Incoming restaurants such as Hunky Dory, Bernadine's, and Hugs & Donuts aren't the only spots looking to make their mark along the rapidly transforming North Shepherd corridor in the Heights. Texas Cafeteria is closing after 50 years to make way for new at least two businesses in the space at 2400 N. Shepherd Dr.
"We are planning on a very modern facelift for the building, and hope to be marketing space very soon," says Glenn Clements, Jr., the CFO of local real estate firm MFT Interests, which recently purchased the property. Pauline Koumonduros, who originally bought the cafeteria with her husband George in 1965, told the Houston Press that she planned on enjoying their retirement once Texas Cafeteria is completely cleaned out, which should happen soon. "They are leasing the space back for 30 days to move out," says Clements.
When the Koumonduros family purchased Texas Cafeteria half a century ago, it was little more than a shambles. "The minute I walked in, I freaked out," Pauline recalls on the restaurant's website. "Here was this place with dirty counters, eight bar stools, four tables and chairs, four booths on one side." Over the next five decades, Pauline and George transformed the space—with help from a loan via her uncle, making it a truly family affair—into a beloved institution serving breakfast and lunch nearly every day starting at 6 a.m.
Although the strip center that houses Texas Cafeteria received a slight remodel a few years ago, the faux stone and stucco exterior capped with Texas-style stars began to look dated almost as soon as they were installed. When this new remodel is complete, Clements reports, MFT Interests hopes to find a new restaurant to go along with it that can fill the cavernous space inside. "We would love to find a restaurant tenant for about 3,000 square feet, and will have another 3,000 square feet for retail space that can be divided up into two spaces."
Meanwhile, just a few blocks down the street, construction on Hunky Dory and Bernadine's—the two newest restaurants from the Treadsack restaurant group that also owns Down House and D&T Drive-Inn—is proceeding swiftly, with both planning openings in the near future as the rebranding of N. Shepherd Dr. into a destination restaurant corridor continues apace.