Former Big Kmart, Mercado 6

Around 2000 my family moved to the far west side of town. Getting from the loop area out to where we lived wasn’t an easy task. Your choices were basically either Westheimer or Richmond Avenue. Alternatively you could use highways like I-10 or 59. All of your options were linked by Highway 6. Driving up and down Highway 6 in the early 2000s was an incredible thing. One of the stores I would often pass was the Big Kmart at 7355 Highway 6.

Having a Big Kmart nearby was awesome, the variety of items they carried was incredible. At this point there were no Walmart locations on Highway 6 from I-10 to 90-A, save for a small non-super center location at Highway 6 and Beechnut.

Originally opening in 1992, this location closed in either 2001 or 2002. Likely due to a bankruptcy filing. I recall it sitting vacant only for a little while. It was almost immediately converted into its current use, a flea market.

Portions of the building have been converted to other uses. The indoor section of the garden center is a bookable event hall, and the out door portion is used as a patio for food trucks.

Aside from the front doors, all external access has been gated and locked. Including the loading bay.

Something interesting to note is that the Kmart sign is not used by Mercado 6, but rather an old billboard was purchased and converted to use as a sign.

As you may have noticed in the last photo the parking lot is quite lively in terms of new businesses. While the Flea Market looks dead in comparison, this is only due to the fact that it’s only open weekends. My next goal is to come back out and capture some interior shots.

What’s Going on at the former Fuddrucker’s on Kirkwood

I moved recently! I relocated from the center of Houston, closer to my job on the west side of town. During one of my many trips moving things back and forth, I noticed a recently closed Fuddrucker’s at 2475 S. Kirkwood . I had been to this location a few times, when I was child. My parents had at that time also moved to the west side, and we would “meet in the middle” for lunch with my grandparents. We would sometimes go to Le Peep, often Luby’s, and every once and a while, this Fuddrucker’s.

Walking up to the building didn’t elicit any direct memories. I could make out that there was writing on the windows, but other than that the black paint did such a bad job of hiding the logo it looked like it was just faded out.

A close up of the awning shows that the logo still shines through. In addition to painting the awning, the sign on the building was removed, and the road sign was also painted over. Coming closer to the door revealed a Construction Permit.

This location was sold August 24th, and closed 4 days later. However, the permit still lists Luby’s Fuddrucker’s Restaurant as the occupant. The permit is for demolishing interior walls.

Upon looking into the restaurant, the interior walls had obviously been demolished, but many things were left behind. Including most of the kitchen equipment. This leads me to believe that this Fuddrucker’s may be coming back.

Even though looking at the building from afar didn’t bring back any memories, this rear dining room did. Specifically the awesome sloped roof! Along with the exposed HVAC equipment.

Coming to the back of the restaurant, it was obvious that people had been working. The lights and fans were all on. Also worth noticing is that not only were appliances and fixtures, like this sink were left behind. Things like flatware, prep containers, and even dish washing supplies stuck around.

This building was constructed in 1983, however Fuddrucker’s did not move in until 1988, or if they did I can’t find any mention of it. I’m relatively sure this back dining room replaced a patio. My indications were the door frames in the walls, the separate slabs, and the need for a separate A/C system as seen in the next photo.

Moving on from the wonderfully industrial HVAC equipment, some corner booths were left behind. I’m not sure if this location ever received the “full remodel” that many other Fuddrucker’s locations received. However, these round booths were generally the only thing left after one was finished. If Fuddrucker’s isn’t coming back it would be a little strange that these are still here.

Looking at the rear dining room, it makes the theory that this was an addition even stronger. Including the exterior A/C units. There was a relatively large rear parking lot. Also noticeable in the picture, is a rear door.

Taking one final look at the building, it really seems like this was a converted building. It’s a nice restaurant, and it doesn’t seem like Fuddrucker’s is leaving for good. Hopefully they either come back to this building or Luby’s tries out a new concept here.

Checking out a former Cici’s Pizza in the shell of an old Burger King.

First off, welcome back loyal reader(s)! I’m sure there’s gotta be at least two of you. Sorry for the delay in updates, but I’ve been extremely busy lately. During my recent hiatus I continued to take photos, and I’m only now working through the backlog.

One of these photo sets was taken during a visit down S. Post Oak. I’m always interested in this part of town due to the history of the canceled Bay City Freeway. One of Houston’s few canceled freeways. On this trip, I found a former Cici’s Pizza which was obviously a reused fast food restaurant.

The Cici’s lineage was especially easy to make out thanks to the lablelscar at the top of the building. While, I could tell that something had been there before, I had trouble figured out what it was, mainly due to the addition of what looks like space for an indoor playground. Generally I can tell from something like a sign, but this sign proved to further the mystery.

Although a bit difficult to make out in the photo, the interior space was obviously part of the entire dining room by the point Cici’s vacated. They likely demolished the playground, and separating wall.

The next thing I noticed, was these half covered doors. The doors had obviously been welded shut, but the hinges were left on. Making this a bit harder to remove in the future.

The Drive-thru looked like it had possibly remained in service. This wouldn’t be the first Cici’s I know of to utilize a Drive-thru window for a pickup service.

From this angle, you can finally make out what restaurant used to be here. It was very obviously a 70s a Burger King. The single Drive-thru window with a canopy, the short mansard roof with the red ring, and what would have been the side entrance.

Houston’s vegetarian friendly restaurants from 1995

Well after an impromptu hiatus I am glad to say I’m back. The post I’m bringing you this time is not picture based, but rather text based. Sometimes when researching things, you go off on a tangent. Most of the time this leads to two half written articles. However, this list what too interesting not to post. I found the following list, heavily heavily buried, while looking for On the Border Grill and Cantina’s original locations. I have decided to repost it, to help preserve it. The list looks to have been originated on Usenet, which was a group newsgroup which predates the modern internet. The full list can be viewed here. I have made some edits and additions to the content, which are represented in bold font.

Houston
——-

Vegetarian Restaurants:

Wonderful Vegetarian Restaurant, 7549 Westheimer (at Hillcroft),977-3137
– Vegan. Chinese Buddhist. Kosher. Very highly recommended. The only vegetarian restaurant in town. Many of the dishes may be too meat-like for some.
– Under new management in Summer of 1994. Menu is supposed to be revamped with an emphasis on healthier food.
-Closed some time after 1996

Anand Bhavan, 6662 SW Frwy, 977-0150
– Indian vegan. North and South Indian foods. Open 10am-9pm.
-Renamed “Shiv Sagar” in the 2000s

Quan Yin Vegetarian Restaurant, 10804-E Bellaire Blvd, 498-7890
– Lacto-vegetarian. Vegan-friendly. Run by a religious organization, The International Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Association.
-Still open as of 2018, not sure about the religious connection however.

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants:

The Hobbit Hole Cafe was originally located at 1715 S Shepherd Dr
Photo Source: Keith Christensen YouTube Video

Hobbit Hole Cafe
– Rumored to be once all-vegetarian. Many dishes are lacto-vegetarian that can be easily made vegan. Also several vegan dishes. The black bean nachos are incredible. Special bonus is the Tolkien-related decor and recipe names.
-Still open, confirmed that the first 10 years of operation were with a completely vegetarian menu.

A Moveable Feast, 3827 Dunlavy (2202 W. Alabama?), 528-3585
– Macrobiotic restaurant. Casual, upscale. Innovative cuisine. Brunch on weekends.
-Was known as more of a Health Food Store, according to this article.
-Located at 2002 W. Alabama from 1989 until company’s bankruptcy in 2001. Was located at 3287 Dunlavy (now demolished former Weingartens) prior to that.
-Another location at 9341 Katy Fwy is still open as of 2018.

Whole Foods Market, 2 locations:
2900 S. Shepherd, 520-1937
11145 Westheimer Road, 784-7776
– Natural food store with small restaurant attached. Vegan friendly. Great salads and entrees. Highly recommended.
-2900 S. Shepherd was the first Houston Whole Foods, and the first outside of Austin. It was located here from 1984-2001, when it moved to its present location of 2955 Kirby.
-11145 Westheimer was the second Houston location to open, it operated from 1991 until 2016 at 11145.
-In 2016 the store moved across Wilcrest taking over the former Randalls at 11401 Westheimer.

Baba Yega
– Kinda like the Hobbit Hole but less veg. Serves a veggie burger.
-Still operating at the same location has continuously been in business since 1975.

Hungry‘s International, 2356 Rice Blvd, 523-8652
-Opened in 1975 as Hungry’s International Sandwhich Shop, has since renamed themselves to simply “Hungry’s”.
-The first location was in the Montrose Area, with the Rice Blvd. location opening sometime before 1995.
-Another location is open at 14714 Memorial Drive

The original hallway which Souper Salad replaced at Montclair Mall
Photo Source: Briscoe Center for American History

Souper Salad, 5460 Weslayan, 660-8950
-This chain slowly left the Houston City Limits, with only 2 left in the Metro area as of 2018.
-This location closed in the early 2000s.
-It filled in a what was originally a walkway in the Weslayan Plaza/Montclair Shopping Center

Star Pizza, 2111 Norfolk, 523-0800
– Have veggie pizzas.
-Still open (and popular) at the same location!

Macrobiotic Center, 2815 Garrott, 523-0171
– Not a restaurant, but caters vegetarian food.
-No longer in business, no details available online
-Was possibly run out of an apartment?

Seekers Natural Foods and Vitamins, 4004 Bellaire, 665-2595
– Natural foods store with 90-item salad bar. Includes organic produce. Vegan options on menu. *VRG
-Seekers went bankrupt in 1999.
-Location was purchased by and still operates as a Whole Foods.

On the Border, 2 locations:
9705 Westheimer, 977-9955
4608 Westheimer, 961-4494
– Mexican. Grilled vegetable fajitas. *VRG’;
-Both locations closed in the early 90’s. The company would try Houston again in the early 2000s.
– The 4608 location operated as Sullivan’s Steakhouse for a few years, and was demolished in 2018.
-The 9705 location 

Bombay Palace, 3901 Westheimer, 960-8472
– Indian. Daily buffet has vegetarian options. [Is it vegan-friendly?]
Open daily for lunch and dinner. *VRG
-Moved in 2000 when lot was cleared for Central Market.
-Relocated right across the railroad to 4100 Westheimer.
-Eventually closing in 2005, being replaced by Kiran’s.

Empress of China, 5419 A FM 1960, 583-8021
– Chinese. Vegan-friendly. Exquisite. It doubles as a routine Chinese restaurant for lunch and at night transforms to one of Houston’s most elegant, word of mouth, high cuisine restaurants with extensive wine selection. Scott and Mae Chen provide wonderful atmosphere. Mr. Wong’s kitchen staff are versatile and it’s far, far cleaner than my compulsive pathologist wife and I can keep our kitchen at home. Call in advance and arrange business meetings or banquets. Can match the appearance of continental east meets west flavored and decorated dishes so you can take non veggie guests for a gentle introduction to veggie food in a wonderful setting. Truly culinary ART! Does exquisite vegetarian banquets on request. I’ve studied Chinese food for 20 years and I can’t begin to touch the art of preparation I’ve seen this kitchen routinely turn out for the past two years. Open Mon-Fri from lunch to 10pm, Sat dinner. Closed Sun.
– I have an inkling this place may not have been as good as the original author claimed. It was out of business prior to any modern internet listings.

Red Pepper Restaurant, 5626 Westheimer, 622-7800
– Chinese. Many unusual vegetarian (vegan?) options. Open daily. *VRG
-Still open, still serving many vegetarian options.

Asian Restaurant, 3701 Weslayan, 850-0450
– Chinese/Vietnamese. Separate vegetarian menu. Vegan options. *VRG
-Can’t find any info on this one.

Guilin Chinese Cafe, 4005 H Bellaire, 661-1963
– Chinese. Some vegan options. Counter service. *VRG
-Can’t find much info online, other than the fact that it closed.

Thai Pepper, 2049 W. Alabama, 520-8225
– Thai. “Best Thai food in Houston.” Accommodating staff. *VRG
-Still there and highly regarded!

Paddy Thai, on Westheimer
– ‘Vegetarian’ in Thai means ‘substitute tofu for flesh’. Be sure to insist on no fish sauce or other animal products.
– Closed sometime between 2005 and 2009.

Health Food Express, Bayou Park Club, 4400 Memorial Drive, 861-2800
– Natural foods. Food delivery business supplies a week’s worth of food. Lunches at cafe itself Mon-Fri. *VRG
– So far as I can tell they changed names to Epicurean Lite and discontinued cafe service.

Natural Foods Stores:

Whole Foods Market
– An excellent chain of grocery stores. Not entirely vegetarian, but lots of good stuff veggies look for. Excellent selection of organic produce.

Seekers Natural Foods and Vitamins, 4004 Bellaire, 665-2595
– Natural foods store with 90-item salad bar. Includes organic produce. Vegan options on menu. *VRG

The Pig Stand

The Pig Stand was supposedly the first chain to ever offer, drive-in service. Fort Worth was home to the original location, eventually expanding to Houston by location number 7.

Kmart Pointe West

I found this image while researching other properties. I figured it would be worth identifying for the sake of prosperity.

Rehosted from http://ainbinder.com/projects/developed/past-projects/pointewest-shopping-center/

This photo is of The Big Kmart at 333 S Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450. It was located where Mason meets I-10. This location is now a Fiesta. The entire building is dedicated to Fiesta, with the exception of the Garden Center which is now a gym. The Fiesta opened in April of 2008.

The Closing of Luby’s

So Luby’s, like many other Cafeteria chains hailing from the 1950s has experienced many woes over the years. The largest was the bankruptcy that nearly killed the company. I came across a list of locations which closed during the 2003 bankruptcy proceedings. The close date for all Texas locations was March 31, 2003 all locations outside of Texas closed April 3, 2003. The list illustrates the breadth the chain once had reaching from Tennessee to Arizona.

A Luby’s in Nasvhille shortly after closing.
Photo Credit: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/14079152/1501-Gallatin-Pike-North-Madis…/

 

City and State Address
Dallas, TX 2377 Stemmons Trail
Dallas, TX 12230 Forestgate Drive
Greenville, TX 7600 Wesley Street
Sherman, TX 3113 Highway 75 North
San Antonio, TX 4300 Thousand Oaks Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 980 West Pioneer Parkway
McKinney, TX 920 North Central Expressway
Irving, TX 2250 Walnut Hill Lane
Tyler, TX 2829 West Northwest Loop 323
Mesquite, TX 24315 L.B.J. Freeway
Garland, TX 3255 Broadway Boulevard
Arlington, TX 701 North Watson Street
Orange, TX 4040 IH-10 West
Houston, TX 6704 Highway 6 South
Lewisville, TX 2401 South Stemmons Freeway
Fort Smith, AR 6201-A Rogers Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 601 West Bell Road
Tucson, AZ 7140 East Rosewood Street
Mesa, AZ 1404 South Longmore Street
Glendale, AZ 5285 West Bell Road
Oklahoma City, OK 3800 North MacArthur Boulevard
Tulsa, OK 115 East 15th Street South
Tulsa, OK 3140 South Garnett Road
Memphis, TN 5240 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 6705 Winchester Road

 

In addition I also found a shorter list of locations that had closed prior to the March 31, 2003 date.

 

Amarillo, TX (closed first week of March) 2101 South Coulter Drive
El Paso, TX (closed first week of March) 7825 North Mesa Street
Fort Worth, TX (closed March 24) 7624 Grapevine Trail
Albuquerque, NM (closed first week of March) 4710 Montgomery Boulevard
Nashville, TN (closed first week of March) 1501 Gallatin Pike North

Northwest Mall June 2017 Update

Northwest Mall closed the interior of the mall March 31st, 2017. It was a sad and unexpected occasion. I made a final visit to the mall to try to talk to some of the shop owners. I found that everyone was unaware of the closure, until Mid-March, and for the most part lacked concrete plans of where to go or what to do next.

Once the mall closed, the interior sat untouched for a few months. During May the exterior doors were walled off and covered. With the exception of, The entrance near The Post Oak Club, which had a wall built further  back, and a door installed to accommodate entrance into the interior of the mall. The entrance near Chapa Club, the former movie theater, had a similar recessed wall built to accommodate the building’s interior emergency exit.

All stores with exterior access have remained open. The Antique Center of Texas, former JC Penny, closed their gate to the mall, and it has been walled off. Including a plastic covering to prevent dust getting into the store. Palais Royal, has not covered any of their windows or entrances.

The Food Court as viewed from Palais Royal

 

Zooming in on the doors, the original “Entrance A”.

 

A shot of the Macy’s Wing through the Palais Royal gate.

 

A view of the JC Penny’s Wing.

 

A Final Panoramic View of the mall.

 

As you can see little to nothing is going on. There are some construction dumpsters out front, which are loaded up. However only time will tell if Northwest Mall’s revitalization will actually be put into place. If interested you can find the rest of the album and higher resolution photos here.

Micro Center Map

Quick Post, to share what I found. A map of the original Micro Center location!

While not a high-res image, it should help to kick-start a few memories. This is an earlier map from the late 90’s. It includes things which were removed and closed off, such as the separate gaming store, and training rooms.