Carbon-izer Presents Interstate 35 in Williamson County

INTERSTATE 35 IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY

Welcome to the Austin area! This covers places like Round Rock and Georgetown.While still sparse, Version 2.0 of this page adds Plaka Greek Cafe, Sirloin Stockade, Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, Meridian School, Hooters (TX-45), and updates H-E-B (West University), 2600 N. Interstate Highway 35 (former Mellow Mushroom), and Crossing Point (former Garden Ridge, formerly titled as "Altitude Trampoline Park").

HILL ROAD to LAKEWAY DRIVE / NE INNER LOOP

This part of the road covers Jarrell (fast-growing) and the northern terminus of TX-130. Where Texas 130 intersects was "Live Oaks at Berry Creek RV Park" (not to be confused with Berry Springs RV Park off of Market Street), despite half of the park vanishing with 130's construction, it was abandoned by the late 2010s.

Berry Creek Truck Stop / 3800 N. Interstate 35
This smaller, older truck stop used to be branded as a Mobil until around 2009. It appears to have no other branded gasoline or food options.

Plaka Greek Cafe / 115 I-35
This Greek restaurant started out as Del Taco (1985-1987), Taco Bueno (1992-2001), and has been this restaurant since 2008. It may have had other tenants over the years, but that's what can currently be found right now.

LAKEWAY DRIVE to WEST UNIVERSITY AVENUE (TEXAS STATE HIGHWAY 29)

McDonald's / 806 N. Austin Avenue
This McDonald's has a highway-side sign despite being set off from the freeway and opened in 1978 originally (exterior and interior renovations since). It also had the address of 810 N. Austin Avenue at one time.

610 N. Austin Avenue
This building has a few tenants inside of it, notably House of Gainz Gym, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks (since 2016), Golf Ranch, and Mattress One. It was an Albertsons supermarket (#4061) from March 1997 to July 2006, when it was shut down as part of part of the first wave of closures from the newly-reorganized Albertsons LLC.

900 S. IH 35
This was a Wal-Mart from 1989 to 2003, most of it is occupied by Hobby Lobby (Ste. 101) but a tenant on the right side of the building, "Salons of the Town", is located at suite 102. The new "Wal-Mart Supercenter" was built a bit north of this store as its direct replacement. (Walmart keeps store numbers).

H-E-B / 1100 S. I-35
This H-E-B supermarket (#237) is about 63,000 square feet and has been here since 1989. A replacement is planned for the northwest corner of the intersection.

WEST UNIVERSITY AVENUE (TEXAS STATE HIGHWAY 29) to OLD SETTLERS BOULEVARD

Shell / 958 W. University Avenue
In 2015, this Shell gained the Corner Store branding from a generic Shell branded food mart. Seeing a Corner Store that wasn't a Valero was unusual upon stopping here in 2016, but by that time, Corner Store was independent and had already entered into a merger agreement with Alimentation Couche-Tard. By late 2018, with the marriage consummated, it was branded as a Circle K (the convenience store portion, the gas station is still Shell).

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World / 200 Bass Pro Drive
Bass Pro Shops is part of the mega-popular FM 1431 / University Boulevard shopping area, with an IKEA, a huge outlet mall, and a lot more. The 120,000 square foot store opened in June 2015, and includes the restaurant/bowling alley "Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl & Grill". Here's a bit on the opening of the store.

IKEA / 1 Ikea Way
I visited this IKEA (IKEA Round Rock) not too long after it opened, maybe within a year, and I have the directory stashed someplace as well. I don't know where exactly "Ikea Way" is (the parking lot?) but I visited it when it was in the pre-exanded version, at "only" 252,000 square feet when it opened in November 2006. In 2011-2012 construction on the west side of the building brought it up to 306,000 square feet.

Salt Traders Coastal Cooking / 2850 N. Interstate Hwy. 35
Originally one of Texas' three Kona Ranch Steakhouse restaurants, operating from mid-1998 to December 2002, this was Mesa Rosa from 2006 to closure in the mid-2010s, at which point (since 2016) has been Salt Traders.

Meridian School / 2555 N. Interstate 35
The charter school Meridian School also occupies most of 2560 North Mays Street behind it, but in the mid-1990s, 2555 N. Interstate 35 was the home of Power Computing Corporation, one of the best-known and most popular Macintosh "clone" manufacturers. In 1997, Apple Computer Inc., under new interim CEO Steve Jobs, purchased most of the company's assets to end the clone program and move all manufactured computers in-house. By the end of January 1998 the company was dead, with Apple purchasing the rest of the company and auctioning off everything else.

My family had a PowerWave in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was a powerful computer for its time but it had all sorts of issues and eventually the hard drive (or other critical component) failed.

2600 N. Interstate Highway 35
Johnny Carino's (briefly Carino's Italian, as the chain was known for a time) operated here from May 1998 to June 2015, followed by Mellow Mushroom, which operated here from October 2015 to October 2019. As of this writing, it will be renovated into a location of "Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar", set to open September 2022.

Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q / 2400 N. Interstate Highway 35
This restaurant has a Shell station attached as the "gas station" component of Rudy's (not universal). In addition to the branded gas station component, which usually is self-branded, it actually was built as an ordinary gas station and renovated/expanded into Rudy's in 1999. The gas station appears to have been known as "Hoppe's" from 1993 to 1999, though the original gas brand is unknown, though it was probably a Shell.

OLD SETTLERS BOULEVARD to TEXAS STATE HIGHWAY 45

Sirloin Stockade / 1723 I-35
Sirloin Stockade is very much a dying chain, even as of 2016, 100 locations were in existence, as of 2022, only 9 locations exist (including this one). This location has been open since 1993.

McDonald's / 310 N. Interstate Hwy. 35
Another highwayside McDonald's shouldn't be that big of an issue, after all, there's another just up at E. Old Settlers Blvd., but this McDonald's can be seen (before the mid-2000s rebuild) here at Vintage Aerials. The strip mall behind it was built later. The place where Sprouts/Office Depot/Tuesday Morning was previously an Albertsons (1997-2006) and Randalls (1993-1997) before that. It was sold to Albertsons with two other stores (Pasadena and College Station, with Pasadena closing before this one and College Station closing after this one), and was built as a Tom Thumb (1988-1989) but there's no clear path to how it became Randalls. What we DO know is that in 1989, Tom Thumb sold some of its better stores to Albertsons (and a partially-built one to H-E-B!), so perhaps this got caught up in the partial sell-off but maintained the lease so that Randalls could reopen it, at least for a few years.

Hooters / 2700 S. IH-35
Hooters has been here since 1999. It may have been an IHOP originally (if briefly). Research is currently ongoing.

Crossing Point / 2800 S. IH-35
This shopping center (anchored by Altitude Trampoline Park, a gym, and several restaurants) was built at the site of Garden Ridge (#6), which was here from 1994 to 2014 (and did not rebrand to At Home). Like some of Houston's first Garden Ridge stores, this one was also an outlet mall originally.

It is believed that the commercial I uploaded to YouTube from not long after the store opened was of this store, and also appeared to be the first store branded as Garden Ridge (as opposed to Garden Ridge Pottery). The Yelp page for the store can be seen here and features not only photos but also the two (smaller) At Home locations that would replace the sprawling 100,000 square feet store.

This concludes our trip through Williamson County's portion of Interstate 35. The adventure continues on here.


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