Carbon-izer Presents Interstate 35 in Hays County

INTERSTATE 35 IN HAYS COUNTY

The Austin metro continues to stretch down south into Hays County, where San Marcos is. At many of the exits here, there's a 7-Eleven, usually from different origins but some with unique combos that were almost never seen with pre-acquisitions 7-Eleven. Version 2.0 fixes a few small formatting errors and adds Moon Valley Nurseries, Pinballz Kingdom, Exxon (at Windy Hill Road), QuikTrip, The Strand, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Arby's, Taco Cabana, Panda Express, Poco Loco Market, 7-Eleven (at FM 150 West), Valero (at Hill Street), Sunoco (at Mill Street), Hawaiian Bros Island Grill (at Aquarena Springs), Texas Bean & Brew House, and 1011 N. IH-35 (former Burger King). It updates Hawaiian Bros Island Grill (at Kyle Parkway), 7-Eleven (at Highway 80). Additionally, some renumbering was done.

STATE HIGHWAY 45 to KYLE PARKWAY

14444 S. Interstate 35
It appears that this former Chevron, now simply labeled as "DIESEL" in signage with a closed-up Food Mart (color scheme being white on green) is owned by the Shell next door nowadays. It operated from around 1995 to 2014.

Shell / 14500 S. Interstate 35
This Shell was originally a Texaco (changed to Shell presumably around 2003) and has been here since 1989. A restaurant space near the store (possibly added later) currently has "Abby's Mex Food".

Moon Valley Nurseries / 14620 S. I-35
This garden center and plant nursery opened in early 2020, reusing a small building that sat on a large lot. Previously, the space was home to Big Tex Trailers from 2010 to 2016, with a fireworks stand operating prior (according to the oldest Google Maps Street View).

Pinballz Kingdom / 15201 S. I-35
From 1979 to 2005 this was the Dorsett 221 Truck Stop, though I'm not sure what gas brand it had before its 2005 closure (if anything). In 2014, it reopened as Pinballz Kingdom, an Austin-based bar with music and video games. The "Kingdom" name comes from the castle-style building Dorsett 221 Truck Stop had, and the "221" name Dorsett 221 Truck Stop was from the exit number (which doesn't exist anymore following construction projects). While Pinballz Kingdom did open in 2014 as this article states, nearly a decade later, there's no Phase II with mini-golf and go-karts yet.

Cabela's / 15570 S. I-35
Cabela's opened its hunting and fishing store (185k square feet) in June 2005. It still has some interesting features like a walk-through aquarium, but it basically functions like a smaller Bass Pro, and the upper level restaurant has been closed for some time now (probably since COVID).

Crestview RV / 15700 S I-35
This RV dealership has part of its showroom across the street. This wasn't like this due to design; construction of Cabela's Drive bisected it.

Valero / 18210 S. I-35
This was originally Sac-N-Pac in 1997, then Stripes in 2015, then 7-Eleven in 2019. The gas station brand was probably originally a Diamond Shamrock. *

Exxon / 18701 S. I-35
This Exxon, also known as "Tex Best" (Tex Best Travel Center #53, officially, and no, there aren't 50+ others), is one of the older gas stations in Kyle, dating back to 1986. It seems it picked it up the Tex Best name in 1999.

QuikTrip / 18720 I-35
From what I can find, QuikTrip #4154 opened in July 2021.

Sunoco / Schlotzsky's / 19350 S. I-35
The original construction here was a Shell gas station with Schlotzsky's and Sac-N-Pac in 2011. In 2015, Stripes took over the convenience store portion (adding a Laredo Taco Company counter) with its then-parent company Sunoco taking over the gas station component soon after. As of February 2020, this was still a Stripes but within two years had become a 7-Eleven with the sale of Stripes to 7-Eleven.

The Strand / 150 Amberwood South
The Amberwood subdivision was established around 2004, and while this apartment complex (first phase completed in 2015) isn't accessible from the freeway, it does help establish the fabric of suburban I-35. Next to it, there's The Aidan (210 Amberwood South). The Aidan predated The Strand by a few years, and was originally known as The Settlement until the early 2020s.

Firestone Complete Auto Care / 20301 I-35
This Firestone opened in July 2013 and marks the beginning of The Village at Kyle, a sprawling commercial area across both sides of Kyle Parkway, and is anchored by Lowe's (at the northeast corner) and Walmart (at the southeast corner). There's also a Goodwill there, too.

Arby's / 20417 S. Interstate 35
This Arby's opened in fall 2018 but opened as a Carl's Jr. in the restaurant chain's ill-fated second Texas expansion. Carl's Jr. opened mid-2014 but closed by early 2018.

Taco Cabana / 20445 S. Interstate 35
Taco Cabana opened around June 2016, around the same time as its sister chain Pollo Tropical. While Pollo Tropical sadly didn't last (and was arguably the superior restaurant), TC remains open today (and is not 24 hours, like it was founded on).

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill / 20471 S. I-35
Pollo Tropical arrived in Hays County in May 2016 but closed eleven months later. Its replacement, Hawaiian Bros, opened in April 2021, four years after the demise of Pollo Tropical.

KYLE PARKWAY to EAST CENTER STREET / FM 150

Panda Express / 5261 Kyle Centre Drive
At some point, I'll probably make some sort of page for the entire development on all four sides of the highway and Kyle Parkway (encompassing Lowe's, Walmart, H-E-B Plus, Target, Kohl's, etc.), as it would take a bit long to list everything at the four corners, and in some cases, not particularly interesting. Such is the case of Panda Express, which opened in May 2011, and the nearby McDonald's and Chick-fil-A, which both opened roughly around the same timeframe. Both McDonald's and Chick-fil-A have since upgraded from their original layouts to handle additional drive-through traffic.

Exxon / KFC / Long John Silver's / 20925 S. I-35
Despite the corporation separation of KFC and Long John Silver's back in 2011 and the heavy closures that have rocked the combo stores and Long John Silver's alike, you can still find both here in 2022.

The convenience store portion opened as Sac-N-Pac in 2002, converted to a Stripes around 2015 and again to 7-Eleven in 2020.

Lex Word Building / 21001 S. I-35
Also known as and holding exclusively the Hays Central Appraisal District, this small office building is only accessible from the frontage road. When it was built in 1994 and all the way up to 2013, the frontage road was two-way.

Poco Loco Market / 21140 Interstate 35
Poco Loco Market #5 opened here in May 2019, it tends to have cheaper gas than competition.

Just south of the Poco Loco is Old Burleson Road. There's some signage, but the road has been closed off to vehicular traffic, and the curb was rebuilt. This happened sometime in 2020, with the road restriped to just merging lanes. Formerly, the right-most lane was a right-hand only lane into the road.

7-Eleven / 22553 I-35
This 7-Eleven was opened in 2013 around the same time FM 150 West was re-routed to curl around toward Center Street.

EAST CENTER STREET / FM 150 to AQUARENA SPRINGS DRIVE

We're going to zoom past downtown Kyle to San Marcos. In the San Marcos area, addresses on the west side are labeled as "North Interstate 35" while addresses on the east are labeled as "South", labeled as to cardinal directions, not the flow of traffic. In any case, to make things a bit simpler, these will be left out of the addresses.

DQ / 22601 Interstate 35
While it has been renovated since, the Dairy Queen in Kyle has been here since the early 1970s (1973 or 1975, hard to nail down).

Valero / 22801 Interstate 35
Located at the end of what was FM 150 (now Hill Street following the re-routing), this Valero also has 7-Eleven. It was converted to 7-Eleven in 2019 from Stripes, which had converted the convenience store from Sac-N-Pac in 2015.

The history of this station has been hard to nail down. The gas canopies were rebuilt around 2010 (previously a smaller canopy perpendicular to the store) and was likely a Diamond Shamrock originally, but it appears to have been Sac-N-Pac since 1987.

Sunoco / 1903 Interstate 35
This started as a Texaco in 1989 (possibly older but unlikely) with a generic food mart. Between July 2015 and May 2016, the Texaco closed. In January 2017, a Stripes (with Sunoco) opened near the Texaco's site. It didn't directly replace it, but it did use the same address. The gas station is still Stripes as of April 2022.

Premier ER & Urgent Care / 1509 I-35
You may remember my old former Restaurant list. A Kettle restaurant was here from 1978 to sometime in the 2000s, when it disconnected to become "Pancake Restaurant" before finally closing in 2011 (though the numbering changed at some point, apparently this was considered 2121 N. I-35 at some point). After sitting vacant for over half a decade, it was eventually torn down for Premier ER & Urgent Care, which replaced the "PANCAKE" sign with "PREMIER".

In-N-Out Burger / 1437 I-35
In 1992, this opened as Shoney's, and like the Waco and Temple locations (covered in these I-35 pages) was converted to Jim's in 1999. Jim's didn't last long here and by January 2008 it was home to "Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill", which closed in 2015. It was soon demolished and rebuilt as an In-N-Out Burger.

AQUARENA SPRINGS DRIVE to GUADALUPE STREET

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill / 1439 Interstate 35
Like Kyle's, this HBIG was also built as a Pollo Tropical and closed at the same time. In 2021, it reopened as a Hawaiian Bros Island Grill. It replaced a Philips 66 (it had been one since at least the early 1990s) and closed in the late 2000s or very early 2010s. (Tax records indicate 7-Eleven had wanted to open here in the early 2010s but ultimately they never did). By 2016 it was demolished with the Pollo Tropical coming soon after.

Texas Bean & Brew House / 1328 Interstate 35
From 1985 to around 1998 this was "Casa de Pico", a Mexican restaurant, then "Dos Flores Tex-Mex & Grill" (2005-~2009), then Japan Latino Sushi & Steak from approx. 2010 to 2019. It was a Japanese restaurant (not fusion). Texas Bean & Brew House has been here since 2019. *

McDonald's / 1105 IH 35 S.
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1011 Interstate 35
This former Burger King opened in 1987 and by the late 1990s had built an enclosed playground. Around 2015 it was closed.

7-Eleven / 1004 Interstate 35
This 7-Eleven was a convenience store/gas station called Quix that 7-Eleven purchased back in 2012. The Quix name came in 1992 when its parent company converted from Payless Gas. It originally opened in 1987. Fixtures and signage indicate it may have branded Chevron at one point.

Fuego Tortilla Grill / 913 Interstate 35
Fuego Tortilla Grill's second location (first one in College Station). It is the only one in the chain that occupied an existing building, in this case, an extensively renovated KFC which existed from 1990 to 2012. Fuego opened here in September 2014, though at the time, there was another establishment called "Fuego Coffee & Ice" in San Marcos that has since closed.

Like it's College Station cousin that switched to "24/6" (closed Mondays) after a food sickness outbreak, at some point the San Marcos location did the same.

Classic Inn / 921 IH-35
This was a Microtel Inn in the early 2000s and later rebranded to "GateWay Inn". Between June 2019 and February 2020, GateWay Inn was replaced by Classic Inn.

San Marcos Tourist Information Center / 617 IH 35
I'm not sure when the tourist information center opened, but I'd be remiss in not mentioning that I did visit here back in 2010 when I really saw San Marcos properly for the first time. Thanks to a ~1998 aerial mounted on the wall, it was here I was able to see the Highway 21/80 intersection as I remembered it as well as Springtown as a "mall". More on Springtown in another update!

I had wanted to make a whole post on my old blog on that 2010 trip and while the memories would've been fresher, the execution would've been much sloppier.

White Rock Inn 801 IH 35
This motel has changed hands a few times and I don't know what the original one is. It was Parkside Inn & Suites in January 2008, Knights Inn in May 2011, and White Rock Inn in March 2021 (still Knights Inn in 2020). While I'll go to Guadalupe Street eventually, this is where I intend to end so South Texas Retail can pick up where I left off due to a handshake deal some time ago.