Hot dish: Islanders are serving up spicy but undercooked rumors that Pappasito’s Cantina is considering opening a restaurant in the site of the former Nonno Tony’s Seafood Kitchen on Pier 21 in Galveston.
But representatives of Mitchell Historic Properties, which manages the restaurant space among others at Pier 21, didn’t return calls or emails. Neither did Houston-based Pappas Restaurants, which owns Pappasitos, among other concepts, including Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.
Some restaurant industry insiders speculate island-born businessman Tilman Fertitta, chairman, CEO and sole owner of Landry’s Inc., might tolerate a Tex-Mex concept like Pappasito’s, but wouldn’t stand for a Pappas seafood concept such as Pappadeaux on Pier 21, where Landry’s operates a Willie G’s Seafood & Steaks.
Pier 21 has two restaurant vacancies to fill. Nonno Tony’s Seafood Kitchen, a former concept of Galveston Restaurant Group, closed in December 2017 after five years.
In early April, Olympia Grill closed. Stay tuned.
Patty meltdown: The closure last week of Whataburger, 2411 Palmer Highway, inspired panic among some fans of the iconic Texas restaurant chain. But it was temporary and the Texas City restaurant was scheduled to have reopened by Friday.
“Whataburger is committed to providing an exceptional customer experience to the Texas City community,” the company said in an email. “As part of that commitment, we needed to add a new kitchen floor to our restaurant at Palmer and 25th Street.”
Whataburger said it looked forward to serving customers again as soon as it could.
Transparency: Did anyone else notice the plywood crews last week put atop the United States National Bank Building in the island’s downtown? Crews installed the temporary mockup to allow state and federal organizations to determine whether a glass wall would diminish the visual effect of the historic building, 2201 Market St., island architect David Watson said.
A glass wall is planned to surround a rooftop event center at the 12-story building, where developer Hadar Goldman plans 64 luxury apartments, street-level retail and a wellness center.
The glass wall is meant to block the wind at the rooftop event center, but must be approved by the National Park Service and Texas Historical Commission, organizations that regulate preservation practices.
To give the service and the commission perspective of the glass wall’s visual effect, Watson and team last week planned to video record the plywood mockup from the corner of The Strand and 22nd and from 20th and Market streets.
They will present the video to the park service and historical commission in a conference call and wait for feedback. If the agencies don’t approve, then Goldman, who has said he’s committed to honoring the building’s history, will regroup and adjust plans for the building’s rooftop, Watson said.
Alfred C. Bossom with Sanguinet, Staats & Hedrick was the architect of the building, completed in 1925 and known for its dark granite base, smooth limestone facing, tall arched windows separated by Corinthian pilasters and a clock face above the pediment-capped corner. Watson rehabilitated the building in 1990.
Frost Bank will continue to lease the second and third floors of the building, while Kempner Capital Management will remain on the 12th floor, Goldman said.
Meanwhile, the exterior construction elevator arrived last week. That elevator also is temporary, Watson emphasized.
A franchise first: They love food. They love Hubcap Grill. So, it seemed fitting that islanders Frank and Teffeny Caruso would become the first franchise owners in Hubcap Grill history, last week finalizing an agreement to take over operations of the downtown Galveston location, 2021 Strand.
The Carusos became fans of Hubcap Grill when Ricky Craig in 2012 opened his first burger joint in Houston, creating a sensation and cult following.
The agreement is significant when you consider Craig, who has grown the chain to five restaurants, has always worked alone, rebuffing requests to franchise the concept until now.
“I’m a solo person; I do everything myself,” Craig said.
But growing Hubcap Grill, which specializes in hand-crafted burgers, calls for franchising, Craig said.
“I want to grow the company and open more locations, but I can’t do it by myself.”
Hubcap Grill is successful because quality is consistent at each restaurant, Frank Caruso said.
He and Teffeny intend to maintain the quality for which the restaurant is known, they said.
“I think my biggest challenge is to maintain that level of excellence,” Frank Caruso said. “I can’t let him down.”
Minding manors: A $10 million development that will include 50 assisted living beds and 32 for memory care is planned for Friendswood on Thomas Trace Road near FM 528 and San Joaquin Parkway, reports the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. Thomas Manor Assisted Living and Memory Care will feature a three-story, 62,700-square-foot building. The memory care facility will be 20,000 square feet. No word on an opening date. Stay tuned.
Coming soon: Another downtown Galveston building is soon to get a major makeover, while potential buyers eye the historic Trueheart-Adriance Building, 212 22nd St. downtown.