Bank notes: In less than a month — Jan. 10. — Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America will withdraw its banking centers from the island’s downtown. But to the relief of some readers, Bank of America will continue to operate its ATM on Market Street.
The ATM status was in question when Bank of America in September confirmed the looming closures of its banking center at 2200 Market St. and a supporting motorbank at 2250 Church St.
The downtown operations will be consolidated at Bank of America’s 6109 City Central Blvd. center. In September, officials were negotiating to keep the ATM downtown.
Bank of America in 2011 announced it would close about 750 branches over several years in a bid to cut expenses and better accommodate changing habits, which include an increasing use of mobile and online offerings. Branch closures are evaluated each year based on such criteria as the volume of transactions and whether Bank of America has overlapping centers in markets. Bank of America in September said it would work closely with employees at the downtown centers, deploying some to nearby branches. So what will happen to the downtown sites when Bank of America departs? Stay tuned.
Oodles of noodles: Consumers can’t seem to slurp up enough of the Japanese noodle soup known as ramen. Ramen shops are mushrooming around the nation, including in Houston, and soon one will rise in Webster. Jim Wang, owner of popular chain Ichibon Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, is planning to open a Jinya Ramen Bar franchise at 18299 Egret Bay Blvd. in the Marina Gate Shopping Center. (Wang owns the Ichibon at 18206 Egret Bay Blvd. and one at 406 Texas Ave. in Kemah.) Ramen varies by region in Japan and in broth, flavors, toppings and noodle texture. Jinya Ramen Bar will serve “tonkotsu ramen,” made of pork broth infused with dashi (stock made from fish and kelp) and dried fish.
Here’s what the Los Angeles Times had to say about Jinya in a February article: “When it opened a scant three years ago, Tokyo import Jinya served the best ramen Los Angeles had ever seen: big, earthen bowls of pork-bone ramen, long, springy noodles soaking up just enough broth to become almost liquid themselves yet retaining a wheaty resilience of their own. Best of all was an intense Tokyo-style ramen, whose pork broth had been fortified with industrial quantities of dashi and dried fish, a broth umami-rich enough to make your tongue feel as if it had just run a half-marathon inside your head.”
No word on an opening date. Visit www.jinya-ramenbar.com for information.
Boudoir buzz: Meanwhile, Cindie’s, a retailer of clothing, lingerie, gifts and adult novelties, has moved into an 8,000-square-foot space at Bayway Village II, 20801 Interstate 45. Co-tenants include Blast Fitness, Dempsey’s Irish Grill, Israeli Self Defense, EmbroidMe, Mattress Firm and more. Cindie’s, which opened in 1994, has stores in Texas, Louisiana and Alaska.
More on Mooyah: So far, only a few more morsels are available about the departure of Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes, 300 W. Bay Area Blvd., in the Bay Area Shops in Webster. The eatery’s three-year lease had expired and the franchise owner chose not to renew, Karen Coglianese, economic development specialist for the city of Webster, said. Mooyah last week closed its Baytown eatery, 6405 Garth Road. And readers have questions about the Pearland store. It’s unclear whether those eateries were operated by the same franchisee.
Slice of nice: What is clear is Mooyah’s Webster space won’t be vacant for long. Slices and Ices, a restaurant specializing in New York-style pizza by the slice and Italian ice, has leased the 1,793-square-foot space.
Coming Tuesday: Look Tuesday for more retail and restaurant reports about Webster, along with some information about all that activity at the former Agee’s Drug Store in Texas City.