Category: Restaurants

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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Random Retail: An old Spaghetti Warehouse Reappears, Kmart Foods Depot, and Hartz’s Neon Extravaganza

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston HIstoric Retail! Today we’ll be taking a break from the norm for some Random Retail! In case you’re new here, not every photo I take is part of a post. However, I visit lots of places I visit are worth sharing but not enough to cover on their own. So today, we’re checking out a former Kmart turned Restuanrat Depot, a former Spaghetti Warehouse showing off its old colors, and finally ‘celebrating’ the return of Hartz’s buffet! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, or tense up and lay flat… I don’t …

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Retail News: Biglari is back! – The return of Steak N Shake to Houston

The great fast food hamburger debate has so many sides: loyal Texans stumping for local Whataburger, west coast transplants singing the virtues of interloping In-N-Out, those squares who like Wendy’s.  These sides have their merits, but I found my favorite fast food burger to be the midwestern-style steakburger, smashed flat with crispy edges, the cheese melted into the thin patty so completely that the two are practically an alloy.  Specifically (and with apologies to Kansas-based Freddy’s and their many Houston-area locations), I came to love the steakburgers from Illinois-founded Steak N Shake. While it has long been an institution in …

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Retail News: James Coney closes final inner-loop location, and provides some thoughts on the future

James Coney Island’s final inner-loop store shut down earlier this week. The news of the closure was quiet but shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for anyone who has been following the slow death of the chain. While JCI managed to hang on past the Millennium, it seems very little has been invested in the hot dog seller over the past 20 years. With locations stagnant and sales slipping, a 2018 initiative to push the chain away from Hot Dogs began. Local chef, Matt Marcus, was brought on board to help reimagine non-hot dog menu items, and a new name …

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Retail News: Final Vacant Carl’s Jr. buildings take on new feathers as Slim Chickens

Carl’s Jr. left Houston in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Down to just a few locations, and seemingly unable to find staffing over the past few years, Carl’s had a less than grand time in the Houston market. The chain had only been in the Houston market about 10 years before pulling the plug. Various locations have found one-off tenants, like a subdivided 24 Subway, or even Taco Bueno’s reentry into the Houston market. However, starting early last year, permits were filed for a single Slim Chickens location in a former Carl’s Jr. on S. Main, signaling …

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A&W and Long John Silvers, a match made in Louisville but now found in Austin

I can trace this location back to around 1976, the structure appears to have been rebuilt around 1992.

Howdy folks, and welcome to HHR! Today we’re taking a break from H-Town and its affairs to check out a now rare eatery, that was once a common combo in Texas. A&W and Long John Silvers. Today we’re skipping the formal stuff, and skipping straight to the nostalgia. Well, most of the formal stuff at least, a little bit of history first. The food franchising giant “Yum Foods” which famously operates KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, actually started off as a merger between two existing conglomerates. Tricon Global (which ran the three aforementioned restaurants and had been spun off …

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A Tour of Tomball Retail in 2000 and 1965

Welcome to Tomball in 1965! (Captured from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Loyal Houston Historic Retail readers may recall that a few weeks ago, we published a blog post showing screenshots from a YouTube video published by Dan Starr and filmed by his wife Amy that showed Tomball’s retail scene in the year 1998. Well, Dan has come through once again as he recently uploaded some video footage taken by Amy and her father in the year 2000. This footage, which was taken right after Y2K, shows some of the retailers from the 1998 video in greater …

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A Tour of Tomball Retail in 1998

Welcome To Tomball! (Captured with permission from Dan Starr)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Tomball might seem like just another Houston suburb today, but nearly a quarter of a century ago in 1998, Tomball was a bit of a distant place to visit even for those of us like myself who lived in the Northwest Houston suburbs in the Willowbrook Mall area. That said, I did visit Tomball quite frequently in the 1990s and through the turn of the Millennium period. Given that, what a surprise it was recently when I came across a video on YouTube posted by …

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