Dishing it: Islanders have more lunch options. Rebecca Chavarria has opened Mel’s Blueplate Diner, 910 38th St. The eatery, open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, serves up authentic diner food and blueplate specials daily. Along with the daily specials, such fare as chicken-fried steak, chicken-fried chicken and desserts, including banana pudding, are always on the menu.

The diner is named for Chavarria’s sister Melanie, who died a little more than a year ago. For more than 10 years, the sisters had planned to go into business together. Although it wasn’t easy, Chavarria decided to move ahead with plans. She opened the eatery about two weeks ago, advertising mostly by word-of-mouth.

Planning to try Mel’s Blueplate Diner? It’s cash only for now.

Whopper of a wait: Could the opening of the long-awaited island Burger King be near? Pressed Monday about an opening date of the fast-food eatery, 5815 Broadway, developer Shoukat Dhanani emailed: “End of this month.”

Shoukat is developing a 3,600-square-foot convenience store and a 2,700-square-foot Burger King at the site. The eatery has been more than two years in the making and most recently was delayed when in February crews uncovered a drainage pipe that wasn’t on the city’s utility maps. The city determined the pipe had deteriorated and was in need of repairs.

Instead of repairing the entire 800-foot-long pipe, which runs from Broadway south of the property all the way to Avenue K, the city decided to install a 210-foot sewer system from the damaged drain to a working one north of Broadway. The City Council approved the emergency repairs, estimated to cost about $120,000.

The island’s last Burger King franchise closed in 2004. Stay tuned.

Ice breaker: Meanwhile, inquiring readers are thirsty for answers about the opening status of America’s Icehouse, underway at 622 Sixth St. in Texas City. Developer Scott Arnold on Monday didn’t have a specific date, but said he’s planning a soft opening “within a month.”

The bar, which is made up primarily of shipping containers and shade sails, will have a stage for live music, food trucks, outdoor games, movie screens and free Wi-Fi. And it will be dog friendly, Arnold said.

What’s that? A reader emailed: “A few of us are wondering what they are building on the end of the Dike Road in Texas City. First, they put a concrete foundation and then built a small wooden house on it. Now, they have put in more concrete for a foundation or something. Can you please enlighten us on the matter.”

Answer: The site was the home of an old dedication plaque for the concrete dike that runs along Bay Street, said Nick Finan, Texas City’s city secretary.

“That concrete dike or wall was built in the 1920s to prevent storm surge. Of course, we now have a levee system much higher,” Finan said. “However, over the years, the plaque that was on the wall in that location was slowly being covered by layers of asphalt, etc. The city removed it and has erected a concrete placement for the plaque on top of the wall. The plaque is the original commemorative plaque when the wall was dedicated that acknowledged the county and city officials.”

Palm reading: Elsewhere in Texas City, new tenants have opened in Three Palms Shopping Center, 8030 FM 1765, reports developer David Cottrell. Among the new tenants is Texas City Clinic, which offers primary care services. Dr. Catherine Fri Nformangum is the owner of the 1,621-square-foot clinic.

Meanwhile, Janice Weatherspoon has opened Brighter Day Arts & Events Center in 4,051 square feet of the shopping center. The center offers conference space for corporate America and also space for private events, including weddings. A major amenity is the sophisticated speaker system, Cottrell said. 

Biz Buzz

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

(7) comments


Thanks Laura, for finding information about the new bar in Texas City, America's Icehouse. I know they have been working on it for a while now. Sounds like they are putting a lot of attention to detail in it. Looking forward to the opening. Maybe it could be the turning point for 6th Street, and attract more investment and business to that area. Also, I've been trying to keep tract of the new amusement park to be built by the outlet mall, Adventure Pointe. No build date yet, but they will be announcing some of the rides soon. I hope the city, and county, work on fixing the traffic flow in that area. That will be a turn-off for people wanting to go to Bucees or the outlet mall this summer. And, any idea what is being built on the north-west corner of I-45 and Holland RD?

Steve Fouga

We'll check out Mel's for sure. If they have any healthy choices, we'll put it in our rotation.

George Croix

You mean like deep crusted chicken fried steak, double creamy mashed poatoes, both smothered in thick cream gravy, a side of fried okra, and big 'ol drop biscuits (No butter on the biscuits - that stuff's bad for you....[wink])? With, of course, a large Diet Coke, to keep the calories down.
For desert, another biscuit... [beam]

Steve Fouga

Nope, gecroix, that's not what I was talking about.

See, the Island already has dozens of places with chicken-fried steak, fried shrimp, fried catfish, bacon cheeseburgers, enchiladas, chips and salsa, pasta, eclairs, pies, cakes, ice cream, etc... These are the mainstays.

No, what I'm talking about is greens, green beans, salads, spinach, broccoli, etc. Grilled fish, grilled chicken...[rolleyes]

You know, for the once a month or so when we decide to be good, and give our arteries and waistlines a break.

If a new place doesn't have something a little healthy or at least a little different, it's mighty hard for it break into the rotation. [innocent][yawn][sleeping]

George Croix

But, I wear the same size clothes I did when I got married nearly 41 years ago, and am in excellent health.
Why mess with a winning, personalized, consumption strategy...[beam]
I don't mind some of that 'healthy' stuff (greens and spinach...blah...excepted...), and can stomach 'grilled' food if there's nothing else to eat.
I do draw the line at eating cut bait, tofu, bean curd (actually, it should be spelled with a T...) and other such gawshawful crap with all the nutrients and taste of a 6" section of bicycle tire innertube .
I give full credit to clean living, conservative lifestyle, and drinking enough Diet Coke to have all that acid eat any germs and extra calories before they cause any damage.
To each their own.
That's why DQ has more than one menu item...

Steve Fouga

Yes, a person should take full advantage of the choices we still have...[whistling]

Lars Faltskog

That's good, gecroix. For your sake, it's ideal to hold recommended weight. However, I have heard that even "trim" people can have health dangers, and not even know it. Especially if he/she still has rather high metablism and appears healthy and trim.

Thin doesn't necessarily equate to "healthy". I do think it's a battle that many of us continually fight - the concept of eating healthy the majority of time. Sure, one can splurge maybe once or twice a week on fast food (the new B King, blue bell ice cream for example). But, we generally need to stay with the baked fish, chicken, greens, veggies. We need to hold back on white bread, chips, white rice, potatoes. Almost anything "white" isn't good. And.......

Unfortunately, diet drinks are bad for us. I have to admit, I am guilty for consuming an array of them. But, study results say the artificial sweetners in diet soda can interfere with the body's normal response to sugar. Not only that, the acidity in the drinks are unhealthy for the teeths' enamel. [beam]

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