Random Retail: Foodarama Follies, Vintage BK at night and Wok D’Lite!

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today, we’re taking it easy as we slide into Thanksgiving with another Random Retail! Even though my last Random Retail wasn’t that long ago, I feel I should key new readers in. These Random Retail posts are photos that were taken without a post in mind, but I still feel they are worth sharing. There’s not much to say story-wise with most of these, but sit back, relax, and watch the color pictures fly through your screen!

Let’s start off at the former Foodaram on Ella. This building is no stranger to HHR readers. Originally, a Safeway and an Eckerd side-by-side, by the time Foodarama was involved, the building was merged into one. Rumors of this store closing date back to the mid-2010s, when the Eckerd side of the property was sold. While Foodarama held on here a bit, they eventually closed up shop. Since selling the property in 2021 and closing for good in early 2022, the building has sat vacant and mostly untouched. In early 2023, a banner proclaiming a Trader Joe’s would open on the site by the summer. However, this was apparently an inside joke by neighborhood members. At this point, the future of the building is uncertain.

Here we have some photos of the combo Burger King Exxon at 99 and 59. This gas station is part of the Handi Stop chain, which was one of the first chains (at least in our area) to experiment with adding national fast-food chains to regular gas stations. The concept proved popular, and Handi Stop ran with it. This store was an early BK at a time when the company was experimenting with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Express, and TCBY. BK would win out, and this monstrous playground remains looking much like it did 20+ years ago when it opened. You may recognize this location as the subject of my “retail remnants” post on Facebook a while back.

Finally, we have Wok D’Lite in Pasadena. I’ve been trying to come to Wok D’Lite for some time now! This location is one of a few remnants of a Broken Chain in Southeast Texas that I honestly can’t say I know much about. A Pasadena reader had told me that this restaurant was still very “old school,” operating much like it did when it opened, and that the food was delicious. Well, I have to say, you were right on both points! The restaurant was tiny, and despite the fact that you could easily see into the kitchen, the cashier used a delightfully retro mic and speaker to call out my order. The food was not only delicious but cheap as well. The egg rolls were also handmade and gigantic. I have nothing but glowing things to say about Wok D’Lite and will need to return at some point! If you know anything about this chain leave it in the comments below!

Well, folks, that about raps it for HHR this week! What did you think of this edition of Random Retail? It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get out and take more photos than I can use, so I slacked off for a while. However, I think we’ll continue to see more Random Retail posts as excess photography permits. Is there something you’d like to see covered in Random Retail? Or do you hate the concept altogether? Let me know!

One comment

  1. I can’t tell you for certain how long that Wok D’Lite in Pasadena has been there, but it’s a long while. There used to be a barber shop right next to it that my dad took me to when I was a boy back in the ’70s. That distinctive logo sign of the Wok D’Lite is one of my earliest memories. I have always had what the ancient Greeks used to call “method of loci” — i.e., I can remember details of locations in vivid detail (even if I can’t remember where I put my car keys) and create specific mnemonic associations with those locations. It’s really hard to describe, but if you have it you know what I mean. Anyway, I cannot remember a time when that restaurant was not there. Heck, in the 1970s it probably would have been the only Chinese-style restaurant in Pasadena!