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SpaceGhost

Champs Restaurants

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So who remember's Champs?

 

I was thinking about it during the House of Pies topic, and honestly do remember too much. I remember that they had breakfast, as that's what my family went there for. I also very much remember that they had a model train running around right below the ceiling. The tracks were attached to the wall I think, and it went through intersecting walls via little cut out tunnels. They also had a section with giant curved windows, kinda a greenhouse like area which was fun to sit in when it rained.

 

So does anyone know why champs went bust? I've been able to find a few locations via HAIF but were they limited to Houston, or did they ever make it outside of town? Did they serve anything other than breakfast, or was that a limited thing? Also does anyone have any pictures?

 

Edit: Found a court case  from 1988 where Champs is listed as DBA "Maggie's Restaurant" the case is that the employees over served a coworker who was killed driving home drunk, and the family sued Champs. This would of been way before their downfall so I doubt it's related, but has anyone ever heard of Maggie's?

 

I also found an obit for Terry Parsons the obit mentions he was CEO of "Champs Restaurant in Houston and Maggie's grills in Houston and San Antonio." Googling his name with Champs doesn't really bring back much though, so I wonder if he wasn't originally associated with the restaurant?

 

Also found a Chronicle Article from 2001 stating that a group was meeting there. I would assume that the restaurant was still open at this point, but am not sure. It was the location at I-45 and 1960.

 

I even found a commercial!

Edited by SpaceGhost

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We were discussing this in another thread. Hold on, I know I tried to create a list of locations, as soon as I get to my computer and fix some coffee.

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Here's a page that I created from a forum topic on HAIF a while back (in Off-Topic), plus something I found during that time (Mariners Guide, which is a circa 1998 listing of most restaurants in Houston).

So yeah...that's the restaurants that we've discovered so far.

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The Champs (Mambo) at 10810 North Freeway (corner of Dyna) was originally a Jim's Restaurant (San Antonio-based). One of my first jobs in high school was bussing tables at that Jim's. Workers got one free meal during each shift. While we weren't allowed to order steaks the manager on duty most of the time I worked was pretty liberal about other things on the menu - a burger, fries, and additional side, dessert, and a drink with refills was not a problem. It was the perfect "light meal" for a 16-year-old male. :)

Edited by Specwriter
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Jim's bought a lot of Shoney's, if I recall correctly. A number of Jim's are still in business in Texas, at least as of 5 years ago.

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I worked at the Jim's across the Freeway from Channel 2 when I was 16 or 17. I did a lot of food prep work and manned the grill. Ron Stone and Doug Johnson used to come over to eat all the time.

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My hooligan friends and I stopped at that Champs, and the one at Hillcroft north of Bellaire. ... I remember them having really good sundaes

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Here's a page that I created from a forum topic on HAIF a while back (in Off-Topic), plus something I found during that time (Mariners Guide, which is a circa 1998 listing of most restaurants in Houston).

So yeah...that's the restaurants that we've discovered so far.

 

Awesome list! By the way the Champs at I-10 and Gessner and was actually on the Southwest side of the intersection. The building was reused as a Jared Jewelry store and extensively remodeled in late 2000. Two other stores were added onto Jared making it into a strip center. The Champs building was torn down during freeway expansion and Jared moved back to the last store position. This article mentions the reuse of the building, and even expands on some of the former tenants of that shopping center.

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I once saw two waitresses get into a food fight at the 45/Dyna Champ's (or "Cramps" as we called it) at 4 am after a wild Saturday night.

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I'm guessing this is different from Champps sports bar? There used to be one on Westheimer near Westchase and I believe there is still one in Uptown Park. Sounds like a different restaurant chain though.

Edited by asubrt

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There use to be one like 12 to 15 yrs ago North Brasewood and Chimeny Rock now it is a El Ranchero they have great mexican food

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I once saw two waitresses get into a food fight at the 45/Dyna Champ's (or "Cramps" as we called it) at 4 am after a wild Saturday night.

 

Ah yes just another normal night in the restaurant industry. I once saw a bum purposely cut himself in 59 Diner to try to bleed on the waitstaff, over a cup of coffee.. By the way was Champs 24 hrs or open late or what?

 

I'm guessing this is different from Champps sports bar? There used to be one on Westheimer near Westchase and I believe there is still one in Uptown Park. Sounds like a different restaurant chain though.

 

Yeah different joint, the one you're thinking off is called Champps Americana.

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Ah yes just another normal night in the restaurant industry. I once saw a bum purposely cut himself in 59 Diner to try to bleed on the waitstaff, over a cup of coffee.. By the way was Champs 24 hrs or open late or what?

 

 

They were open 24 hours.

 

Once at IHOP, (again, in the wee small hours of the morning) I witnessed a waiter go off on a customer after she said something snarky to him. The manager almost literally threw him out the door and the lady got a free meal out of it.

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I remember a Champs that I've ate at a few times, I believe it was somewhere near I10 and Uvalde... But maybe it was on Wallisville, I can't remember where exactly it was anymore. I do remember that one of the early Sams Club stores in the area was at I-10 and Uvalde. We frequented there a lot because my parents thought that buying bulk items was innovative!

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I remember a Champs that I've ate at a few times, I believe it was somewhere near I10 and Uvalde... But maybe it was on Wallisville, I can't remember where exactly it was anymore. I do remember that one of the early Sams Club stores in the area was at I-10 and Uvalde. We frequented there a lot because my parents thought that buying bulk items was innovative!

 

Yup there was one at I-10 and Uvalde. The exact location is unknown but it looks like it could of been here. The building highly resembles Champs and was previously owned by something called "COLLINS FOOD SFSH #1308" which indicates it was probably a restaurant.

 

Anyone have an old phone book they can check?

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Yup there was one at I-10 and Uvalde. The exact location is unknown but it looks like it could of been here. The building highly resembles Champs and was previously owned by something called "COLLINS FOOD SFSH #1308" which indicates it was probably a restaurant.

 

Anyone have an old phone book they can check?

Funny you should ask...

 

haif_champs.JPG

 

(Note: this is from the early '80s, so it may not have it)

Edited by IronTiger

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I remember a Champs that I've ate at a few times, I believe it was somewhere near I10 and Uvalde... But maybe it was on Wallisville, I can't remember where exactly it was anymore. I do remember that one of the early Sams Club stores in the area was at I-10 and Uvalde. We frequented there a lot because my parents thought that buying bulk items was innovative!

Champs was at I-10 and Federal. It was demolished sometime in the 90's for the Burger King that now stands there.

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Champs was at I-10 and Federal. It was demolished sometime in the 90's for the Burger King that now stands there.

From another topic discussing this, that is correct.

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Champs was at I-10 and Federal. It was demolished sometime in the 90's for the Burger King that now stands there.

I'm sure your right, I was probably 9 or 10 the last time I ate there... Back then I didn't even know there was a road named Federal, lol.

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From another topic discussing this, that is correct.

 

Yeah I'd seen that in the past but wasn't 100% sure it was accurate. I guess it makes more sense than an address change though.

 

Also slightly off-topic but does anyone know if the Academy across the freeway was where the Walmart used to be? I read up that a pair of criminals robbed the Walmo and one ran out the back and jumped into Greens Bayou and hid for a few hours.

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Also slightly off-topic but does anyone know if the Academy across the freeway was where the Walmart used to be? I read up that a pair of criminals robbed the Walmo and one ran out the back and jumped into Greens Bayou and hid for a few hours.

Nope. The Academy may have been something else, but the Walmart was (and is) just east of there. They expanded it (though didn't increase the square footage much) to a Supercenter sometime in the last 5-6 years.

Edited by IronTiger

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Correct Mirrers, the Academy is in what used to be the older, smaller type Walmarts. I remember this well as I grew up in this part of town and frequented this area often. It later closed to open a larger format store not far down the freeway to the east. It sat vacant for a long time if I remember correctly and then Academy and Circuit City subdivided the space and opened shop there. When Circuit City closed, Academy took over the remaining space.

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Correct Mirrers, the Academy is in what used to be the older, smaller type Walmarts. I remember this well as I grew up in this part of town and frequented this area often. It later closed to open a larger format store not far down the freeway to the east. It sat vacant for a long time if I remember correctly and then Academy and Circuit City subdivided the space and opened shop there. When Circuit City closed, Academy took over the remaining space.

 

That's what I thought, I remember the old style merchandise only Walmart being there, I always thought there were some rough people in there. Is the Whataburger and the Cavenders still on that property?

 

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That's what I thought, I remember the old style merchandise only Walmart being there, I always thought there were some rough people in there. Is the Whataburger and the Cavenders still on that property?

Yeah I remember not liking that Walmart much even as a kid. It was frequently over crowded most times. Possibly because it was one of a few Walmarts in Houston at that time. The Whataburger and Cavenders stores are still open. In addition to the Sams, Home Depot, Payless stores, there was also originally a Black Eyed Pea and a Marcos Mexican Restaurant on the fronting out parcels. Edited by intencity77

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Sorry about the Walmart snafu...it looks like the current store was built in 1995 (but not on the 1995 aerial, the date was from HCAD), must have moved from the 1980s store. It replaced what looks like what might have been a quarry or cement plant...it had a rail spur.

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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

Sorry about the Walmart snafu...it looks like the current store was built in 1995 (but not on the 1995 aerial, the date was from HCAD), must have moved from the 1980s store. It replaced what looks like what might have been a quarry or cement plant...it had a rail spur.

 

Historic aerials do seem to confirm that. I don't remember because as a child that particular stretch of I-10 was a retail dead zone, unlike today. Since the current Walmart at Freeport opened some time in the mid 90's, other retailers have very slowly started gravitating eastward. The old Whataburger that was fronting the Home Depot recently closed and moved further east near the Walmart. 

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On 5/8/2015 at 3:47 AM, SpaceGhost said:

(B)ut has anyone ever heard of Maggie's?

 

Looks like I'm about two years late on this reply, but yes, I remember Maggies. Champs, as a few others have already noted, was located in the Deauville shopping center at I-45 and Dyna. Originally it was Jim's, as someone else has already said. Champs was a great place to get a late night/early morning breakfast.

 

The Maggie's was further north on I-45 at Greens Rd. It was behind the shopping center with Birraporetti's and Brown Sugar's BBQ and next to what I think was a Comfort Inn at the time. If memory is correct, I believe they had a toy train running along the top of the walls just under the ceilings (a la Mr. Rogers Neighborhood). Maggie's had some great nachos and for at least awhile, a seafood buffet on Friday nights. The building is still there, and it's still the same pale green, but it doesn't appear to be anything now, although that's hard to see as you fly past on the overpass.

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3 hours ago, Subdude said:

Wasn't there a Champs on the south side of 290?  Maybe around Bingle or Antoine?

It was where Marco's later was at Bingle and 290 (north side). It was previously discussed on this site, and was demolished a few years ago for a small strip with Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins.

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It looks like this thread begins with Champs & Maggies, (owned by the same guys who were originally part of Jim's Coffee Shops from San Antonio). It seems to get sidetracked by other discussions but I will continue on the Champs/Maggies part.

I graduated college May of 76. Moved to Houston and went to work for Jim's as a mgr. Hired by Terry Parsons, who had recently hired his college  friend Don to be a mgr. trainer. At that time there were 6 Jim's in houston. All owned by  Jim Hasslocker from S.A. Parsons worked for Jim. Jim had two partners in S.A. Between  the time I went to work there and 1980 Jim's 2 partners and Parsons teamed up together and took over Houston operations. Jim had no interest in growing Houston. At that time they were required to change the name of the Houston Jim's  and it became Champs. No relation to the sporting goods store. 

Parsons opened 3 more locations. All called Champs.  Locations were I 45/1960, Bingle/290 and the 3rd I can't recall at the moment but it wasn't Wilcrest. That was Jojos. That particular jojs was managed by a former Jims manager who managed the Braeswood Jims across from the bayou. Sometime,   I think it was just before 1980 Parsons and company purchased the old Reeds Red Derby on San Pedro in S.A., remodeled it and named it Maggie's.

I was asked along with another Champs mgr. to go to S.A. and get it going and take it to a 24 hr. operation. Which we did. Very successfully.  So successfully that Parsons started planning the next Maggies at I45 near Greenspoint which I  was going to be the G.M.

Not sure if anyone is still interested in This Jims,Champs,Maggies conversation anymore.  If so I will try to pick up and continue at a later date. Must close for now.

Edited by Markey

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On 3/14/2018 at 4:45 PM, Markey said:

It looks like this thread begins with Champs & Maggies, (owned by the same guys who were originally part of Jim's Coffee Shops from San Antonio). It seems to get sidetracked by other discussions but I will continue on the Champs/Maggies part.

I graduated college May of 76. Moved to Houston and went to work for Jim's as a mgr. Hired by Terry Parsons, who had recently hired his college  friend Don to be a mgr. trainer. At that time there were 6 Jim's in houston. All owned by  Jim Hasslocker from S.A. Parsons worked for Jim. Jim had two partners in S.A. Between  the time I went to work there and 1980 Jim's 2 partners and Parsons teamed up together and took over Houston operations. Jim had no interest in growing Houston. At that time they were required to change the name of the Houston Jim's  and it became Champs. No relation to the sporting goods store. 

Parsons opened 3 more locations. All called Champs.  Locations were I 45/1960, Bingle/290 and the 3rd I can't recall at the moment but it wasn't Wilcrest. That was Jojos. That particular jojs was managed by a former Jims manager who managed the Braeswood Jims across from the bayou. Sometime,   I think it was just before 1980 Parsons and company purchased the old Reeds Red Derby on San Pedro in S.A., remodeled it and named it Maggie's.

I was asked along with another Champs mgr. to go to S.A. and get it going and take it to a 24 hr. operation. Which we did. Very successfully.  So successfully that Parsons started planning the next Maggies at I45 near Greenspoint which I  was going to be the G.M.

Not sure if anyone is still interested in This Jims,Champs,Maggies conversation anymore.  If so I will try to pick up and continue at a later date. Must close for now.

 

I thought Jim's was the one that bought up a number of Shoney's in central Texas before closing them all down again, and if that's the case was Champs like Shoney's?

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Glad to see you caught my addition to the conversation Iron Tiger.

 

 I left the Champs/Maggies  organization in 1981 and took a management job with Furs cafeteria mainly to get away from the late night hours. 

Parsons and his 2 partners owned the Jim's (Champs) in Houston.   Hasslocker had required the Houston guys to change the name of the Houston Jim's as a condition if he would release those stores to them.  Jim Hasslocker owned all the rest of the Jim's, most of those being in San Antonio and Austin.  Hasslocker began the business many years before with a bunch of small hamburger joints under the name of Frontier Enterprises. He also owned Tower of Americas Restaurant in S.A. and the Magic Time Machines, one  in S.A and the other on Riverside Dr. in Austin, (there might have been 1 in Dallas also), as well as a couple of larger coffee shops they called Magic Platters, ( I believe), and a couple of hamburger shops named after his daughters. One of those was on 410 somewhere around the exit of Fredricksburg road. The other one was off of 410 over near Walzem Rd across from the mall. It was called Julies.  

As for Parson's gang or Jim buying up any of the Shoney's, I don't recall that. The Champs in Houston were the same buildings as Jim's. Just a name change. Probably a few menu changes as time went along. I think there was a buffet table added about the time I left to S.A. for Maggies. Shoney 's, Jim's, Champs were all similar in concept. All coffee shops that also served lunch and dinner just like Denny's. Most of them 24 hour, except the Braeswood location

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1 hour ago, Markey said:

Glad to see you caught my addition to the conversation Iron Tiger.

 

 I left the Champs/Maggies  organization in 1981 and took a management job with Furs cafeteria mainly to get away from the late night hours. 

Parsons and his 2 partners owned the Jim's (Champs) in Houston.   Hasslocker had required the Houston guys to change the name of the Houston Jim's as a condition if he would release those stores to them.  Jim Hasslocker owned all the rest of the Jim's, most of those being in San Antonio and Austin.  Hasslocker began the business many years before with a bunch of small hamburger joints under the name of Frontier Enterprises. He also owned Tower of Americas Restaurant in S.A. and the Magic Time Machines, one  in S.A and the other on Riverside Dr. in Austin, (there might have been 1 in Dallas also), as well as a couple of larger coffee shops they called Magic Platters, ( I believe), and a couple of hamburger shops named after his daughters. One of those was on 410 somewhere around the exit of Fredricksburg road. The other one was off of 410 over near Walzem Rd across from the mall. It was called Julies.  

As for Parson's gang or Jim buying up any of the Shoney's, I don't recall that. The Champs in Houston were the same buildings as Jim's. Just a name change. Probably a few menu changes as time went along. I think there was a buffet table added about the time I left to S.A. for Maggies. Shoney 's, Jim's, Champs were all similar in concept. All coffee shops that also served lunch and dinner just like Denny's. Most of them 24 hour, except the Braeswood location

 

The only reference I could find of Shoney's becoming Jim's is this link and another long-dead forum post (assuming that SicEm365 puts back up the old BaylorFans archive) about the Shoney's there becoming Jim's. I know I had another source but it was lost (along with Shoney's in Waco opening in 1993). The sale didn't seem to affect Houston, probably because of Champs being there, as Shoney's existed in Houston in the mid-1990s.

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I have a question along this thread. There used to be a JoJo's in Humble TX that I believe turned into a Champs along 59. It is now an IHOP. Can someone confirm for me if it was Champs?

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Space Ghost I was feeling a little nostalgic so I looked up my old place of employment and found your comment. I worked at the Federal Rd. location many years ago and was their the day they shut the doors. I totally for got about the train, thank you for the reminder!!! Our location couldn't afford the $5,000 a month increase in rent but I think the company just couldn't keep up with the competition anymore. The chain was in existence for a long time and I suppose it ran it's course. I have fond memories as I was  18/19 and still a wild child. :rolleyes:

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On 7/29/2018 at 1:39 AM, chapnick136 said:

Space Ghost I was feeling a little nostalgic so I looked up my old place of employment and found your comment. I worked at the Federal Rd. location many years ago and was their the day they shut the doors. I totally for got about the train, thank you for the reminder!!! Our location couldn't afford the $5,000 a month increase in rent but I think the company just couldn't keep up with the competition anymore. The chain was in existence for a long time and I suppose it ran it's course. I have fond memories as I was  18/19 and still a wild child. :rolleyes:

 

Glad you enjoyed it! Do you have any pictures? If so we'd love it if you shared them!

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I remember that Champs at 290 and Pinemont near my dad's office that was there at least into the 90s. I think I ate there two or three times.

 

I was more a JoJo's fan as a teenager. It's where my high school debate team would go after a lot of in-town tournaments, the one on 1960 near Stuebner Airline.

Edited by Reefmonkey

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