Moveable feasts: Here’s a tasty tidbit for mainlanders who’ve long hankered for a restaurant to return to the space formerly occupied by Ryan’s, a buffet and steak concept that closed its 2310 FM 2004 store in Texas City in February 2016.

City officials last week confirmed rumors that owners of Lee’s Oriental Buffet, formerly at 3501 Palmer Highway — a site now occupied by Baytown Seafood — plan to open a new Chinese buffet called Yum Yum Chow at the Ryan’s building.

The Searcy family, who owns the popular Golden Corral, 6200 Seawall Blvd. on the island, had at one time considered opening the steak and buffet concept at the Ryan’s building, but put the idea on the back burner to focus on opening restaurants in other markets. No word on an opening date for Yum Yum Chow. Stay tuned.

Getting warmer? In March, Samy Rehem projected he was about four weeks from opening Coastal Grill, 1827 Strand in the island’s downtown. The restaurant isn’t open yet, but is very close, a man answering the phone at Rehem’s other Galveston business, Sammy’s Foodmart, said last week. Crews are making the finishing touches on the kitchen, the man said.

Crews weren’t at the site when Biz Buzz drove by Thursday, but a photographer a few weeks before dropped in and found the restaurant near ready to open, with staff testing food and preparing the bar. Rehem at the time said he was hoping for a November opening.

The city issued a certificate of occupancy on Nov. 5, officials said. Coastal Grill has been under construction for well more than a year. The 160-chair restaurant will serve seafood, steak, lobster tails, burgers, kebabs, gyros and more, Rehem said in a previous interview. Tourists are welcome, but Rehem wants to appeal to locals, he said. To do that, he’ll serve quality food minus “tourist prices,” he said.

Rehem formerly owned and sold eight Orient Café restaurants, including one in League City.

Catch of the day: Meanwhile, another restaurant, after much anticipation, has finally opened, adding another fine-dining concept to the island’s downtown. After more than a year of renovation, and, more recently, a series of preview dinners to test service, Vargas Cut & Catch by Paco officially opened last week in the island’s downtown. The restaurant has been highly anticipated because of who’s behind the concept — Juan and Denise Vargas, and their father, Paco Vargas. Paco Vargas owns the highly successful restaurant Rudy & Paco, 2028 Postoffice St.

Vargas Cut & Catch by Paco, 2102 Postoffice St., which replaced the popular bar 21, serves dinner and offers steaks and seafood.

What’s in store: More retailers are headed to League City.

Officials with NewQuest Properties last week confirmed plans to break ground — possibly by the end of this month — on a second phase of Marketplace at Ninety-Six, a 208,500-square-foot retail center at state Highway 96 and Hobbs Road. The development’s second phase, on the south side of state Highway 96, will include Ace Hardware and Dollar Tree, which have each leased 10,000 square feet. A liquor store is in the works for the remaining 2,700 square feet, NewQuest said.

“We’ve submitted for a permit to the city of League City, and as soon as we receive approval we’ll mobilize and start work,” Jarod Andrews, a project manager at NewQuest Properties, said. ”Hopefully, we’re starting before the end of the month.”

Meanwhile, Banfield Pet Hospital has leased 2,859 square feet in the first phase, which is anchored by a Kroger grocery store, for a veterinary clinic. Stay tuned.

On Authority: The University of Texas Medical Branch is still bullish on League City. City officials confirm the medical branch will move into the 42,000-square-foot space retailer Sports Authority left in 2016. Medical branch officials did not immediately respond to questions. Rumor has it the medical branch intends to offer primary and geriatrics services in the space.

Englewood, Colorado-based Sports Authority, after filing bankruptcy in 2016, announced it would commence liquidation sales at its 2620 Interstate 45 store in League City in Victory Lakes Town Center, on the northeast corner of I-45 and FM 646.

The medical branch already operates a hospital at 2240 Interstate 45. That League City campus offers inpatient and outpatient care, medical and surgical specialties, after-hours urgent care and a 24-hour emergency department. The medical branch also has a large presence not far away in Webster, where it will lease the nine-story hospital building formerly occupied by Bay Area Regional Medical Center through at least 2033. That building will be renamed UTMB Health Clear Lake Campus.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

Managing Editor

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