Category: Restaurants

Demolition Watch: McDonald’s on Main Street, could we be getting an automated location?

Howdy, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re covering a topic that has had social media in a frenzy. The infamous Main Street McDonald’s is coming down. If you’ve never humbled yourself with a visit to the lowliest burger joint this side of the Pecos, well, you may be out of luck! For those unaware, the McDonald’s at 2017 Main Street has quite a reputation. Situated just between the Greyhound Bus Station and the Pierce Elevated section of I-45, this McDonald’s has seen it all. From robberies to homicides, from poor service to “traveling salesmen,” this store has …

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Retail News: Krispy Kreme Closes Katy Location

The choice of this as the cover image is for your Jason!

In our second doughnut-related news piece in a row, Krispy Kreme closed their Katy location sometime last week. The store, which was at 1815 Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450, is part of a larger retreat of the company from Houston. The chain returned to Houston in 2015 after a rogue franchisee lost their license in the early 2000s. The comeback has been marred with issues from unfinished stores to running the locations through multiple operators. In 2020 for unknown reasons, corporate took over operations of the remaining Texas franchisee. Earlier this year, four locations, 2 in Dallas and 2 in …

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This failed Hartz’s Concept Restaurant has worn many hats

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today we’re doing a deep dive into a restaurant space on the Westside that can’t seem to keep a tenant. The space started out as the second location of El Papo, a small chain along the Northwest side of Houston. While far from being the first Tex-Mex chain in Houston, El Papo was pretty early on the Northwestside first opening in 1977 and making it up to three locations by 1985. However, around this time, bigger chains like the now-vanishing Casa Ole were taking the area by storm. El Papo would declare bankruptcy …

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Shoney’s Houston Experiments from Church’s Chicken to Cheap Pizza

An unknown Shoney's location in 2009. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a trip down a rabbit hole that starts back in the late 80s. We’ll talk about how Shoney’s presence in Texas has evolved over the years and what the future holds for a company that no longer operates any of its namesake restaurants within our state. To start, here’s a bit of history on Shoney’s. The company was started by the West Virginia franchisee of the Big Boy brand, Alex Schoenbaum. Originally named the Parkette Drive-In, the stores were renamed Shoney’s Big Boy after aligning with Big Boy. …

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Retail News: The Coney Cruiser prepares to bring JCI back inside The Loop this Wednesday!

The Coney Cruiser

Good news for James Coney Island Fans! Houston’s oldest purveyors of hot dogs will be back inside the loop for at least a few hours this week. The location Coney Cruiser Food Truck will be parked outside of the former James Coney Island location at S. Shepherd and Richmond Ave on Wednesday, November 16th. The food truck will be open for lunch from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. The truck will serve a pared-down version of the original restaurant’s menu.

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Retail News: James Coney Island continues to shrink as Westheimer location closes

James Coney Island closed another location earlier this month, this time, it was their Galleria outpost at 5745 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77057. This leaves Houston’s oldest restaurant chain with a paltry 10 locations. The chain had about 20 locations as of 2020. So far, most locations that have closed have been redeveloped. The Westheimer location is no exception, with permits filed by Artisan’s Restaurant to demolish the building. The structure is actually original to Steak ‘n Shake, which operated from 1976-1978 before selling most of its locations to Grandy’s. JCI would move in here in 1983 and become a …

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Layne’s in Cinco Ranch gets a new neighbor, Halal Guys!

Layne's is using the old Main PDQ entrance

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, we’re back in the Cinco Ranch area, visiting the former PDQ once again. For those who don’t remember, PDQ was a purveyor of all things Chicken. The company, which expanded out of Florida, was similar to Chick-Fil-A but a bit more ‘homemade.’ The large multitude of sauces were all prepared on-site and delivered in hand-sealed plastic containers, the chicken was very lightly breaded, and you could also get Cheerwine. Houston received our locations, a combo of franchised and corporate-owned stores, in 2015. The expansion into Texas consisted of six stores, …

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Retail News: Krispy Kreme Closes two Houston locations

This past week, Krispy Kreme suddenly and unexpectedly closed its two Houston-based locations, 5603 Hwy 6 N, Houston, TX 77084 & 8611 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063. These closures come after years of spotty operation, with multiple changes between franchisees. Long-time Houstonians may remember that Krispy Kreme’s first go in the Houston market ended in 2006 after litigation with their franchisee. Krispy Kreme vowed to come back, and by 2013 were shooting for 10 Houston stores over the next 5 years. The first two stores would not end up opening until late 2015 and would end up being the only …

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The History of Twistee Treat’s Freeze and Thaw Cycle in Houston

The W. Tidwell location took over a former Sonic, I used to visit when I worked in the area

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Ice cream is an essential summer treat, and for such a warm state, we lack a major presence from most frozen dessert chains other than a few ice cream parlors. We do have Dairy Queen, but unlike many other states, which feature mostly ice cream, and little food, our model is flipped. Utilizing an expanded Brazier menu, which became so common, the Brazier moniker was dropped in Texas around the 80s. For years, Texas has been the “wild west” for anyone looking to expand the concept. For those not in the …

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Krispy Shipley, this doughnut shop had quite the rebellious teen phase

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail.  Today we’re at 12403 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077 taking a look at a doughnut shop that has been host to quite a few tenants in its time. Even now, as a Shipley Do-Nuts location, this store still stands out from others in the chain. This building was originally built by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as their first Houston location. Work started in 1998 on this combo store/commissary, which would ship doughnuts and other goodies to grocery stores, and gas stations across Houston. This first Krispy Kreme location would also be able …

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