul Food Restaurant now stands in that original building. The address is 3075 Gears Rd. It is kind of hard to tell when the Burger King restaurant shut down though. According to historical images on Google Earth, it shut down between 1995 and 2002. 

 

Also, about your 9605 Dyersdale Rd. mystery for BK as well, that road is now named Mesa Dr. It is in Northeast Houston. The original building also still stands. It is now Soobs of Houston. It is some kind of a jacuzzi/massage place? I have no idea. So it is 9605 Mesa Dr. now, just a road rename like you stated. I can't tell when this place shut down. Before 2002, that's all I can tell. 1995 is blurry.

 

Also, there is a BK that also closed recently in Angleton, TX. It got caught on fire back in February, I think? I passed by Angleton a few months ago and the building has been torn down, leaving it abandoned. BK even removed the Angleton location from their website. So I don't know if you should add that, but I would still wait.

Edited by TheGn2

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Apologies if it's already been covered, but what was at the corner of MLK Jr. and 610? Looks like a Burger King.

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Apologies if it's already been covered, but what was at the corner of MLK Jr. and 610? Looks like a Burger King.

 

It was.

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Oh, I was going to update it again before end of October. Oh well, not happening.

It looks like Goode Hamburger Co. was a Taco Bell.

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Ringing in the new year with an update!

Here's what's new:

- Some Houston chains like JoJo's and Champs

- Burger King circa 1998 in Houston

- The Grandy's and their addresses in Houston

- Bennigan's at their peak

- some other stuff I didn't go over

Is it worth the three month wait? Unfortunately not...but next update will feature more non-Houston ones!

See here: http://carbon-izer.s3.amazonaws.com/projects/former/fff.html

Edited by IronTiger

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Working on some on the SW side, but some questions:

 

What was the difference between Champs and Champps? 

 

Was Champs earlier known as Terry's or something?

 

Which chain had the train running around on a ledge beneath the ceiling?

 

I hadn't realized JoJo's was a local chain.  Was there any connection to Champs.

 

There was a Taco Bueno at ca. 3810 S. Gessner, intersection Westpark, west side of the street.  After TB pulled out, the building became a dentists office or loan office or something but has now been demolished.  A strip center occupies the space between where the TB was and Westpark that contains a Tortilleria La Reyna, with parking on the south of the building rather than along Gessner.  The TB would have sat in the parking lot, very close to the La Reyna.

 

There was a Taco Bueno at ca. 8767 S. Gessner.  When TB pulled out, Taqueria Arandas occupied the building without much alteration at first but later a paint job.  Years later, the TA was razed and a larger restaurant was built on the back of the site.  Last year the TA closed and within the last few months a Don Rey Mexican restaurant has moved in.

 

An L-shaped center was built on the lot s. of where the TB stood.  I can't remember what was there when it was TB.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6858302,-95.5285299,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s92McQ-TF6kujKWXErS_7Ig!2e0

 

The China House Restaurant @ 8797 S. Gessner, corner of Jason (?) was originally a Captain D's.

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Champs was the one with the trains. Champps is the restaurant in Uptown.

It's possible Jojo's wasn't a local chain, but it did have several Houston locations.

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I don't know if your intent was not to go back to the '50s & '60s, but you've missed many from that era. Here are a few that I can remember.

  1. MacDonalds (sp?) the Houston original - one on Main , another on South Park/MLK next to King Center Twin theater, maybe others I can't remember from 50+ years ago. "Real" drive - ins with carhops that served beer.
  2. Prices (NOT Princes) was, I believe, a local chain, a walk-up, sit at picnic tables or in your car that sold a product identical to current Mickey Ds burgers & fries. I remember $.19 burgers, $.12 fries, $.10 cokes & apple pies. There was one at Belfort & South Park/MLK, one in Pasadena somewhere, one on Jensen (I think) as well as others around town. 
  3. The Texan was another carhop drive in, similar to MacDonalds. There was one right ay the 69th Street Bridge and one on Hempstead Road.
  4. The Ranger, another carhop drive in on Telephone Road, at about where the Loop now crosses.
  5. The Winkler, a carhop drive in at about Winkler & Telephone, across from the drive in theater.

I'll try to think of more, if you're interested, but that's a start.

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It's possible Jojo's wasn't a local chain, but it did have several Houston locations.

 

I didn't think that Jojos was a local chain, but the only local one that sticks out to me was the one on the Seawall in Galveston. I think it's the Denny's there now. The only one I'd ever eaten at was in Irving on the Airport Freeway back in the late 90s, though I'm doubtful the strip center it was in is even there anymore.

 

One chain I hadn't noticed on the list at this point was Toddle House / Steak 'n Egg Kitchen. Just thinking of both as one entity due to their common ownership at the end of the run, and a lot of their promotions at least for coupons and such mentioned both restaurants in the same space.

 

I was also wondering if your list of chains will include those that are in travel plazas or convenience stores.

 

When I get the chance I'll try to get together a list of the various locations for Richmond & Rosenberg. I can definitely help out on that part at least.

Edited by ChannelTwoNews
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Yes, I think Jo Jo’s was not just local; I wondered too about Toddle House, etc.  There is lots of good info in the Historic Houston forum about past restaurants, too, not just in the Defunct Restaurants thread.  That forum used to be one of the most active on HAIF and there were lots of contributors who knew a lot about Houston.

I see upthread where it’s been suggested the Champs were formerly named Jim’s.  I’m remembering the name Terry’s from someplace but can’t pin it down.  

Jim’s/Terry’s/Champs - whatever -- there was one at ca. 6475 Hillcroft, on the V-shaped tract formed by the intersection of Westward and Hillcroft.  This is the first I went to and that was possibly before the name change the first time I went.  

After it closed and was razed, a large Conoco station went in there with a large C store that seemed to me to be a copy of the large Stop and Go Corner Market formats.

The Street View from just last September shows an Exxon station there.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7108576,-95.4931976,3a,75y,338.7h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sXMBLNjlSD1K4Q9ml8fwE1A!2e0

The El Ranchero Restaurant at 5300 N. Braeswood was originally a Champ’s.  I remember being surprised seeing it there because that’s not anywhere near as heavily traveled a thoroughfare as the other locations I knew about; that one would really be just a neighborhood café.  After Champs closed that became Pastine; there is still a listing for Pastine on Menuism or one of those sites which lists it as Italian, Mexican and Pizza.  It never seemed to do any business but lasted for quite a few years.  El Ranchero moved in 5 or 6 years ago, perhaps.

http://www.elrancherohouston.com/

There was a Champs in the parking lot of the Academy at 8236 S. Gessner at 59.  There was a Mobil station on the corner, facing the frontage road, which is now a garage/used car lot.  The Champs backed right up to the back of the gas station and faced north, not Gessner.  I went in there once, not long before it closed.  There was no parking directly in front of the restaurant.  You had to park elsewhere in the lot and walk and that driveway could be very busy at times.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6885879,-95.5318034,3a,75y,180h,91.75t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sv4W7m7ECcN5Ff--7wMOESQ!2e0!6m1!1e1

You have a Champs on the SW corner of S. Wilcrest and 59, now an Exxon station.  Yes, but that was originally a Jo Jo’s.  That’s why I asked if there was any connection.  I went there once, after the name change.  That is the only location I remember seeing a train which is why I asked which chain that was.

The Jo Jo’s faced south, into the parking lot of the big strip center (Marshall’s, Carter’s Gun Country, etc.), not Wilcrest or the frontage road.  The driveway into the parking lot was the first one south of the frontage road.  It's been altered so it's impossible for me to get my bearings looking at the street view.  There was room for one row of parking directly in front of the building, separated by a sidewalk, small strip of sod, and shrubbery.  Note both the freeway and frontage road have been widened.
 

You can look at these on Historic Aerials but many of the shots are very difficult to make out.  You can see however that the Hillcroft, N. Braeswood and S. Gessner buildings had a similar shape with a point to one end of the roof.  The building on S.Wilcrest was square.  The best one to look at is the 2002 image of the S. Gessner location which shows the building there.  By 2004 it is gone completely.  The 1981 image of Hillcroft is probably the best one to look at for that store; that’s about the time I went there I think.  It shows parking in front of the building, in fact, on every side except Westward.  I hadn’t been able to remember if you could park right in front of that one because of the tapering lot but the restaurant is farther from the tip than I remembered.

Edited by brucesw

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I don't know if your intent was not to go back to the '50s & '60s, but you've missed many from that era. Here are a few that I can remember.

  • MacDonalds (sp?) the Houston original - one on Main , another on South Park/MLK next to King Center Twin theater, maybe others I can't remember from 50+ years ago. "Real" drive - ins with carhops that served beer.
  • Prices (NOT Princes) was, I believe, a local chain, a walk-up, sit at picnic tables or in your car that sold a product identical to current Mickey Ds burgers & fries. I remember $.19 burgers, $.12 fries, $.10 cokes & apple pies. There was one at Belfort & South Park/MLK, one in Pasadena somewhere, one on Jensen (I think) as well as others around town. 
  • The Texan was another carhop drive in, similar to MacDonalds. There was one right ay the 69th Street Bridge and one on Hempstead Road.
  • The Ranger, another carhop drive in on Telephone Road, at about where the Loop now crosses.
  • The Winkler, a carhop drive in at about Winkler & Telephone, across from the drive in theater.
I'll try to think of more, if you're interested, but that's a start.

It's not that I'm uninterested in the 1950s or 1960s...some of the things sevfiv gave me have been gone for years, but more interested in national or regional chains. That's not to say some local chains aren't there, but some largely forgotten drive-ins without even addresses or extant buildings aren't going to be on there. The list was modeled after a similar project in Michigan, which I don't think did really old restaurants either.

I didn't think that Jojos was a local chain, but the only local one that sticks out to me was the one on the Seawall in Galveston. I think it's the Denny's there now. The only one I'd ever eaten at was in Irving on the Airport Freeway back in the late 90s, though I'm doubtful the strip center it was in is even there anymore.

 

One chain I hadn't noticed on the list at this point was Toddle House / Steak 'n Egg Kitchen. Just thinking of both as one entity due to their common ownership at the end of the run, and a lot of their promotions at least for coupons and such mentioned both restaurants in the same space.

 

I was also wondering if your list of chains will include those that are in travel plazas or convenience stores.

 

When I get the chance I'll try to get together a list of the various locations for Richmond & Rosenberg. I can definitely help out on that part at least.

Oh, so Jojo's was in Dallas-Fort Worth as well? Fascinating. My ~1998 listings do include D-FW and smaller cities too. Other restaurants (Steak N Egg) not on the list don't necessarily mean they won't be added, as Jojo's was a fairly late addition too. I don't want to get too wrapped up in Houston-area ones, Dallas is another treasure trove of old stuff (that's why this is in Off Topic instead of Historic Houston because of that difference, which also partially replies to the other message too). In fact, on a recent trip to D-FW, I caught a good view of a Red Line, which looked nearly identical to one that used to be in College Station.

Yes, travel plazas and gas stations DO count...there's a Denny's in a truck stop (Vidor, IIRC) that was included (and I do remember that one distinctly from a trip in 2006...not that I ate there, but I went there...and I was dumbfounded by a gas station/hotel combo. Or a Shell in Navasota that gradually lost its Domino's AND Popeyes. Or...you get the idea.

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