Medical checkup: The University of Texas Medical Branch has indefinitely put on hold plans to build clinics and facilities on an 11-acre site behind grocery store Randalls, which is on Central City Boulevard off 61st Street, officials this month confirmed.

Medical officials in 2013 announced plans for the first phase of development they called West Island Clinic, which would have encompassed 30,000 square feet. At the time, the medical branch’s biggest benefactor — The Sealy & Smith Foundation — through a nonprofit affiliate, had finalized the purchase of the parcel. The foundation acquired the land from island hotelier and businessman Sam Gandhi. Some observers wondered whether most of the land was wetlands. Through the years, and working with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Gandhi family has filled most of the site, making it readily developable, officials have said.

The foundation, which has for nearly a century made substantial financial contributions to the medical branch, also planned to pay for construction of the West Island Clinic development.

Medical branch officials projected a spring 2016 opening of the first phase. But as timed passed, and the medical branch focused on opening the $438 million Jennie Sealy Hospital on the island and continued its growth in League City, it delayed plans on the West Island Clinic. Officials also haven’t determined what services and clinics it would provide at the site. Stay tuned.

What’s that? All that dirt moving on the corner of 37th and Broadway in Galveston is for a 4,280-square-foot Shell gas station, city officials confirm. A Shell station already operates at 5027 Broadway. No word on when construction will be complete.

Behind the wheel: Some readers are asking about the Toyota franchise at DeMontrond Texas City.

“We sold the franchise back to Gulf States Toyota,” Melissa DeMontrond, an owner of DeMontrond Texas City, said.

DeMontrond Texas City, 3220 Interstate 45, wanted to focus on Chevrolet, Hyundai and its used-car super center, she said.

“That’s where the focus needed to go and it was a good parting of ways,” DeMontrond said. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad thing.”

Warranties will still be in effect, but DeMontrond will no longer offer Toyota factory warranty work on vehicles, she said.

“Some of our guests will have to look elsewhere, but we can do a lot of the same services,” she said. “We’re still here, we’re still in the community and excited about going forward with Chevy, Hyundai and our used-car super center.”

On the menu: A downtown Texas City restaurant has some appetizing developments.

Rigo Hernandez has taken over the ShyKatz Fork & Spoon, 902 Sixth St. N., renaming it Rigo’s Café. Hernandez has also added dinner to the menu on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Rigo’s Café already has a following for breakfast and lunch.

Hernandez had cooked for ShyKatz Deli & Bakery, 1528 Ave. L. on the island’s East End.

ShyKatz owners in 2014 bought the legendary Fork & Spoon Coffee Shop and renamed it.

Fork & Spoon dated back to the early 1960s, possibly the 1950s. But after the September 2013 death of Joseph Radler, who acquired the business in the early 1970s, the family decided to sell the restaurant.

Rigo’s Café serves burgers and other American fare and, under Hernandez, has increased Mexican cuisine options.

Pho sure: As promised, a Vietnamese eatery by the name Pho Banh Mi Bistro & Grill has opened in the space formerly occupied by Tex-Mex purveyor Don Julio’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, 1804 W. FM 646 in League City. Don Julio’s bid adios to the site in 2014. As the name suggests, the new restaurant specializes in banh mi, which are French-style baguettes spread with butter or mayonnaise and filled with charbroiled meats — including pork, chicken or meatballs — or lemon grass tofu and topped with such things as sliced pickled carrots, jalapeños and fresh herbs. The restaurant also ladles up a variety of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.

Look at this: Is Galveston overlooked as a tourist destination? Some travel industry observers thinks so. Travel guide book publisher DK Eyewitness Travel this week released a list of the “20 Most Overlooked Cities in America.” Chosen by DK’s in-house travel experts, the cities range from art-filled college towns to hip outposts in the desert that haven’t yet been trampled by tourists and should be on anyone’s “must-go” list for 2017.

Madison, Wis., was selected as the Most Overlooked City in America.

Sacramento, Calif., came in second.

Galveston ranked No. 9 on the list.

“The United States has many cities well-known for their arts, food and sports scenes, but there are a number of fascinating cities that deserve to be more fully explored, and that’s what we sought to uncover,” said Georgina Dee, publishing director of DK Travel. “Our list includes a broad mix of lesser-known cities with culinary appeal, historic neighborhoods, thriving arts scenes, and natural and historic wonders. All of these picks have so much to offer and are well-worth a visit this year.”

Wheel deal: A new car dealership plans to roll into League City. Find out which dealership and other automotive news in next week’s Biz Buzz.

Reach reporter Laura Elder at 409-683-5248 or

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