There is an old saying that every small town in Texas worth its salt has a Dairy Queen. Yours truly is about to arrive at the same conclusion regarding Allsup’s, a decades-old chain with stores in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. It recently opened its first location in Waco, at 315 S. University Parks Drive, filling a former pizzeria.
Waco’s version is an Allsup’s Express, a new concept the Fort Worth-based chain is giving a whirl. Another opened last year near Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The model runs about 3,000 square feet but sells no gas, its merchandise mix featuring cookies, candy, jerky, beer, energy drinks, lottery tickets, over-the-counter drugs, detergent, boiled eggs, frozen dinners, soda and chips.
It also carries Allsup’s burritos, which the chain describes as world famous. Allsup’s this year is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beef-and-bean stalwarts, even selling merchandise to mark the occasion.
People are also reading…
Judging by online exclamations and Facebook posts, it appears Allsup’s enjoys a cult following a notch below that of Buc-ee’s, the gold-plated beaver masquerading as a convenience store on steroids.
“Making eye contact with someone while taking a bite of your Beef and Bean Burrito is a form of intimacy we can’t explain,” says an Allsup’s Facebook post. OK, moving right along. Photos abound of young and old alike practically inhaling Allsup’s burritos or swooning under the spell of their deliciousness. Like locals who perpetually lobby for Trader Joe’s, Costco or Whole Foods, residents of far-flung outposts across the Southwest pine for an Allsup’s sighting or news of its pending arrival. Buc-ee’s would be proud.
Allsup’s even ships its burritos frozen to fans needing a fix. A company tout for the delivery service describes the product this way: “Made of delicious red chili beef, slow cooked beans, and a textured vegetable protein filling wrapped together in a handmade four tortilla. Made complete with a special blend of spices and an aroma of lightly spiced beef and beans.”
But a website, Mexicali Blue, wonders if Allsup’s salad days are over. A story posted in January suggests many fans are “wondering what the future holds for this beloved regional fast food chain.” It opined that food trucks and other burrito-hawking operations have exacted their pound of flesh. Allsup’s, it adds, has abetted its decline by adding salads and sandwiches to its menu.
Interesting take. Having never eaten an Allsup’s burrito, yours truly must reserve judgment before weighing in. How about you?
Stay Classy pause
Stay Classy Waco, the wine and cocktail bar at 723 Austin Ave., previously operating as Klassy Glass, has gone dark. For how long remains to be seen.
A note on the door Friday says: “Hi there! We will be closed for a couple of weeks to handle a few renovations and changes happening. Follow us on social media for more details and updates! MGMT.”
The establishment has created a following downtown with its drink specials, trivia nights, piano nights and live music performances.
The Texas Comptroller’s Office each year tries to find people owed money. This fiscal year it “approved and paid out a record $344 million in unclaimed property,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced in a press release.
“The record in unclaimed property returns tops the $309 million returned to rightful property owners in fiscal 2022, and it is the fourth time in the last five fiscal years the Comptroller’s Office has returned $300 million or more in unclaimed property,” the press release says.
The Unclaimed Property Division was even featured on a “Good Morning America” segment Sept. 25, according to the press release. It has returned more than $4 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since it began in 1962. The state currently is holding more than $8 billion in cash and other valuables.
Entitlement to unclaimed property is comparable to finding change under the recliner while vacuuming, but on a massive scale. The press release said the $344 million returned “in fiscal 2023 includes forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe-deposit box contents,” just naming a few examples.
The group redeveloping the old warehouse at 1001 Webster Ave., just blocks from Magnolia Market at the Silos, has moved far enough along in its plans to secure a building permit valued at $13 million “to remodel … into multiple lease spaces,” according to a permit description provided by the local Associated General Contractors of America newsletter.
LoopNet, a real estate listing site, says 21 spaces are available in this “unique retail concept with spaces of all sizes and concepts.” Built in 1898 and remodeled in 2006, the 54,294-square-foot structure was “originally built as the stables for the Anheuser Busch Ice House. It will be redeveloped and feature retail/restaurant space, a market retail hall, and a commons and event area,” the LoopNet description says.
Parking often emerges as an issue for downtown development.
“The site will have its own designated parking on the adjacent lot at the corner of 11th Street and Webster,” the LoopNet narrative says.
Developers include Wagboo Properties and Turner Brothers Real Estate.
Building permit roundup
Other building permits of note include one valued at $950,000 to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest to renovate an MRI room. The city of Woodway will spend an undisclosed amount to “repurpose a holding cell to a storage closet” at 920 Estates Drive, site of its administration building.
High school tennis
Tennis, everyone? Waco on Oct. 25 and 26 will host the University Interscholastic League high school Team Tennis State Championship, bringing budding stars, their families and significant others to the city. Specifically, the Greater Waco Sports Commission, the city of Waco’s Waco Regional Tennis Center and Baylor University’s Hurd Tennis Center will roll out the red carpet.
“This marquee event promises to showcase top-tier tennis talent from across the state and solidify Waco’s reputation as a premier sports destination,” according to a sports commission press release that also says the event “aligns perfectly with our mission of promoting sports that bring economic impact to our community.”
Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said in the press release he hopes attendees “have a memorable experience exploring our rich history and culture while enjoying world-class tennis.”