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SpaceGhost

Pictures of the Lubys at 5215 Buffalo Speedway

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I've got some great memories of this location. I found a blog referring to it as the "old people's Luby's" even before the old folks home was built behind it. This was spot on! Some other info points to the fact that it was built as a Romana's (the original concept that Luby's launched in Houston). I was very sad to see this location go. Some of the things I remember include, the driveway/ramp in front of the entrance. Those HUGE wooden doors, but IIRC you actually used smaller doors, which may have been glass? Inside the line started at the right side of the building. They had a huge board, some menu/restaurant information was posted on it. I think other information might have been pasted on it, but I'm not 100% sure about that though. There was a small lobby directly inside which bordered the serving line. They had a gigantic clock, must of been 2 or 3 feet in diameter. This location did not have a soda fountain, they did have it in bottles however. When you finished grabbing food, you were given a receipt, but didn't have to pay. The cashier was a separate endeavor, that you had to go through when you exited. The dining room was huge and segmented, there were floor to ceiling glass panes, and I believe they had live plants indoors. (I also believe that there was a sun room on the edge of the building but could be wrong). This location did not have the modern waitresses that Luby's now has. They had the women that pushed the carts around. These carts had Ice, Water, Tea, Silverware, etc.. on them. If you needed sauce it was kept in a bookshelf like space in between each dining room segment.

 

So what does everyone else remember about this location, and does anyone else have anymore pictures?

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I believe West Houston Archives does have a picture of the Bear Creek Luby's, which may be similar to what you're describing. The direct picture is here, but do visit the site, because it's amazing in its info.

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We used to live near that Luby's and patronized it semi-regularly. I miss Luby's before Pappas got hold of them, but my favorite memory of that particular location is winning a cruise for two to Mexico plus round-trip airfare from IAH to LAX (the cruise departed from San Pedro) after tossing my business card in a fishbowl at the cashier's station one day almost as an afterthought. When they called to tell me I'd won, I thought it was someone playing a joke at first. 

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Back in the mid to late 70s there was a cafeteria out off 43rd street and 290 by the name of Romano's that later became Luby's in the early 80s, they served 5 star restaurant quality food for just above cafeteria prices people used to come from all over Houston to eat there on Sundays after church. Many Sundays there was a line almost completely around the building and the parking lot was always packed.

Edited by blue92

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I believe West Houston Archives does have a picture of the Bear Creek Luby's, which may be similar to what you're describing. The direct picture is here, but do visit the site, because it's amazing in its info.

 

Yeah the separate cashier station is similar. This location however was much more ornate. It had this wood paneling which I can only describe as decidedly 60's. (huge insets in them). The picture you linked to actually looks similar to the Luby's at Westheimer and Old Westheimer.

 

Back in the mid to late 70s there was a cafeteria out off 43rd street and 290 by the name of Romano's that later became Luby's in the early 80s, they served 5 star restaurant quality food for just above cafeteria prices people used to come from all over Houston to eat there on Sundays after church. Many Sundays there was a line almost completely around the building and the parking lot was always packed.

 

Was it off 43rd, or 34th? The 34th and 290 location still stands, and looks a bit similar to the shuttered Buffalo Speedway location.

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Yeah the separate cashier station is similar. This location however was much more ornate. It had this wood paneling which I can only describe as decidedly 60's. (huge insets in them). The picture you linked to actually looks similar to the Luby's at Westheimer and Old Westheimer.

 

 

Was it off 43rd, or 34th? The 34th and 290 location still stands, and looks a bit similar to the shuttered Buffalo Speedway location.

 

Yea 34th is right there used to be a bunch of car dealerships on that street. I bought a 76 Fiat 131 at a Fiat/import car dealership on that street, was one of my favorite cars I ever owned.

 

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Yea 34th is right there used to be a bunch of car dealerships on that street. I bought a 76 Fiat 131 at a Fiat/import car dealership on that street, was one of my favorite cars I ever owned.

 

 

 I bought a 1968 Fiat 124 Twin Cam Coupe and a 1972 BMW Bavaria from the same dealer.....

 

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IIRC that dealer was Rudi's Autohaus. They were pretty tolerant of a 16 year old kid coming in and drooling over the merchandise (which included Lotus and Maserati on top of Fiat and BMW).

 

I'd love to have one of their license plate frames.

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Rudi's,  thanks...I couldn't remember the name. John Mecom used to buy some of his cars there. One day I saw a  DeTomaso Mangusta that was being prepped for delivery to him.

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No pictures of the building, but I have a few matchbooks:

http://arch-ive.org/archive/romana-cafeteria/

 

romana02mb.jpg

So, then, the décor SG is remembering is not original Luby's decor but Romana décor?

Interesting. I think the Luby's at 34th and NW Freeway may have always been a Luby's, as it has that covered drive-up that many Luby's did in that era. As for the car dealerships, I dunno, looking at that area in Google Earth reveals that the buildings there are (within range of the freeway of course) pretty much the same as it was until the demolitions in the mid 2010s, with one notable exception: an apartment complex at the southeast corner behind Gigi's Cabaret that existed in 1989 but not 1995 (it later became the plot of land where several establishments, including a hotel, a Wells Fargo Bank, and one of the few Sonic drive-ins with an eat-in lobby).

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So, then, the décor SG is remembering is not original Luby's decor but Romana décor?

Interesting. I think the Luby's at 34th and NW Freeway may have always been a Luby's, as it has that covered drive-up that many Luby's did in that era.

an apartment complex at the southeast corner behind Gigi's Cabaret that existed in 1989 but not 1995

Been a Luby's since the 70's. My grandparents carried me to that Luby's way back when the strip center attached was still walled in and functioned as a mini mall. Luby's was the anchor on that end, K-Mart on the far end. I hated it, my grandmother always had to stop at Hancock for material, thread, or whatever she wanted to have a "look-see" at after Luby's. Loved Luby's, hated Hancock's. Endless hours spent at that damn fabric store in my life, lol. Anyway, that would put the Luby's there at least 45 years now.

The apartments you referred to caught fire, IIRC. It was all torn down after a big section of it was reduced to rubble. I tried to find an old article online that covered it, but had no success. I'd have thought it would be archived somewhere.

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I wonder if James Glassman (Houstorian guy) is on HAIF. If he was, I'd tell him that it would be a good thing to those without spam blockers to delete some rogue hacked code in his pages that start with

 

<div id='shifte08dprevio'>
...but I have an adblocker so it really doesn't affect me other than it flashing on that page. But still.

Been a Luby's since the 70's. My grandparents carried me to that Luby's way back when the strip center attached was still walled in and functioned as a mini mall. Luby's was the anchor on that end, K-Mart on the far end. I hated it, my grandmother always had to stop at Hancock for material, thread, or whatever she wanted to have a "look-see" at after Luby's. Loved Luby's, hated Hancock's. Endless hours spent at that damn fabric store in my life, lol. Anyway, that would put the Luby's there at least 45 years now.

I'm impressed that it has survived both waves of closures AND the freeway widening, which took out the Al's Tuxedo store behind it. Although I never went to a fabric store growing up, I do remember sitting around at the fabrics department of Wal-Mart, which was very large before the entire store was remodeled and expanded in 2010. Sadly, I've never been to a Luby's...the only one after maybe 1998 was some miles away and I always heard it was "tasteless food for old people", and by the time I was living on my own and in that part of town, it had already closed. Bummer. :(

The apartments you referred to caught fire, IIRC. It was all torn down after a big section of it was reduced to rubble. I tried to find an old article online that covered it, but had no success. I'd have thought it would be archived somewhere.

I dunno...there's a lot of great stories out there not covered at least in the Chronicle (maybe the Post) and sometimes they don't even cover things that might usually get covered. I was trying to look yesterday for when Lord & Taylor joined Willowbrook Mall, and all I figured out was maybe 2000 just by when they listed it in papers and when they didn't.

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Has all of the Luby's closed?

Of course not, at least three exist on the NW Freeway alone. I haven't seen a new build Luby's since 2005 though (not counting Fuddruckers combos).

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Has all of the Luby's closed?

 

There is one at South Poak close to West Bellfort this one was remodeled like 2 1/5 yrs ago

Another at Almeda and South MacGregor

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There is one at South Poak close to West Bellfort this one was remodeled like 2 1/5 yrs ago

Another at Almeda and South MacGregor

A new Fudruckers and Lubys opened in the baybrook area. Two places in one but seperated by a wall.

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I used to frequent that Buffalo Speedway Luby's quite a bit in the 90's/early 2000's. One of the things I recall is how often I would see sports reporter Kenny Hand and Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman there. I'd bet Kenny Hand ate there almost every day judging by how often I saw him.

 

Even with that retirement home behind them and Greenway Plaza right across the freeway, that Luby's location was usually uncrowded, which was one of the reasons I went there often.. but unfortunately probably why they closed it. Not sure why that Luby's wasn't more crowded, but it may have been due to competition from Cleburne's cafeteria just blocks away. Cleburne's has great food, but significantly more expensive than Luby's, and longer lines too.

 

Ronnie Hallenberger was the manager at that Luby's for years before he left around 2002-ish to become a manager at Los Tios. I still run into him from time to time at the Los Tios Beechnut location.

 

I wasn't pleased with Luby's change several years back when they switched from having the tea refill ladies, to now having table servers hustling for tips. Luby's website says that they have 21 Houston Luby's locations not counting surrounding areas like Katy and Pearland. I wish they'd open one off I-10 near Spring Branch/Memorial. Since the Town & Country Luby's closed a couple of years ago to make room for new construction, there's no Luby's or any other cafeteria I'm aware of between Mason Rd. Katy and the Luby's galleria.

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 Luby's website says that they have 21 Houston Luby's locations not counting surrounding areas like Katy and Pearland. I wish they'd open one off I-10 near Spring Branch/Memorial. Since the Town & Country Luby's closed a couple of years ago to make room for new construction, there's no Luby's or any other cafeteria I'm aware of between Mason Rd. Katy and the Luby's galleria.

 

There is one on Westheimer between Kirkwood and Dairy Ashford.  Its on the south side at West Houston Center Blvd.   Also one on Fondren just south of Westheimer. 

Edited by technoevil

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Been a Luby's since the 70's. My grandparents carried me to that Luby's way back when the strip center attached was still walled in and functioned as a mini mall. Luby's was the anchor on that end, K-Mart on the far end. I hated it, my grandmother always had to stop at Hancock for material, thread, or whatever she wanted to have a "look-see" at after Luby's. Loved Luby's, hated Hancock's. Endless hours spent at that damn fabric store in my life, lol. Anyway, that would put the Luby's there at least 45 years now.

The apartments you referred to caught fire, IIRC. It was all torn down after a big section of it was reduced to rubble. I tried to find an old article online that covered it, but had no success. I'd have thought it would be archived somewhere.

 

Sorry to bust your bubble but it wasn't a Luby's until 1979. I had a watch service in Houston from 1975 thu 1979 and I and my family ate there often.  

 

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On 1/19/2016 at 7:00 PM, Purpledevil said:

The apartments you referred to caught fire, IIRC. It was all torn down after a big section of it was reduced to rubble. I tried to find an old article online that covered it, but had no success. I'd have thought it would be archived somewhere.

It turned out there was an article discussing it. I was talking to @SpaceGhost earlier today that the name of the apartments were Pinebrook Apartments, located at 5201 West 34th Street, and was a bit more complicated than just a fire necessitating demolition. Here's an article from March 1992.

The old

Pinebrook Apartments, located at U.S. 290 and 34th Street, was demolished by the Neighborhood Protection Division of the city's Department of Planning and Development.

The vacant apartments were deteriorated and used by transients, who were blamed for frequent fires that broke out in the units.

"The city of Houston's demolition . . . will expedite the redevelopment of the property," Gilliam said. "There has been strong interest from numerous national and local restaurants and retailers interested in 1992 openings, with offers already pending on portions of the site."

The 232-unit Pinebrook Apartments were built in 1971 by Redman Development of Dallas. The property was purchased in the early 1980s by J.R. McConnell and was subsequently foreclosed on by the lender, Chrysler First Business Credit Corp.

Houston developer William C. "Bill" Dennis bought the project in April 1990. Dennis died a month later and the project slipped into disrepair. All of the tenants moved out in November 1990.

The city is paying for the $70,000 demolition of the apartments, and will be reimbursed when the land is sold.

The fire just prior to the official closure only destroyed one apartment and damaged three others, though there might have been others, and might've had one last big one before the city flattened it.

 

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