Simmering speculation: A sizzling rumor that soul food restaurant Simp’s Kitchen plans an island return has some tasty truth to it.
Alfred Simpson, who in 2013 moved his popular Galveston restaurant to La Marque, confirms that his sister, Rita Allen, is considering opening an eatery on the island’s East End, 37th Street and Winnie at a former restaurant site.
Allen is the main cook at Simp’s Kitchen, 110 state Highway 3 in La Marque. Simpson plans to assist Allen in the planned island restaurant, which would have a menu similar to Simp’s. Allen hasn’t settled on a name for the proposed East End eatery, Simpson said.
After 20 years developing a loyal following on the island, Simpson in 2013 moved Simp’s Kitchen to La Marque, citing unresolved building issues at 2528 Broadway.
Simp’s Kitchen is known for Southern-style comfort foods such as short ribs, fried catfish and macaroni and cheese, among others. Before it moved to Broadway on the island, it operated for years at 2602 Ball St. Stay tuned.
House about that: It isn’t unusual on the island for large homes to be developed into small duplexes or apartments. But the opposite is occurring at 2015 24th St., where a developer is converting a fourplex into a single-family home complete with a pool, and stirring the curiosity of some readers. But few other details were available. Stay tuned.
Change of plans: Friendswood attorney and developer Jerome Karam has dropped plans to build condominiums at the old Falstaff Brewery site, 3303 Church St. on the island. Instead, he’ll build a storage facility, he confirmed this week. The climate controlled storage facility, which will be built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, will rise in the six-story building at the Falstaff site.
Karam, however, still plans to develop a 90-room boutique hotel in the 11-story building at the site.
The Falstaff Brewery building, constructed in 1905, changed hands several times before the brewery closed in 1981.
Karam acquired the dilapidated 313,000-square-foot brewery in June 2015.
Last year, Premier Parking agreed to buy 100,000 square feet of the property for cruise-ship passenger parking. Before the acquisition, Karam had transformed part of the Falstaff site into a 350-space, indoor-outdoor parking facility he planned to lease to the Port of Galveston.
But that deal sank over financial terms. The sale to Premier Parking provided Karam with revenue for the hotel and other commercial development, he said.
Bouncing buzz: Meanwhile, Karam is aiming for a late May opening of what he said will be the largest trampoline park in the United States. Karam owns the 50,000-square-foot Altitude Trampoline Park franchise, which, for more than a year, has been underway at Mall of the Mainland, 10000 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. Trampoline parks have seen in a jump in popularity with children, and adults incorporating them into fitness routines.
Karam with and out-of-state partner acquired the mall in 2015, and immediately began redeveloping it, luring in nontraditional mall tenants, including World Gym, churches and more. Stay tuned.
On the menu: Elsewhere in Texas City, readers and city officials are buzzing about this week’s opening of Edo Japan Sushi and Hibachi Grill, 2028 Ninth Ave. in the building formerly occupied by Blockbuster Video. The restaurant’s owners could not immediately be reached for details. Stay tuned.
Buzz blooper: A buzz item last week should have said that Fetching Lab Brewery is considering a site at 902 Ninth Ave. N. in Texas City.
Retail report: Look for more shops and services to flock League City’s way. Construction will soon begin on a 63,000-square-foot retail center that will mark the second phase of Marketplace at Ninety-Six on the corner of Hobbs Road and League City Parkway, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership reports. The first phase of Marketplace at Ninety-Six is anchored by the 123,000-square-foot Kroger supermarket — one of the largest in the state.
A full list of potential retailers wasn’t immediately available. But Pet Supermarket has leased 7,478 square feet at the Marketplace at Ninety-Six, the partnership reports.
Pet Valu and Pet Supermarket in July last year announced they would merge, creating the third-largest pet specialty retailer and the largest small-format, neighborhood pet specialty retailer in North America. The combined business is named Pet Retail Brands. With more than 930 stores, it would generate about $1 billion in systemwide retail sales across the United States and Canada, officials said.
What’s that? Meanwhile, all that activity at I-45 and FM 646 near restaurant Logan’s Roadhouse in League City is for a CareNow Urgent Care clinic.
Coppell, Texas-based CareNow operates 70 urgent care clinics across the nation. The clinics are open seven days a week and late, officials say.
Barging in: Look for an early June opening of Barge 295 in the former site of the Turtle Club, at the end of a pier on Clear Lake, 2613 E. NASA Parkway in Seabrook.
After 33 years, the Turtle Club, known as Lance’s Turtle Club, closed on New Year’s Eve. It was considered Texas’ oldest floating bar. Crews are completely renovating the building to accommodate Barge 295, which will serve adult beverages and gastropub fare, according to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. Stay tuned.