Earl Ables Razed

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aliciatapp
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Earl Ables Razed

Postby aliciatapp » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:03 am

San Antonio, Texas-- Earl Ables an icon to 50's retro was torn down-- Loved that diner

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nichols
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Postby nichols » Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:50 pm

What a crime
ImageImage
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmel/67660 ... t-1460317/


Earl Abel's to go

Web Posted: 11/16/2005 08:09 AM CST


Sanford Nowlin
Express-News Business Writer

Earl Abel's, the 72-year-old San Antonio restaurant known equally for retro decor and retro cuisine, likely will close its doors early next year to make way for a decidedly modern high-rise condo development.

Development group Koontz McCombs quietly put the Alamo City institution, located just north of downtown, under contract late this summer and could raze it as early as January to make way for a proposed 25-story, 80-unit condo tower, owner Jerry Abel said.

The developer wants to start construction on the 2.4-acre property, at the busy intersection of Broadway and Hildebrand Avenue, early next year and finish by 2008.

"Everything just came together perfectly," Abel said of his decision to end his restaurant's successful run.

"This building is old. I'm old. So, with that in mind, the proposal from Koontz McCombs made so much sense."

The developer still needs to gain zoning changes before it can build, and the height of the building may provoke opposition from neighbors.

The sixty-something Abel wouldn't discuss financial terms of the deal but said he's "tired" of operating the restaurant his father started in 1933. Abel grew up working in the family business and has served as its president for 20 years.

Theater organist Earl Abel opened his first namesake eatery on North Main Avenue after the Great Depression put him out of work. He later opened a handful of other locations, including the Broadway restaurant — the chain's sole survivor.

Earl Abel's fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade pies have sustained generations of customers from thrifty downtown workers to Alamo Heights bluebloods....

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/ ... 78811.html

Dustyman73
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Postby Dustyman73 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:59 pm

Neat looking place. It's a shame to see it go.

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Lynxwiler
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Postby Lynxwiler » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:02 am

It is (was) gorgeous.

aliciatapp
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Postby aliciatapp » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:43 am

"Earl Abel's fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade pies have sustained generations of customers from thrifty downtown workers to Alamo Heights bluebloods...."


Amazing fried chicken

The waitstaff were great looking oldtimers--Very similar to the delis in NY


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Nathan
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Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:53 am

Cool building...and look at that neon! That font! If I owned a streamlined house I'd put that signage on the roof (t'heck with my local zoning!)...somebody please tell me that neon didn't end up in the dumpster.

pgharchfan
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Earl Abels

Postby pgharchfan » Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:20 pm

I've forgetten all of the quotes that they had on the wall, but this one springs to mind:

"Eating keeps you able. Eating here keeps Earl Abel."

I was counting on having some fried chicken on a business trip to San Antonio in November. :cry:

googie2525
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Postby googie2525 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:10 pm

More quotes:

Our Clock
Will Never
Be Stolen
The Employees
Are Always Watching It

The Reason A
Dollar Won't Do
As Much As It Once Did, Is,
People Won't Do As Much For A Dollar
As They Once Did!

Seville Dar Dago
Tousin Busses Inaro
Nojo Demstrux
Summit Cows In
Summit Dux
(here's the translation:
See, Willie, there they go
Thousand buses in a row
No, Joe, them's trucks
Some with cows and
Some with ducks)

Eat Here
And
Diet Home

It Was A Brave Man
Who Ate The First Oyster

Its (sic) Tough To Pay
$1.25 For A Steak
But 50 [cent] Steaks
Are Tougher

Eating Good Food
Keeps You Able
Eating Here
Keeps Earl Abel

fyi, earl abel's has re-opened on austin highway, albeit in a bland strip mall, the original signage has been affixed to the exterior, and I heard they're going to install the original large neon out front. i haven't been by yet, but I hear business has been slow, which is a shame, but i suppose it just isn't the same. i need to go by though.

makes me sick every time i drive past the ruins. i still just cannot believe they actually tore this landmark down. what next...the alamo?

googie2525
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Postby googie2525 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:15 pm

Eatery served up lots of memories

Rosemary Barnes
Express-News Business Writer

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, the Earl Abel's lunchtime routine looked like it had the last 65 years.

A steady stream of patrons, ordered chicken fried steak, thick Abel burgers, crispy fried chicken and lemon meringue pie.

They laughed and chatted with Jerry Abel, owner and president of the restaurant, as he helped his busy staff serve lunch. They waved to his daughters, general manager Karen Murray and day manager Carol Abel.

And they remembered.

"We have such a good time," said regular Polly Srubar, 83. "We show off our newest photos of the grandbabies. Talk about what's new in our lives and reminisce. Earl Abel's is part of us, and we're part of it."

It's difficult to imagine this friendly, family-oriented cornerstone of San Antonio culture disappearing overnight to make way for a high-rise condominium development. But that's exactly what's being planned for the landmark at Broadway and Hildebrand Avenue.

U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez, who grew up eating at the restaurant and now eats there regularly when he's home from Washington, said news that Earl Abel's might be torn down was "heartbreaking."

"Earl Abel's is truly a San Antonio institution," Gonzalez said in a telephone interview. "The staff there has watched three generations of many, many families grow up before their eyes. It's been a political meeting place for six decades. There's not a single political leader in this city who hasn't signed off on major issues while having breakfast at Earl Abel's."

Gonzalez said the end of the Earl Abel's will be met with sadness throughout San Antonio, like the death of a dear friend. "This is something that represents this city that will change forever and will be gone."

Srubar had little to say upon hearing that the venerable restaurant might be razed.

"I object!" Srubar exclaimed.

Srubar isn't a lawyer. She was eating with a group of retired registered nurses who worked for San Antonio School District. They've been dining monthly at Earl Abel's since 1983.

"Where will we have lunch?" she asked her friends.

Like thousands of other longtime customers, 61-year-old Terry Jesse has coveted memories of her favorite San Antonio restaurant. It's where she and her friends got together after their senior prom at Jefferson High School.

Confronted with the news Monday that the restaurant might soon be gone, Jesse was at a loss for words.

"This is a very sentimental place for me," Jesse said. "I don't know how to react to this. But at least I will have some wonderful memories of spending time with family and friends at Earl Abel's."

Jerry Abel said he realizes that the restaurant is a San Antonio institution. But Abel, who will only admit he's in his 60s, said he knows the building hasn't aged well and needs extensive repairs.

His staff is aging, too. Most have spent the bulk of their lives working at Earl Abel's. Over the last 18 months, three longtime employees died.

"Each death was hard to go through," Abel said. "As the owner, I had to ask myself how many other longtime employees I want to see die. They all work so hard. They're so devoted to the business. This is a way to go out gracefully."

Most of all, Abel said he's simply tired of running the popular restaurant. He started working there as a fountain boy at age 15 and never stopped.

"It's a family-owned and operated business in every sense of the word," Abel said. "When it's time to sell and move on, you know it. It's time."

googie2525
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Postby googie2525 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:15 am

okay, finally went by for lunch yesterday. happily, the place was quite crowded. the new owners said business has really picked up recently. they were also installing the old classic neon sign up near the street as i was eating - HURRAY! as for the great old wall plaques, they were all hanging over the kitchen area! btw, the food was great as per usual, tasted just like i remembered, must have the same food vendor and cooks from the old location. also, they have salvaged the old tables and chairs and lots of the familiar "royal" wall art adorn the walls. i still miss the old location though...damn jerk red mccombs!

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nichols
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Postby nichols » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:18 pm

What?! They have relocated?
I thought he closed because

"...The sixty-something Abel wouldn't discuss financial terms of the deal but said he's "tired" of operating the restaurant his father started in 1933..."

What is the new place like? New construction? Whaaaa??

googie2525
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Postby googie2525 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:15 pm

Well, in a nutshell, the name (and a few fixtures, tables, etc.) was sold and a "new" Earl Abel's was set up about a mile away in a strip mall. Same food, the funny wall plaques are up, and most importantly the cool neon sign is now up. I mean, the exterior ain't "Googie" by any stretch of the imagination, but it's cool that someone is trying to carry the name on. I'll be eating there for lunch Friday -I love those bland-as-hell enchiladas!

Oh yeah, it's just across the street from classic drive-in eatery, the Bun N' Barrel! Now, THIS place has remained unchanged since the 50's, great burgers, but few customers everytime I swing by, but I'm pretty sure they own the land, so whatever $ they make is pretty much gravy...and it's pretty safe to say that Red McCombs wont knock this down for high-priced condos any day soon, as it's on Austin Highway, across the street from several crack motels, which is a blessing in disguise!
Image

Image
Image

Oh yeah, here's an article from a month os so ago that gives more detail about the new owners, etc.:

New owners plan to nurture Earl Abel's familiar appeal

Asked whether he had ever considered getting into another line of work, Jerry Abel -- who operated Earl Abel's Restaurant for some seven decades -- replies: "I didn't have time to think about getting out."

Finally, Abel is getting some free time.

On March 16, he sold the local landmark restaurant that his father Earl Abel started in the 1930s to locally based Arias Retail LLC.

Taking over a local institution has its challenges, says Arias Retail President Roger Arias.

Indeed, the eatery's faithful patrons had a hard time at first warming up to a new owner. It has helped, Arias adds, that the new ownership has retained many of the eatery's cooks and bakers -- familiar faces to loyal customers who have frequented the restaurant over the years because of its home-cooking appeal.

"We've had some extremely positive comments about everything," Arias says.

But he and his partner, Gene Larsen, still have some challenges ahead.

For starters, there is the impending move of Earl Abel's from its current site at the corner of Broadway and Hildebrand -- where the restaurant has stood for some 65 years -- to its new location off of Austin Highway, in the Terrell Plaza Shopping Center.

After that, the real work begins, as Arias Retail works to make Earl Abel's a household name -- not only with those who have planned their days around the eatery for so many years -- but also with those who may not be as familiar with the restaurant.

"Our task is to sustain the business, relocate it, and then grow the business," Larsen says.

...here's the rest:

http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sanan ... tory3.html


FYI: http://www.bunnbarrel.com

googie2525
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Postby googie2525 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:25 pm

just found this:

Image

...well, all I can say is that this architectural rendering is way better than the reality. Basically it's just a semi dressed-up former "Hometown Buffet." Maybe they'll add some stuff, like that cool beacon tower, if they do well? I'll try and post some pics of the new location sometime, but it might depress viewers who remember the former!

...another article:

"New Home For Familiar Favorite"

Owners Who Saved Iconic Alamo City Coffeehouse To Move

Operations to Austin Highway, Re-Open Doors In June

San Antonio, TX – Who will be the first customer to order a plate of famed fried chicken or a slice of just re-introduced Maple Pecan Custard Pie at the brand new Earl Abel’s? The wait for an answer won’t be long.

The new owners of Earl Abel’s announced today that they have finalized a deal to relocate the iconic San Antonio restaurant and coffeehouse to a new, larger home nearby on Austin Highway, less than 2 ½ miles from its current Broadway location.

Earl Abel’s will take over more than 10,000 square feet of space once occupied by the Hometown Buffet at 1201 Austin Highway in the Terrell Plaza Shopping Center, Roger Arias and Gene Larsen announced.

The big move begins on May 15, with the Broadway restaurant closing its doors forever at the end of the day on Sunday, May 14 (Mother’s Day).

The new Earl Abel’s – which will have the instantly recognizable neon sign, similar décor including a custom-made new carpet that is an exact replica of the restaurant’s retro-funky deep red and green carpet, and the famous food made by the kitchen hands who have been with the restaurant for decades – will open its doors sometime in June.

Moving Memories and Making Magic

Earl Abel’s is relocating because former owner Jerry Abel sold the restaurant and property that opened its doors 66 years ago on Broadway at Hildebrand to development group Koontz McCombs, which plans to build luxury condominiums on the 2.2-acre site.

Abel, who had not found a buyer that he believed could carry on his family’s rich restaurant legacy, was set to close the restaurant when he struck an 11th hour deal with Arias and Larsen, selling them the rights to the famed coffeehouse’s name, recipes and fixtures.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for us,â€￾ said Arias, a former top executive with one of the nation’s largest fast food chains. “We are working hard to re-create much of the magic of the Broadway location at the new Earl Abel’s, including the retro décor, instantly recognizable neon sign and the signature menu items.â€￾

The owners are even bringing back some items that had fallen off the menu, including a few that haven’t been served in well over a decade. Desserts such as Maple Pecan Custard Pie and strawberry shortcake, entrees such as a Fisherman’s Platter with oysters, shrimp and catfish, and kid-friendly side dishes like macaroni and cheese have been drawing rave reviews from loyal customers, and will be featured at the Austin Highway Earl Abel’s.

The owners will be adding a separate children’s menu and moving the restaurant into the WiFi age by making it a wireless hotspot, which is sure to draw tech-savvy patrons who need to stay in touch with work or home via laptop computers, PDAs or other wireless devices.

In addition, ordering to-go from Earl Abel’s soon will take just a few clicks of the mouse as an online website is set to launch within the next few weeks -- EarlAbelsToGo.com.

Continuing a Homestyle Tradition On Austin Highway

Austin Highway is a perfect home for the new Earl Abel’s. Back in the 1950s and 60s, it was a radio road to the state capital that was home to nightclubs, hotels, sleepy inns and restaurants catering to the city’s elite and young adult crowd. When Interstate 35 opened in the mid 1960s, Austin Highway became something of a ghost town, but in the past five years, a strong redevelopment movement has helped breathe new life into the roadway.

An army of new businesses, from big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Lowe’s to strip center mainstays like the UPS Store and Payless Shoes to a new Spectrum health club, locally owned businesses and the nation’s largest private charter school all have come to Austin Highway in less than three years, making it one of the most vibrant redevelopment districts in San Antonio, and possibly South Texas.

But one thing Austin Highway has been missing, according to leaders in the redevelopment movement, is a mid-priced restaurant with widespread name recognition. Earl Abel’s is certain to fill that need.

“Earl Abel opened his first restaurant in San Antonio more than seven decades ago, and the Broadway restaurant had a great run for 66 years,â€￾ Arias said. “We’re looking forward to spending a long time on Austin Highway.â€￾

Future plans call for expanding the Earl Abel’s franchise across the city, with full-service restaurants and even “to-go onlyâ€￾ stands serving that delicious fried chicken.

pgharchfan
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Stopped for Lunch Today

Postby pgharchfan » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:05 pm

Was in town so I found the new location. Yes, bland strip mall. They did bring along the furnishings and fixtures from the old place. The old neon monument sign is up in the parking lot.

There are some great historical photos on the hallway leading to the restrooms - check them out.

There seemed to be a steady crowd of the regulars from the last place and the fried chicken was still good. Hope they make it work!

aliciatapp
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Postby aliciatapp » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:01 am

Took my Mom to the new Earl Ables-- next door to the Bingo Hall in the strip mall-- she loves Bingo-- Ables was boring and dreary-- certainly they missed the opportunity to create a really interesting retro diner.

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savannah modern
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neat find

Postby savannah modern » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:27 pm

I was recently going through some of my matchbook collection and came upon this:


Image


Image


I am sorry to hear that it does not exist.


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230497598776
Last edited by savannah modern on Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:26 am, edited 5 times in total.

egads
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Postby egads » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:29 pm

Savannah modern, to get your Flickr photos to show, pull up the photo, click "all sizes" then copy the url that includes .jpg in it. Then paste that url between the img markers.


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