Luby's, Fuddruckers to open in Victoria in 2015

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

May 20, 2014 at 12:20 a.m.

Retail Coach consultants haven't brought a Luby's to Victoria yet, but they are hoping to bring more businesses and restaurants to the Victoria area.

Retail Coach consultants haven't brought a Luby's to Victoria yet, but they are hoping to bring more businesses and restaurants to the Victoria area.

Two national food chains are returning to Victoria - but this time, under the same roof.

The businesses - Luby's and Fuddruckers - now owned by Luby's Inc., have submitted plans to the city of Victoria for a proposed location at 6806 N.E. Zac Lentz Parkway.

The project is still in the early phases of the building process and still needs approval from the city to continue, according to the city development office. Site and construction plans were submitted earlier in May.

Toni Niece, vice president of marketing for Luby's and Fuddruckers Restaurants, said the company is planning to build a dual-concept location modeled after its first dual location in Pearland.

After Luby's Inc. acquired the well-known burger restaurant in 2010, it opened the shared location.

The building will take up a total of 13,000 square feet and will include 10,000 square feet on the Luby's side and 3,000 square feet on the Fuddruckers side.

"We hope to begin construction in the summer with an anticipated opening in early 2015," Niece said about the proposed project.

The location will employ about 170 new team members, she said, including eight managers, to start the new restaurant opening, she said.

"We see fantastic growth and opportunity in Victoria and the community and felt it would be a perfect location to feature both our brands in a dual-concept location," Niece said.

Cindy Kizer, 51, remembers when Luby's operated in Victoria.

She said it was her husband's favorite place to get fried fish at the time.

"I was so sad for him when it closed," Kizer, of Victoria, said. "He'll be so happy it's coming back."

Tom Halepaska, owner of Halepaska's Bakery, said two restaurants will bring in some healthy competition in the area.

"More restaurants will be a positive thing for Victoria," he said. "More choices is a better deal. It's a free-market enterprise."

Halepaska's Bakery on John Stockbauer Drive was the original location for Fuddruckers, which was built in 1985.

The franchise venture was opened by Doyle Kolle and Dale Campbell on the corner of John Stockbauer Drive and Zac Lentz Parkway. However, it didn't last long as Fuddruckers, and Campbell reopened the business as GoodTimes Eatery, according to Victoria Advocate archives.

Halepaska recalls the business closing and an Italian restaurant opening in its place and then the building being vacant between 1988 and 1991 before he opened his namesake bakery there Nov. 1, 1991.

The original Luby's debuted in 1969 and was opened in the Town Plaza Shopping Mall off Airline Road by a management team consisting of Ralph Erben, Malcolm McKay and Irby Autry, according to Advocate archives.

The cafeteria-style restaurant moved its operations to Victoria Mall in March 1992, where it ended its almost 38-year existence in Victoria. Its final resting place was where James Avery Craftsman Inc. has been since 2008. According to Advocate archives, Luby's closed because its lease with the mall had ended.

It's all about choices, Halepaska said. With more options for dining in the area, Crossroads residents might find themselves leaving to dine in places such as Houston or San Antonio less often.

A few months ago, Halepaska visited the dual location in Pearland and called it an "interesting concept."

"We ate at the Fuddruckers side," he said. "We like Fuddruckers. They have good hamburgers."

Judith Tyler, 54, is excited about the Fuddruckers location. Victoria has enough buffets, she said.

She vaguely remembered the original burger restaurant but said it was a different time then.

"I think it will do better today," Tyler said.



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