End of era: A legendary Texas City eatery is serving up its last meal Saturday.

Fork & Spoon Coffee Shop, 902 Sixth St. N., has long been a fixture and a meeting place for groups and friends.

Generations of families have walked through the doors. The restaurant, famous for homestyle meals, dates back to the early 1960s, possibly the late 1950s.

Joseph Radler acquired the business in the early 1970s. Radler died in September, and it became more difficult for his wife, Ruth, to continue working at the restaurant. Their daughter, Ruth Ann Alsup, and her husband, James, own the business. But since Joseph Radler’s death, it hasn’t been the same, Alsup said.

“It was a big loss,” she said.

Ruth and Joseph Radler were such a big part of the restaurant.

“They were down here every day,” she said.

The original restaurant was down the street, but was damaged by fire in 1975, leading to the new location. In 1999, the Radlers sold the eatery, but the family bought it back a few years later.

Among the most popular dishes at Fork & Spoon are the chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and turkey and dressing. The desserts — coconut meringue and chocolate pies and bread puddings, to name a few — also kept customers coming back all these years.

Many Fork & Spoon regulars said this week they were planning to dine there Saturday.

Ruth Ann and James Alsup, who retired from Marathon, plan to spend more time with family. She said she and her family have appreciated the support of patrons throughout the years. And there’s a possibility the restaurant can be saved. The Alsups said they hope someone buys it and keeps it going. Stay tuned.

CAT coup: Heavy machinery and industrial equipment dealer Mustang CAT likes to position itself where the development is. So, with all the action in the north county, the Caterpillar dealer has snapped up 3 acres in Brittany Business Park near Butler Road and state Highway 96 in League City.

The company plans to build a 7,500-square-foot industrial facility there. Mustang CAT officials, however, haven’t decided whether the League City operation would include both equipment rental and sales, or whether the new location would replace the La Marque branch, 2223 Interstate 45. The La Marque location offers only equipment rentals.

“We’re still in the design phase,” Kurt Hanson, general counsel for the Houston-based company said.

Proximity to road construction and rapid development makes League City an ideal site, Hanson said.

“There’s better access headed back to the east toward the refineries; it will make getting back over there a little easier,” Hanson said. “La Marque is pretty far south for us.”

Still, a small component of the La Marque operation could remain open to complement the League City site, Hanson said. With 17 branch locations, Mustang CAT serves 35 counties throughout Southeast Texas.

Dishing it: Tiempo means time in Spanish and everyone will have plenty of it to build an appetite as they wait for El Tiempo Cantina to finally open in Webster.

Earlier this month, El Tiempo’s corporate Facebook posted this about the Webster opening status: “Due to certain construction related issues beyond our control, the Webster El Tiempo opening will most likely be delayed until later this fall.”

Houston restaurateur Domenic Laurenzo had hoped to serve up a May 1 opening of the much-awaited eatery underway at 20237 Interstate 45. But minor construction issues have interfered.

Officials have not returned phone calls. But it’s safe to say El Tiempo has much on its plate.

There are five El Tiempo restaurants in Houston and another expected to open this month at Westheimer and Gessner.

Laurenzo is the grandson of Maria Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo, also known as “Mama Ninfa.”

Ninfa’s Restaurants became one of the most well-known Mexican restaurant chains in Texas and are credited with launching the fajita movement in Houston.

El Tiempo Cantina has differentiated itself from Ninfa’s by using different meat marinades and rices and offering different dishes. And the price points are higher. Want to talk about it? Visit Buzz Blog, www.galvnews.com.

(5) comments

DonnieB

Laura,
It's sad to see that Fork & Spoon is leaving. But, seeing how they have made other peoples lives enjoyable and not had time for themselves (I would assume), it's time they enjoy their lives and do things that make them happy. Hopefully they sale it to someone that will keep it up and running and clean on the inside and outside, like it is now. Good luck to the family and thank you!
On a different subject, about the now old Blocker school in Texas City. I'm curious what the city has decided to use it for. This may not be for you to write about since it's not a business, but it would be nice if someone could dig for some news on it. A suggestion I would have, is to talk with COM and see if they would offer their dual-credit courses for current Texas City high school (and any other schools) students taking them and have them use the old Blocker for the classes. Then maybe they could have more access for other high school students to take the dual-credit courses too. They could even offer more advanced dual-credit courses like PTech classes or nursing or whatever. Just a thought I wanted to pass on, that and I live next to it. I'd rather see it be an advanced school, than a school for kids that don't want to be in school.

Carlos Ponce

Donnie B, "No firm plans have been made for the current Blocker campus at 400 14th St. N., but school officials are looking at converting the district’s oldest campus into a regional high school industrial and vocational training campus that could include students from across the county." T.J. Aulds / The Daily News Posted on February 1, 2011 at 9:24 AM
Plans may have changed since 2011.

DonnieB

I do recall a few months ago seeing some engineers, or architects, walking around by the old Whataburger with some plans. I think a school official was with them. Guess they were trying to get a visual of proposed work. Hopefully it happens. It would definitely get used.

Doyle Beard

exactly where is the old whatburger

Andy Aycoth

Best food intown !OMG!

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