Nowadays fast food restaurants, and many other retail outlets, are built with such little detail that you couldn’t tell them apart from their competitors with their branding. This isn’t just a coincidence either, bland styling easily allows buildings to be reused by other companies, and is often required in planned communities. This, however, was not the case back in the 70s and 80s when chains like BK and McDonald’s went on expansion streaks in major cities, as areas changed and the original restaurants closed, you’re left with what can easily be identified by a non-retail fan as at the very least a “reused building”. There’s even an entire subreddit dedicated to this concept, often these buildings are on their second or even third lives, but still highly resemble the chain that built them. Today we’re looking at 439 FM 1092, which first opened as a Burger King back in 1983. Up until 2001 the store continued unabated, but after 59 was completed traffic had already considerably dropped off. One of the likely final factors in this store’s demise would have been the departure of first Kmart which was across the street, and then later Kroger who was in the same shopping center as BK.
After sitting vacant for a year, a new tenant moved in. Going by the name “Hill Country Chicken Buffet”, it was a place I never stopped at but did drive past more than a few times, and judging by what little I can find online, it seems like a Hartz knock off. The store would be purchased in 2006 by a Houston Hartz franchisee, who converted the restaurant to their brand. The location would then jump around a few different franchisees over the years suffering from consistently poor reviews, that mostly complained of old food and poor service, which is among the normal complaints for most fast food joints. At the beginning of the pandemic, all Hartz locations shutdown indoor dining, switching to drive-thru only and stopping buffet service. This store did make it at least halfway through 2020 but was closed by December. It has sat vacant for the better part of a year now, personally I think it would make a great location for Tornado Burger to expand their currently cramped digs, however I’m doubtful that will occur.
Let us finish today with a dramatic reading