Can we call this a boom? Downtown Galveston is bustling as businesses expand or open new concepts.
Home to roost: First, businesswoman Alicia Cahill has completed the transformation of a 10,000-square-foot building she acquired last summer to house her popular store The Kitchen Chick, which sells tools essential to cooks, kitchenware and accessories, and offers popular cooking classes.
Cahill has upgraded and renovated the building — originally a furniture store and most recently occupied by the old Turf Club — adding midcentury modern touches to the building constructed in 1960.
The Kitchen Chick, nearing its sixth year in business, moved from a roughly 1,500-square-foot building at 528 23rd St., also in downtown Galveston.
Cooking classes have meant fast growth for the business and the new Market Street store was designed to create a larger and more flexible space to accommodate that, she said.
The new kitchen area can easily accommodate 30 people for private parties and allows for more participation. The new store also offers seating areas for class participants to enjoy their creations, a space for the culinarily disinclined to relax and enjoy a beverage and a separate children’s area.
“If you’re accompanying someone and you’re less into cooking, you can cool your jets and watch the world go by,” Cahill said.
Cahill was confident she could have chosen any part of the island and loyal patrons would have followed, she said. But she likes the renewed energy of downtown, she said.
“A lot of properties are changing hands and people are enhancing their businesses,” she said.
The building she chose was damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and had been vacant since.
“Maybe it was waiting for me,” Cahill said.
Captive audience: Who knew that locking people in a room would be a hot business trend? But escape rooms, where people must follow clues and solve puzzles to get out, are big and the second such concept is soon to open in Galveston’s downtown. David and Debbie Kirby have under contract a building at 2614 Market St., where they plan to open Galveston Escape Rooms.
“I love puzzling and did my first escape room two and a half years ago, and fell in love with it and knew I wanted to do it,” Debbie Kirby said. In the spirit of disclosure, David Kirby is press superintendent for The Daily News and plans to continue in that position.
Last year, Allison and Pat Little launched Escape The Island, 910 21st St. But there’s room for both, Debbie Kirby said. Most fans of escape rooms like to try different themes. Because of that, Escape Rooms Galveston will change its puzzles now and then to keep things fresh. The Kirbys are planning a May or June opening. Stay tuned.
Dishing it: Meanwhile, there’s more news about the restaurant concept island businessman Allen Flores is cooking up for The Strand. Flores plans to open Shark Shack, which he describes as a lively restaurant featuring seafood, burgers and booze in the building long occupied by Mediterranean Chef, 2402 Strand St.
“The theme is surfer/fisherman/beachlife-cool,” he said.
The concept will feature eclectic art, outdoor seating and daily drink specials, Flores said. On Sunday, when downtown parking is free, Shark Shack will offer an all-day Happy Hour, Flores said.
Shark Shack will join Flores’ other bar concept, Bliss, along with venues such as Bubba’s on The Strand, Brews Brothers and others in what’s becoming a bar block and entertainment zone downtown. Flores plans a spring opening of Shark Shack.
Stoked: Elsewhere downtown, Chris Deaton has opened The Vinyl Radio Skate Shop in the Galveston Telephone Building, 2606 Church St. The shop sells shirts, backpacks, shoes, LPs, skateboarding gear, Doc Martens, comic books, retro games and more. Yelp reviews have been strong, including this one: “Super rad people in a cozy little shop. Stumbled upon this gem by accident and I’m so glad I did, the owner was full of stoke for skateboarding, old vinyl and classic video games.”
Devil and the details: Finally, Devil and the Deep Brewery earlier this month opened at 2425 Postoffice St. downtown, but owners could not be reached for comment. Eric Walker, Chris David, Landers Weakly and art director Daniel Torres are behind the brewery and beer garden.
Groceries, gasoline: Look for crews Monday to begin renovations at the building that until recently housed souvenir complex Dolphin World, 8910 Seawall Blvd. Owners Shamsudin Kerawala and Imran Ali have acquired the building with plans to open Seawall Groceries, along with a restaurant, gas station and kite shop at the site. The business partners plan to attract a franchise to the restaurant space. John Schreiber of Deem Realty represented Kerawala and Ali in the acquisition. Look for Seawall Groceries to open in early spring.
Kerawala and Ali also own Sam’s Market Place, 8227 Stewart Road, a small market and gas station popular for its boudin.
And they own the soon-to-open Stewart Supermarket, which will include a full-service gas station, at 7428 Stewart Road on the island at the former site of Noah’s Service Center & Tires. Work is underway on Stewart Supermarket, which will likely open in about a month.
Sixth sense: An island eatery known for its breakfast burritos, barbacoa and Mexican fare is planning a food trailer on Texas City’s bustling Sixth Street. Joey Quiroga plans to roll a Bronco Burritos food trailer there if all goes as planned. What’s more, he plans to lure other food trailer concepts to the site, he said. And he’s considering a farmers market at the site. That plan is in the early stages, he said.
Bronco Burritos is getting around. Last year, Hans Parilla and his wife, Danielle, opened a Bronco Burritos food truck in Austin. They co-own the truck with Melinda Quiroga, who runs the island Bronco Burritos at 4917 Broadway. Bronco Burritos has been on the island since 1991 and is famous for the namesake burrito. Stay tuned.
What’s that? All that land clearing and fencing in the 2900 block of Interstate 45, just south of Carnes Funeral Home in Texas City, is for an 86-room La Quinta Inn, officials confirm.