Sneak peek at Steak ‘n Shake
Photo by John DeLapp

Hamburger day: It’s a juicy day for premium burger fans. First, Fuddruckers makes its island return at 11 a.m. today, 111 23rd St. downtown, and just in time for Mardi Gras. Last last year, Peter Tropoli, COO of Luby’s Fuddruckers, announced plans to open the eatery on the first floor of the Armour Building, which Mitchell Historic Properties owns. It’s the same place Fuddruckers, a casual-dining chain, was operating in 2008 when Hurricane Ike flooded its building. At the time, Landry’s Restaurant Group owned the island Fuddruckers franchise and never reopened it. 

In 2010, Houston-based Luby’s acquired the Fuddruckers chain for $61 million. Standup comedian Carlos Mencia opened Maggie Rita’s Mexican Grill & Bar in the island Fuddruckers spot. But that concept bid adios earlier this year.

Wait is over: Meanwhile, after months of waiting, Steak ‘n Shake serves up its newest franchise, 20971 Interstate 45 in Webster, at 10 a.m. today. The new Steak ‘n Shake caused a stir when crews completed the building last year, but the 96-seat restaurant sat empty for months. Owner Anil Mohammed had planned to open in August, but said he delayed the opening to ensure he had the right staffing in place. 

The Indianapolis chain, which marks 79 years in business next month, is known for pioneering the concept of premium burgers and milk shakes. Steak ‘n Shake left the Houston market decades ago but has an aggressive re-entry plan through franchise contracts.

Where there’s smoke: Other highly anticipated eateries also opened this week in Webster and on the island. On Monday, Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke opened at 19901 I-45. The concept falls into the breastaurant genre, serving up barbecue via scantily clad waitresses. 

Lotz of love: On the island, long lines began forming Tuesday morning for the opening of Schlotzsky’s, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon franchises under one roof at 500 Seawall Blvd. in the Piazza Blanca Shopping Center. Did you give it a try? Give us the scoop at Buzz Blog,

Bank notes: Texas City-based Mainland Bank is seeking to branch out with a first location outside the county. Officials didn’t return phone calls, but the community bank with two branches — one in Texas City and another in Dickinson — has filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to establish a branch at 24 E. Greenway Plaza in Houston. Established in 1945, Mainland Bank has $93 million in assets and about $84 million in deposits, according to bank trackers. If approved, the branch would mark Mainland Bank’s first move into Houston. Stay tuned.

What’s that? Inquiring readers want to know about all that digging on property next to Shipley Do-Nuts, 5401 Broadway on the island. The answer isn’t so exciting. City officials said the work is for the removal of underground fuel tanks at the site of a former gas station. Owners of the property must remove the tanks to comply with codes, city officials said. Property owners have no immediate plans to build anything new at the site, city officials say.

Winter breaks: Fans of Boudreaux’s on the Bayou, 6310 Heards Lane on the island, were concerned to find the eatery closed recently. Owner Ray Caballero reports Boudreaux’s is closed for the season and will return in March. This is the first time Boudreaux’s, known for seafood, burgers, gumbo and crawfish étouffée, has taken a winter break. Boudreaux’s, however, is available for private events, Caballero said. For information, call 409-744-2111.

It isn’t unusual for some island eateries to hibernate in the winter months. Cafe Michael Burger, 11150 San Luis Pass on the island’s West End, also closed for the season but is expected to return some time in February. Stay tuned.

Biz Buzz

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to

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