Foodarama’s Weingarten redemption at Maplewood Mall

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re taking a look at 5665 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77096. A Foodarama store with a somewhat unique history. The store initially opened on January 28, 1965, as Weingarten’s Store #66. Construction of this store had started early the year prior alongside the adjacent Maplewood Shopping Center. The center was located right next to the boundaries of the greater Meyerland area, a part of Houston on which Weingarten’s had a stronghold, making it a no-brainer for them to open there. While the store made sense, Weingarten’s aimed to get more out of the location. The adjacent shopping center was being planned by a Dallas-based firm and was to “include a mall.” The “mall” would consist of an air-conditioned sidewalk and an expanded corridor in the center to allow for vendors and activities. At the time, Weingarten’s was attempting to expand their retail holdings, somewhat unsuccessfully. While they had been able to lease adjacent spaces to their stores and work on a few small-scale shopping centers, the company was having trouble expanding the concept. Unfortunately for the Maplewood Mall, within only about four years, Weingarten’s had learned all they seemed to need to announce their own similar project just about a mile away, Braeswood Square, which was recently covered on HHR.

The Weingarten’s in Maplewood Mall was never a “fancy” store. While not cheaply constructed, this store was not as flashy as most and was likely never intended to be super permanent. At the edge of Meyerland, the Weingarten’s had trouble attracting customers, as well as dealing with brazen shoplifters. When the Maplewood Weingarten’s opened, only one other Weingarten’s was within two miles, and by 1970, multiple grocers were now competing in the area. This competition came from Randall’s, Piggly Wiggly, Rice, and four other Weingarten locations within two miles. As such, the decision was made in 1973 to “downgrade” this store to a Valu-King location. While mainly used in the Golden Triangle area, this was a banner that Weingarten’s would convert their poorly performing stores to, usually before closing. By the end of 1974, Weingarten’s would close, and Carrol Cox would choose this store for his second Foodarama location. For the past 48 years, Foodarama has proved its success in this location. In 2004 the shopping center was demalled, and at some point, the store was expanded into the former laundry service next door. Foodarana continues to operate the original Weingarten’s service departments. It is a well put together store, with lots of selection, and polite customer service. In operation, it largely resembles Foodarama’s newest acquisition, another former Weingarten, most recently operating as Food King, which reopened as Foodarama yesterday!


  1. Nice very informative article, Mike. What a coincidence this article was posted Wednesday. My wife and I were in town visiting for a few days (from Dallas) and we stopped at the Foodarama on the way back to our motel. This was after dining out at another historic Houston institution – the Los Tios Mexican Restaurant on Beechnut in Meyerland. I didn’t realize the Foodarama had been there since the early 1970s. I do remember going into the old “mall” a couple of times back in the 1980s. As mentioned, it was pretty much just one hallway between stores. Ah, the memories…..

  2. With the Braeswood Square being covered by HHR just a few weeks ago, it’s nice to see this area’s other pseudo-mall, Maplewood Mall, get some coverage as well! It’s a bit surprising that Weingarten wasn’t able to have more success with this location, but perhaps there were just too many other Weingarten’s in the area for all of them to be successful. With Braeswood Square being the shiny, new store and development by 1971, perhaps this was the location that was sacrificed.

    Weingarten’s loss was Foodarama’s gain though. This looks like a nice store and it is good to see this community has hung onto a full-service supermarket after all these years. With the closure of Belden’s, even Braeswood Square can’t say that, but the new GFS Store ought to come close to matching what a full supermarket has. With all of this in mind, hopefully Foodarama does not face any major hurdles that the few remaining independents have in keeping their stores open. The independents really do have a lot working against them, but hopefully Foodarama is established enough that the community will continue to support them.