Saloon soon? Owners aren’t talking, but there’s some evidence the building formerly housing The Reef Seafood House, 1301 31st ½ St. in Texas City, soon will be home to Stagecoach Saloon & Restaurant,
Benjamin Earl Rice, a principal in the venture, didn’t return repeated calls, but has applied for a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, according to legal notices.
The Reef Seafood House long was a popular Texas City eatery. Owner Jerry Bulgherini began working to sell it a few years back and came very close to a sale to Darwin Wilson, owner of La Brisa Mexican Bar & Grill in League City and Bacliff, in May 2020. But on closing day, Wilson walked away from the transaction, citing uncertainty about the pandemic, which was causing serious industry disruption at the time. Stay tuned.
Tequila shot: As one restaurant prepares to open, another has closed. Tako N’Tequila, 220 Gulf Freeway S. in League City, posted this Nov. 9 on social media:
“We have officially closed our business. Thank you for all the love and support.”
Owners couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but Interstate 45 construction might be partly to blame.
“We definitely made a lot of mistakes but construction didn’t help. We tried, life goes on!” the company said in replying to a disappointed fan.
The restaurant, which in late March moved into the former BrewWingZ space, served all manner of tacos, along with fajitas and other Mexican cuisine and an array of tequilas, mezcal, specialty cocktails and margaritas.
Chef Ron Campos at the time said he planned to put a fresh twist on tacos. No word on Campos’ next culinary venture. Stay tuned.
Double take: After more than a year of talk, there’s a lot of action among automated car wash companies seeking to roll into the island market.
First, has anyone else noticed all that fencing around Island Auto Wash, 2716 61st St.?
Katie’s Express Car Wash has acquired the property and plans to start updates to the building and equipment next week, the company said.
Biz Buzz followers might remember earlier this year Robert Petrie, whose family owns Katie’s Express Car Wash, confirmed the company planned a car wash at the old Tony & Bros Wrecker Service building near 59th Street and Broadway. That’s still true. The company is finalizing acquisition of the Broadway property and plans to start work on it early next year.
Petrie earlier this year also promised to win the race among several automated car washes seeking to serve the island.
Katie’s Express Car Wash, which began in Arlington in 2016, has grown to have locations in nine Texas cities.
Barbie Tucker with Etheredge Real Estate represented Katie’s Express Car Wash in the 61st Street transaction.
Island Auto Wash owner Archie Hart didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. Despite business disruptions, inclement weather, employee shortages and a fleet of competition headed his way, Hart earlier this year told Biz Buzz he was determined to hang on. Hart in 2012 opened Island Auto Wash in the space formerly occupied by The Ritz Car Wash.
Crunch time: Meanwhile, crews this week made rubble of a small strip center at the southwest corner of 61st Street and Heards Lane that is the future island site of WhiteWater Express Car Wash.
Officials with WhiteWater Express, an automatic drive-through car wash business with various levels of service, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about timelines.
But the company so far hasn’t appeared to be in an all-fired rush. Tenants of the strip center in September last year said they had known for months about having to vacate to make way WhiteWave.
Clean scene: Katie’s Express and WhiteWater will have competition. Howie and Renae Bentley, who own Classic Auto Group, plan in 2024 to open Island Style Car Wash, 8126 Broadway, on the corner of Harborside Drive and Broadway, long home to boat dealer Ron Hoover Marine.
Island Style Car Wash will be an automated drive-conveyor tunnel car wash, much along the lines of WhiteWater and BlueWave Express, which earlier this year acquired the vacant building formerly occupied by Simp’s Kitchen and year ago by a Dairy Queen, 2528 Broadway. Buzz still is chasing status updates on BlueWave.
Fond farewell: When Biz Buzz announced in October a Houston firm had acquired the nearly 60-year-old Queen’s Bar-B-Q, 3428 Ave S., Sandy Kerzee and family didn’t get a chance to formally say goodbye to loyal longtime patrons.
Kerzee wasn’t able to respond to Biz Buzz inquiries at the time, she said.
But she called this week to bid farewell and thank everyone who supported Queen’s over the years.
“It’s such a hard thing to do — to leave the family business after 57 years,” she said. “We have so many devoted customers.”
Kerzee wanted to tell those customers she hasn’t forgotten them, she said.
“I wanted to let them know I love them and appreciated them and will definitely miss them and that’s the absolute truth,” she said.
The Creek Group, which operates popular bars and restaurants in Houston, finalized acquisition of Queen’s in October. The company plans to introduce its style to Galveston, but doesn’t plan to be too heavy handed, owners said at the time.
Kerzee, who often could be seen chatting with customers at Queen’s, is adjusting to retirement and enjoying time with family, she said.
Palm reading: Texas-based Wan Bridge this week held an open house and launch party at its soon-to-open Palm Bay Galveston, a build-to-rent concept new to the island.
Palm Bay Galveston will feature 94 three- and four-bedroom, three-story townhomes for lease ranging from 1,600 to 1,800 square feet. The single-family communities are designed with an island aesthetic. The townhomes aren’t short-term rentals. Leases are at least for a year and monthly rent ranges from $2,750 to $3,275 based on floorplans, availability and features.
The development is just west of Waterman’s Marina on the shores of Lake Como; it’s model home is at Stewart and 13 Mile roads.
Build-to-rent developments are gaining popularity as rising home prices and the inability to save for down payments keeps potential buyers out of the market, according to industry trackers. Empty nesters also are attracted to the cohesive single-family rental communities.
The economy was a different animal when Wan Bridge announced plans for the development more than two years ago. But inflation, soaring mortgage rates — the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 6.92 percent, according to Freddie Mac — might be a boon to Palm Bay, Wan Bridge officials said.
“As with most build-to-rent builders and operators, we expect to see demand increase as prospective residents are weighing the decision to finance a home with lower purchasing power than they had last year or pay rent on a newly built home that offers a hassle-free lifestyle,” said Kristina Chervenka, vice president of operations at TBD Management, Wan Bridge’s property management arm. “‘Hassle free’ refers to the fact the residents don’t have to worry about having cash reserves to pay for major appliance repairs, major mechanical issues, or something as simple as changing the lightbulbs.”
Management handles the maintenance of the homes, lawn care and offers a preventative maintenance program.
“We have already seen current residents at other communities renew their leases while waiting to see what happens to interest rates,” Chervenka said.
Palm Bay Galveston is seeing high demand and expects move-ins next month, the company said.
Turkey time: Hospice care for pets? Read about that and much more when Biz Buzz returns Dec. 3. Happy Thanksgiving.