Who’s counting: Maybe it’s the milder climate or lower costs for retirees. Or maybe it’s the national draw of the University of Texas Medical Branch or Texas A&M University at Galveston. Perhaps it’s the energy boom and more jobs available in Texas City’s petrochemical corridor and the surrounding supporting industry. Whatever it is, Galveston County ranked No. 4 out of 10 Texas counties with the largest net gain in households from out of state. The county experienced an overall net gain of 1,082 households — 452 from out-of-state, according to the 2013 Relocation Report released earlier this month by the Texas Association of Realtors

Texas also experienced a net gain in households — with 10,326 more households moving into Texas than Texas households moving to other states. Williamson, Montgomery and Bell counties beat Galveston in largest gains in out-of-state households. But Galveston County beat Travis, McLennan, Waco, Hidalgo, Nueces and Bexar counties when it came to attracting out-of-state households, according to the report. The Texas Relocation Report is based on data from the National Association of Realtors 2012 Relocation Report and the U-Haul 2012 Relocation Report. The report analyzes data from the 44 largest demographic areas in Texas. To view the entire report, visit www.texasrealestate.com.

Residential rise: In other household news, the island’s real estate numbers are something to brag about. Read more about the rise of residential real estate sales in Thursday’s column. 

It’s a date: Discount grocer Aldi has set new dates for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the opening of its Kemah store, 222 FM 518. After canceling events planned for this week, the Germany-based grocer plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:45 a.m. Nov. 5 and an official public opening at 9 a.m. Nov. 7. 

The ribbon-cutting is open to the public. Visitors can sample exclusive Aldi brands, tour the new store and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win store gift certificates.

No-frills Aldi sells only about 1,400 of the fastest-moving products, mostly under its private label, for prices 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets. Aldi credits efficiency and cost-cutting measures for low pricing.

Hot dish: As promised, Sal and Pina Ruggieri last week officially opened the authentic Italian eatery Trattoria La Vigna, 420 20th St. in the island’s downtown. The Ruggieri family owns Lafitte’s Beat Gift Shop, 2115 Strand in the island’s downtown. But the Ruggieris are no strangers to the restaurant business. The couple at one time owned Italian eateries in Baytown and La Porte. Trattoria La Vigna is in the building formerly occupied by Que Cafe. The Ruggieris stay true to their culinary roots, so don’t expect Americanized spaghetti and meatballs, Sal Ruggieri said.

The eatery is open for lunch and dinner. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Mac morning: In other downtown dining news, Zack’s Mac Shack, 2219 Postoffice St., is serving homestyle breakfasts seven days a week. Patrons can get basic breakfasts of eggs, sausage or bacon, grits, potato or sweet potato hash, buttermilk toast, rye toast or buttermilk biscuits. Or they can build their own omelets or opt for big skillet breakfasts or sweet treats such as waffles and cinnamon French toast, to name a few items. The eatery, which opened earlier this year and is dedicated to many variations of macaroni and cheese based comfort dishes, serves breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For information, call 409-939-0584.

By the slice: Crews have begun interior work on what soon will be a Pizza Hut at 4908 Seawall Blvd. on the island. The space was formerly occupied by AT&T and is in the same center as Total Fitness, Olympia Grill and Subway, among others. The restaurant will offer a dine-in eatery to replace its 61st Street store. There’s no official word on an opening date. But crews are expected to complete the renovations in two or three months. Stay tuned.

Biz birthday: In clean trivia, Island Auto Wash, 2712 61st St., was busy its first year in business, an anniversary it  marked last week. The service washed 40,000 vehicles since opening, reports owner Archie Hart

Coming soon: What’s all that activity at 146 Roadhouse, 3435 state Highway 146 in Bacliff? And what are crews doing at the building formerly occupied by Luke’s Supermarket & Deli, 8027 Harborside Drive on the island? Look soon for answers in this column. 

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