Carbon-izer Presents Northwest Freeway (Outer Belt)
Northwest Freeway (Outer Belt)
In a way, this section of Northwest Freeway is heartbreaking. When I was a kid, Northwest Freeway kind of "snuck up" on the Houston area, with a good part of the freeway in Fairfield largely a divided four lane highway with grass fields on one side and a railroad on the other, which is likely what the other segments had at one time. Going even further back (late 1990s or early 2000), I distinctly remember that Northwest Freeway resembled a bit of Wellborn Road (a road in College Station which this railroad line also parallels), but I knew it was not. In those distant days, there were some entrance signs for a subdivision called Fairfield, but it was a ways off, and you really couldn't see it all that well from the road. It wasn't until the Beltway where things really started to cook and you knew that you were in Houston proper.

First, around 2005 or 2006, they actually completed the freeway, and soon started construction on a massive outdoor outlet mall which opened in spring 2008. There was also a sign just to the west to it for a new H-E-B store, all the way out there. In the end, the H-E-B opened a bit to the EAST of the outlet mall, and while not a "Plus" store, is a roomy, upscale store that opened in the fall of 2012. Then more and more things opened, including a Kroger Marketplace, many little shops, and another shopping center with Academy and the like. Today it's what Spring Cypress Road was 10 years ago and looks nothing like what it used to. Meanwhile, the freeway dramatically changed again, with construction undergoing on both sides to widen the road (again), and every year or two the freeway pushes out more and more.

But I cannot mourn the past, it's time to at talk about what is here and what was.

Version 7.0 is part of a reconfiguration that eliminates the "Hempstead to Grand Parkway page" (will eventually be added to this page) that imports a bunch of stuff from the old page (still up as of this writing) and many of those entries have been updated.

Imported: Buc-ee's (Waller), NCI Metal Depots (formerly/erroneously titled as "NCI Metal Roofs"), Shell (Field Store Road), CVS/pharmacy (Waller), Love's Travel Center, Jack in the Box (Waller), Exxon (Waller), Shipley Do-Nuts (Waller), Americas Best Value Inn (Waller), Best Western Plus (Waller), Stoneside Veterinary Hospital, Topper's Camping Center, Daikin North America LLC, Chevron, Texas Farmhouse Homes, Lansdowne-Moody Co., Sutong Tire Resources Inc., Hanson Aggregates of Hockley, 32202 US-290 (retitled from "Sonic Drive-In"), Shell (Becker Road), and Community of Faith.

Added: Valvoline Express Care, Angel's Auto Center (finally re-added, it was cut when the new Version 1.0 was launched), Frost Bank, 19550 Northwest Freeway (former Volkswagen Cypress), and CarMax

Updated: Second Baptist Church - Cypress (minor), Fairfield Town Center (new movie theater and addition of former BreWingz), Cypress Town Center (added Best Buy), Cy-Fair Town Center (Killen's Barbecue has replaced Burro & Bull in yet another exchange at 25618), Cypress Village Station, 24500 Northwest Freeway, The Yard Depot (formerly titled as "21202-21210 Northwest Freeway"), Hampton Inn, Shell (FM 1960), Travelodge, Speedy Stop (formerly titled as "Mobil"), Tesla Service Center, Northwest Hyundai (formerly titled as "Hub Hyundai Mitsubishi"), and SignCo America. There were a few other minor updates done.

FM 362 to FM 2920

Buc-ee's / 40900 U.S 290
We're going to start in Waller County with Buc-ee's, which opened in spring 2013 and quickly became a near-regular stop on Houston trips (the actual county line is just east of it). It advertises (at least until it became common knowledge, or I could be just getting used to it) even on Highway 6 South as "Waller You Waiting For?" I love this store and has become a regular stop in returning on the 290 corridor. At least three times (as of last time I kept count, which was a while back) I have eaten here for their awesome club sandwiches and in-house potato chips, though I gotta admit, I've had a number of "bad chips" (almost consistently per package) where it somehow doesn't get cooked properly and ends up having the texture of folded paper. It was definitely disconcerting for the first time, because I couldn't see them while eating. True story: I remember actually exiting the highway to try to spit out what I thought I was a napkin I had accidentally ingested. I have a few pictures of this Buc-ee's, but not from the highway.Buc-ee's is hard to capture because it's so large (looking east in March 2015). Here's another picture looking back at the beaver statue to the west (also in March 2015).

NCI Metal Depots / 40202 U.S. 290
The opposite direction has a building called NCI Metal Depots, opened 2003. For some reason, around late December 2018 or early the next month, the signage changed slightly to feature the new name (from "Metal Depots Factory Direct"), with the color changed from black text, tan background, and red accents, to black text, white background, and lime green accents.

Shell / 40203 U.S. 290
Field Store Road got its start as a freeway destination when a small gas station (Chevron brand) began building on a cul-de-sac created during freeway construction. "Rocky's B-B-Q Grille" opened in summer 2010 but within its first few years, it changed hands and became Field Store BBQ (at least by my memory...for some reason I remember being it under construction in early 2009), then Irv's Field Store by 2013, then eventually simply Irv's with a repainted red sign by August 2014. Not long after it was simply "Irv's", construction began next door which by March 2015 was revealed to be a new gas canopy with diesel (the canopy is a simple green one) with a large concrete pad for trucks. That's right: they "upgraded" to being a truck stop. For Irv's, I actually have before and after pictures. Here's my picture from May 2014, back when it was still Field Store. Notice obviously-tacked-on later "Irv's" sign. My second picture comes from December 2015, with what Irv's looked like for several years afterwards. Sorry it's a bit darker (a lot darker, actually) than it should be, it was a new camera and I was still learning how to use it. In 2019, Waller began to build a water tower behind the gas station. A visit around that time showed that Irv's had some video gambling machines, but only with small, non-money prizes.

As of June 2021, Irv's had become Waller Travel Plaza, and in a notable change, switched from Chevron to Shell.

CVS/pharmacy / 31013 FM 2920
Opened around 2005. This moved from a strip center further down into Waller, where it was an Eckerd until 2004. It probably doesn't see as much freeway-side traffic as the fast foods and gas station does, but it serves a purpose for those things drug stores have that convenience stores don't (hey, I stopped there once), and it serves local Waller interests as well.


Ironically, I have few photos for this interchange despite being the most familiar with it. Of special note is "Stokes Road", which provides access to CVS, Jack in the Box, and many others. It does directly touch the US-290 right-of-way but actually was never part of the frontage road system even though it looks like it was.

Love's Travel Center / 30710 FM 2920
On the north side of 290 sits just one business, the Love's Travel Center, which has an Arby's inside (it has been here since 2001). I've been here a few times but I rarely stop at it (usually prefer Buc-ee's). As a truck stop, its merchandise mix is a bit more interesting than the usual convenience store fare, but the restrooms aren't that great, the prices aren't that great, and I don't really care for Arby's as a fast food option (probably why they seem to have closed a lot of locations in the last few years). It can be seen on the left side of the distant shot looking toward the Exxon. The logo (for Arby's) was updated, though.

Jack in the Box / 31014 FM 2920
Jack in the Box used to be my Dad's stop when heading down to Houston and later was adopted by me. The first time I actually remember going in to the store was as far back as 2009, when they were advertising the HangInThereJack campaign, which would ultimately result in altering the logo of Jack in the Box, and within a few years that would sweep the chain. I don't know about the logo change, to be honest, it took me a few more years to get to used to it, but this is one of the places I always stop these days. It was built in 1999.

Exxon / 31100 FM 2920
As aforementioned, this Exxon is actually in a large plaza featuring a Subway, Sakura Nail Spa, and a local doughnut place called Donuts Delight. Popeyes is there too, but it's not connected to the inside of the convenience store, Town & Country Market. I have one shot of the gas signage when gas prices began to go down around late 2014 (January 2015 picture), though on my iPhone, reds display as oranges. I'd have to say that the gas station (minus Subway, which was built later...probably why it lacks co-billing with Exxon). The gas station was built in 2001.

In previous versions of this page, I stated that "none of the food establishments are accessible from inside the convenience store", but that's not true, it actually does have a Domino's inside, but it's just a counter inside the store.

Valvoline Express Care / 19727 Stokes Road
In 2001, Lone Star Car Wash & Lube was built here, with "Lone Star Car Wash" to the east having three self-service bays and a touchless automatic wash tunnel, and the regular lube center being to the west. By 2016 it was Valvoline Express Care (the Lone Star Wash name still was on the self-service car wash bays) and in 2022 the car wash portion was completely demolished (but the lube center continues to operate).

Shipley Do-Nuts / 19757 Stokes Road
Shipley opened in late 2011 and is the furthest from the highway access. I stopped here once in early 2015 as a day trip and got an apple fritter. Since then I've dropped by once or twice for a donut. It's closed from mid-day on, so if you want a donut, get here early.

Americas Best Value Inn / 19777 Stokes Road
This hotel appears to have been built in or around 2005. The main entrance is off from the Exxon's driveway, Stokes Road is an unpaved back entrance.

Best Western Plus / 19720 Stokes Road
Built on the section of Stokes that turns and goes back toward Waller, this hotel was opened in early 2019.

Stoneside Veterinary Hospital / 38111 US-290
This vet office was formerly Walker Veterinary Hospital until sometime in the latter half of the 2010s. It seems to share the original rectangular plot of land US-290 cuts through with Topper's (see below).

Topper's Camping Center / 38002 US-290
Also known as Topper's RVs or Topper Sales, the earliest reference I can find for this is 2008.

Daikin North America LLC / 19001 Kermier Road
Also known as Daikin Texas Technology Park, or informally, the ComfortPlex, this mega-structure HVAC factory/office campus was finished in 2016. I can't tell what's worse, the continuing sprawl of Houston or the fact that it will drag traffic out here, or the fact that even "rural" in recent memory is once again being dramatically transformed (Kickapoo and Binford used to do the "bulge out and shrink away to rural" like James R. Muse Parkway still does.

Chevron / 35515 Highway 290 Bypass
This mega-Chevron opened in 2019 and features Fuel Maxx as the convenience store, plus "Taco Corner", Dickey's Barbecue Pit, and Checkers. There's even a huge truck stop area behind it, and since then, a few hotels and a small strip center (featuring a liquor store) have opened. It seems almost strange now that even as of circa 2015, it used to be exclusively farmland and that the only thing noticeable on the horizon was to the south where a park had added a soapbox derby track in the early 2010s.

Texas Farmhouse Homes / 33270 U.S. 290 Bypass
Homebuilder company; has been here since 2011.

Lansdowne-Moody Co. / 32804 U.S. 290
This moved here in 2017 from its old Cypress digs covered in the next section of the highway. Of course, back then the area was very rural, and packed up and moved to Hockley at 32804 U.S. 290 sometime around 2016 or 2017. The warehouse used to be used by Axon but I can't find any more details on it at the moment.

On the other side of the street is the intersection of Grimes Road and Bauer-Hockley, which was turned into a sharp curve following the construction of the freeway. Until around 2021, there was a wooden bridge over a ditch (not very long, just 20 feet) but it was eventually rebuilt as concrete. Too bad...

Sutong Tire Resources Inc. / 33402 U.S. Highway 290
This large stone building (33400 U.S. Highway 290) that originally opened as D&D Farm & Ranch Supermarket in 2000, which was billed as the world's largest western store upon opening and sold upscale western-inspired clothing, including what was called "music-star jeans" but the store also sold actual farm-related equipment including saddles, fencing, and home furnishings (but no food, ironically--at least, not any substantial selection). D&D eventually moved on. By November 2005, the space reopened as Sergeant's Western World, which was in many ways more of the same but focused more on horse equipment and custom saddlery, with Western apparel and everything else following behind. I remember passing by Sergeant's in January 2009, when it was going out of business. It was replaced by Foster's Farm & Equipment store soon after. It appears that Foster's was initially at 33400 (the smaller building next door) starting around 2003 and moved into Sergeant's after its closure, but it remained until sometime in late 2015 and was superseded by its next-door neighbor, Brookside Equipment Sales (opened 2014), with Sutong appearing by December 2016. This is my best photo...a drive-by photo of Foster's, May 2015.

Hanson Aggregates of Hockley / 16910 Katy-Hockley Rd.
A concrete plant that has a large, circular railroad spur (since it loops, it can't accurately be called a spur now, can it?) though right near it is an abandoned ROW that led out to a salt mine (which still exists).

32202 US-290
This has two structures on it. The first building was originally built back in 1996, 290 Express Way, an Exxon that operated between 1996 and 2011. The only reference I can find is a 1999 article where the owner described the major accidents happening at Becker Road, since it was not a freeway at the time nor had lights. I don't know why it closed, either problems stemming from the widening of Becker, or the fact that it may have been a less attractive option than Shell, as a good truck stop usually requires a prominently advertised restaurant option (it had a Subway inside as of 2007 and possibly a second food stand earlier on). A few photos I have (all from 2/15) include the empty canopies of the Exxon, the fading and deteriorating billboard, and the Exxon roadside sign. In 2022 it was demolished for a Swift gas station with "Mr. Express" convenience store and a Burger King co-tenant.

Sonic Drive-In is "Building B" and was the last of its kind to include red and yellow neon tubing before a newer design (with the gray plastic tubing) swept the chain (it opened in 2004 and kept that look many years after most other locations switched). You can see in the last image posted the Sonic's red and yellow neon.


Shell / 32150 US-290
I've gotten relatively cheap bottled water here (at least for gas station standards). The truck stop features a Taco Bell and (formerly) Church's Chicken inside, though it's just two counters in a common seating area (and not particularly well-lit). Here's the front of the fast foods from the outside (taken 2/2015). West Houston Archives has an older photo of this gas station; you'll notice that the Taco Bell sign is now painted more of an orange color (I'm pretty sure it's not just the sunlight) and lost its "Express" moniker before gaining the new white-and-purple logo. By late 2019, Church's would give way to a Krispy Krunchy Chicken counter, with the exterior also renovated.

Community of Faith / 16124 Becker Road)
A church (not related to The Community of Faith in Houston proper) which has a massive facility (originally built circa 2007 and built an expansion as of spring 2015), a super-stylized cross (shaped like a boomerang) and a bright electronic display screen which was toned down around late 2014 since drivers don't like a miniature sun 24/7 just off the freeway that's ten times worse when it's foggy.

Just east of here is the ramps for the Grand Parkway, which started construction in the early 2010s.

Second Baptist Church - Cypress / 29900 U.S. 290
Just east of the Grand Parkway, this megachurch with its roots closer to the Houston Inner Loop opened October 30, 2016.

Houston Premium Outlets / 29300 U.S. 290
I've noticed even from the highway a number of tenants have come and gone, which I probably won't cover here. The large outlet mall opened in April 2009. West Houston Archives notes that this was the historic site of Nine Bar Ranch.

It's located just south of Fairfield Place road, which I should bring up. The westbound freeway has its own exit for Fairfield Place, when the freeway was constructed around 2007 (originally). Good future planning if everything wasn't torn up within a decade...

29100 U.S. 290
A strip center built between 2008 and 2011. Already there have been a few changes. As of January 2019, the line-up (from north to south) includes Tomiko Japanese Restaurant (100), Glam House (110, a hair of the 1/19 aerial, it covers up the old signage, Paris Salon), 1st Care Dental (200), 3D Nailspa & Lashes (210 and now closed, probably a victim of state restrictions), "SmallCakes: A Cupcakery" (220), two vacant spaces (Memorial Floors at 250 and All Floors & More at 400), Sergio's Mexican Grill (500), State Farm Insurance (600), and H&R Block. This last one is actually "Suite A" and was originally Verizon Wireless prior to 2015.


H-E-B opened here in 2012 with a new shopping center (H-E-B was retroactively incorporated into it afterward) opening several years later with a full strip center, featuring Burlington, Kohl's, a movie theater, Academy, and a number of smaller stores and restaurants. You can check out the PDF here (archived from this link).


Back when U.S. 290 was a divided highway here, a stoplight was placed here, though it was still considered dangerous it was the only light on 290 east of Chappell Hill (with no lights east of Mason Road) and it was difficult for cars to stop doing 70 mph (or above). Still, I have vague memories of the stoplight here, and I remember how it was cool that the railroad was obscured by a row of trees between the road and the railroad, giving a neat "railroad in the woods" effect that haunted my dreams for some years afterward.

Unfortunately, in January 2019, they began removing the trees, first by removing the limbs and branches, then the trees entirely. Ultimately, this was for an extension of Mason Road across the railroad tracks, which was eventually completed in 2021.


Fairfield Marketplace really came into its own with the 2015 opening of Kroger Marketplace (its main anchor) but it goes back to the early 1990s with an older "Fairfield Market", which has been since forgotten but incorporated into the main shopping center. You can see a PDF here (archived from here) to help explain the layout.

Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital / 27800 Northwest Freeway
Memorial Hermann Health System reached Cypress on March 31, 2017. As of this writing, the hospital campus intends to expand, including adding a parking garage, another professional building, and other features.

27700 Northwest Freeway
This building is an auxiliary medical office building to Memorial Hermann. Tenants here include Cypress Dermatology, Blue Fish Pediatrics Fairfield, Quest Diagnostics, and Kids GI Kare, a pediatric gastroenterologist (wow, now that's specialty medicine).

Fairfield Creek Estates / 27550 Highway 290
This 55+ apartment community opened close to the tail-end of 2014. Historical views for this property show two trailer homes here in the 1990s and later in the mid to late 2000s.

Fairfield Baptist Church / 27240 U.S. 290
Predating everything else in this stretch, this church was completed in August 1995 shortly after the Google Maps aerial was done. It later expanded with a larger sanctuary in the early 2010s after building a second building in the mid-2000s. For over 10 years since its original opening, it was the only thing on Northwest Freeway until Cypress Chase Boulevard had it not been for the storage unit down the street.

SmartStop Self Storage / 27236 U.S. 290
This opened in the early 2000s as Metro Mini Storage and expanded over the years. This is a more "traditional" self-storage place with drive-up garage doors, unlike Public Storage down the street.

27230 U.S. 290
As of March 2022 this strip center building (built in 2019) includes Houston Sinus & Allergy and Houston Audiology & Hearing Aids.

Public Storage / 27214 U.S. 290
This opened in 2017, the same year as the extension of East Louetta Road to the freeway. Despite Louetta Road finally going to I-45 (why would you want to, though?), the road abruptly ends at Northwest Freeway with just a right-turn only lane. PS is more of what self-storage buildings look like in the Inner Loop, a big boxy building with no windows.

Tru by Hilton / 27204 US Hwy. 290
This hotel opened around May 2019 as a Tru, one of Hilton's newer brands. The hotel's website is here. It's four stories but the hotel webpage does not list the number of rooms, something the old paper directories reliably did.

27200 Northwest Freeway
This strip mall was built in 2016 and quickly populated. As of September 2019 (suite numbers are in parantheses), it featured Imperial Vapor Company (100), Retro Cafe Vietnamese Subs (120), Ocean Nails Lounge (110, yes, it's out of out of order), JD Foot Massage (140), Yokohamaya Japanese Restaurant (150), New York & Chicago Pizza Company (160), The Little Gym (170), Enterprise (180), and Bless You Allergy & Asthma (200). As of this writing (November 2021), both The Little Gym and New York & Chicago Pizza Company have closed, probably for the same reason and in the same year. They have been replaced by and Rio Lindo Mexican Grill, respectively, and as of summer 2022, Rio Lindo has been replaced with Andy's Bar & Grill.

27150 U.S. 290
This strip mall is a bit older but not nearly as well-populated. It is anchored by Fairfield OB/GYN (seems it had its sign up for several months before opening around April 2016) and Nikko Dermatology (on the opposite end, also opened 2016). There is also "Medi Pro International Pharmacy", which opened 2017 (likely).

Goodwill Select Store / 27140 U.S. 290
Opened January 2016. This replaced the donations-only storefront closer to Fry Road.

La Quinta Inn & Suites / 27130 U.S. 290
This hotel, badged as simply La Quinta, seems to have opened in 2016 based on real cars in the parking lot.

Christian Brothers Automotive / 27210 U.S. 290
Based on aerials, this either opened late 2012 or early 2013. (I know that the addresses seem out of order, but they're listed chronologically as they appear north to south)

27126 U.S. 290
Two tenants were originally in this strip mall (opened 2011): Lucky's Pub and "Cy-Fair Emergency & Imaging Center at 290 & Mueschke 24-Hour Emergency Care", one of these private "emergency rooms" that have been cropping up everywhere. I can't find when the emergency room left the site, but Lucky's Pub ended up closing around early 2017 and soon after Lucky's filed out of this location, replaced by Floyd's Cajun Seafood. As of October 2021, a similar medical/emergency room facility has opened to replace the long-vacant ER site.

27118 US 290
As of March 2022, this has Mega Beauty Supply, Eagle Remodeling & More, Doghouse Poker Club, and Cindie's, the Houston-based "adult toy" store. All but Cindie's opened sometime between March 2021 and March 2022.

Buc-ee's / 27106 U.S. 290
Gas station opened late 2008. This is perhaps (one of) the last "traditional sized" Buc-ee's ever built. It has a car wash. A few years ago, Buc-ee's seemed to be selling off their smaller stations (similar to this one) to Stripes, but there's no action here yet, if ever.

Waffle House / 14201 Mueschke Road
Waffle House opened around October 2015, behind Buc-ee's.

27104 U.S. 290
2013-constructed strip mall. As of January 2019, the tenants from left to right are Universal Smiles, Animal ER of Northwest Houston (including Wonder Pet Rehabilitation), The Donut Palace, Sydney Nail Spa, and Texas Mesquite Grill. Both Texas Mesquite Grill and Universal Smiles predate the others by several years. Texas Mesquite Grill's name also lights up in Texas colors after dark, and I believe this is a relatively new feature because I don't remember seeing it prior to fall 2021.

Mo's Irish Pub / 14102 Mueschke Road
Although physically connected to 14106 Mueschke (a strip mall), this restaurant was the third restaurant built in the "restaurant row" and opened late 2015. It looks like they have a tree permanently covered in Christmas lights, which change colors at night (or at least how it appeared on a Friday night in April back in 2016).

Cracker Barrel / 27040 U.S. 290
This Cracker Barrel opened by late 2014.

Gringo's Mexican Kitchen / 27030 U.S. 290
The first in the restaurant row at the northeast corner of Mueschke and NW Freeway, opened in October 2011.

Costco Wholesale / 26960 Northwest Freeway
In July 2019, Cypress got a Costco of their own for the first time. It also includes a gasoline station outlot. Due to Texas laws, Costco can't sell hard liquor in their stores, and while some stores in Houston (including in Tomball and Katy) have a liquor store on premises operated by WB Liquors, this one is not one of them.

IHOP / 26301 Northwest Fwy.
This IHOP was opened in June 2008. It is the first of several times Northwest Freeway juts out of the freeway for an intersection with a major road before peeling away for good just before Beltway 8.

Alicia's Mexican Grille / 26326 Northwest Freeway
Opened sometime around 2008 on the northbound and is often seen emitting smoke from cooking. It certainly looks like it smells good, and I do think I caught a whiff of it once.

26321 Northwest Freeway

This was the first strip center of the Fry Road area on the southbound side when photographed (taken from a video, actually) in 2014 and composes one of three shopping strips in the "Shoppes at Fry Road", which is the area bounded by Hempstead Highway (the older highway next to the railroad), Northwest Freeway, and Fry Road. You can see the PDF that accompanies this page here (originally from this source).

For some reason, the PDF doesn't actually map out the building between IHOP and this one where Aqua-Tots Swim School is. From right to left, there's Shipley Do-Nuts (#800), a vacancy (#750, the PDF still shows it as Goodwill but the store, previously just a donation center, was replaced by the newer location listed further up a number of years ago), Cypress Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (#700, I do love the Peignot typeface), Allegiance Title Company (#600, formerly the home of StarTex Title Company though I can't find when it changed hands), Texas State Optical (#500), Orange Leaf (#400, frozen yogurt, the PDF indicates that the business idled for a bit as it changed hands...I can't find when this happened but if it did it was prior to December 2019), Rice & Beans Cuban Cuisine (I can't find a suite number for this one, but it's been here at least since 2014 and is between 300 and 400), Fresenius Medical Care (#300, formerly site of MattressFirm), C&J Tailor (#200, this looks to have been vacant for a while), and Century 21 (formerly Cornerstone, and before that Stewart Title...but I may have some of the chronology switched around).

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers / 26302 Northwest Freeway
Until very recently (fall 2022), the website of Raising Cane's had opening dates of each store, including this one, which opened in November 2011.


This was where, traditionally, traffic started to get rough, and I know this is not the case anymore as development has pushed outward, but in the late 2000s this was the first big development seen. Also in the late 2000s, this is where you could see one of several "Philly Connection" restaurants, and this sandwich shop built around 30 to 40 stores in Houston, primarily in the suburbs, but within a few years they all disappeared as quickly as they had come. The chain still exists but today has a dozen locations (none in Texas anymore) and the logo is different. The first "290 Philly Connection" was in the Home Depot shopping center at 26084 Hwy. 290 Suite 110.


The "Home Depot shopping center" and the Walmart shopping center is one long sprawling complex built in the early 2000s. See the PDF here (archived from here.)

Sonic Drive-In / 26044 Northwest Freeway
This opened sometime around December 2003 or January 2004, based on aerial images. It does not appear to be part of the above shopping center, despite being connected to it.

14140 Cypress Rosehill Road
Strip center building. It includes Potbelly Sandwich Shop (ste. 100), All Floors & More (200), and Navy Federal Credit Union (suite 400, opened November 2018). Navy Federal Credit Union occupies the space where Suite 300 would be.

Lowe's / 14128 Cypress Rosehill Road
The Lowe's opened in March 2006.

Panera Bread / 26003 Northwest Freeway
Panera Bread opened in the Lowe's parking lot in December 2012.

Arby's / 25957 Northwest Freeway
Arby's has had a few new openings in the suburbs since the last time this page got a main update. There are only three left inside of Beltway 8 and completely extinct in the Inner Loop.

At Spring Cypress, there's a lot to take in to begin with, and so much in-fill. To make things a bit less confusing instead of jumping between the two sides of the freeway, there are two major shopping centers, Cypress Town Center and Cy-Fair Town Center, and the stores around them.


The shopping center on the south side is Cypress Town Center, which opened around 2005. The PDF is permanently linked here.
Going along the front, restaurant-focused area, we have the following:

Angel's Auto Center / 25425 Northwest Freeway
Located just beyond Best Buy, Angel's Auto Center has been in this location since 1995.


The PDF I have permanently copied here is found here and appears to be from 2014 (has both Baker Street and On the Border, as they both co-existed at the time). It also has Sears Appliance Showroom listed, which has since closed. It briefly reopened as a Sears Hometown in 2022 before closing for good. The PDF lacks one of my favorite strip center store names ever, "The Great Frame Up" (located at 17515 Spring Cypress Ste. F, is now closed, and spotted 2012-2013). One more thing to note is that the Kroger (sometime during or after expansion) dropped the Signature name and going from 62,000 square feet to 77,000 square feet. So, without further ado, the restaurants along the frontage!

Pluckers Wing Bar / 25310 Northwest Freeway
Opening years after the other restaurants, Pluckers opened here in May 2018. I ate here not long after it opened but I felt it wasn't much to write home about.


Between Fry Road and Skinner Road, it looks we've got a Matt Groening TV show character theme going, but Skinner Road only has a few items of note. It doesn't cross the railroad, though Greenhouse Road is on the other side. Should they be connected, it would add a relief route to Fry Road.


Cypress Village Station, a transit-oriented development with the new Cypress Park & Ride (25210 US-290) was developed on the site of a Chevrolet dealership at 13202 Skinner Road. It was Doug Russell Chevrolet (1981-1988), and finally Cy-Fair Chevrolet (1988-1990) before it was abandoned and ultimately demolished. For what this development looked like in 2015, check out this image. A more recent PDF (from 2022, so it includes Dutch Bros and does not include Schlotzsky's) can be seen here, archived from here.

On the subject of the old dealership, a rare glimpse of it can be seen in this commercial set (timestamped).

24500 Northwest Freeway
Built c. 1979 by Texas Instruments, this building was spared the cuts the company faced in the mid-1980s, but closed in 1993. Hewlett-Packard picked up soon after for use as a call center but it closed sometime in the early 2000s, and in February 2007 it became the first new 290 park and ride since 1989. After a permanent park and ride facility was built next door, it remained empty again for a short while before 2010 when Sysco purchased it. Sysco moved out of the facility in 2020 and it is currently being redeveloped (partial demolition/rebuilding) into the Cypress location of Houston Methodist, due to open later this year.

HW Range & Training / 24815 Northwest Freeway
Although it seems like an anachronism with every passing year and the continued development of the area, there's a shooting range that was, for years, "Hot Wells Shooting Range". Hot Wells has a natural lake, and I read it used to be a public swimming hole for a while. It's also one of the few unprotected crossings along 290, and if Greenhouse/Skinner goes across the railroad, the crossing would probably be closed, with access gotten from the expansion. Sometime around summer 2018, this became "HW Shooting Range" for reasons unknown. There's no official reason surrounding this, and the only reference I could find was this forum post which happened months after the fact.

At Home / 24340 Northwest Fwy.
Garden Ridge was never a part of Northwest Freeway, but its new incarnation as At Home has been since around summer 2019.

24324 Northwest Freeway
A strip mall building with four tenant spaces; built in 2007. I always found it interestingly NOT interesting, even though it had some unusual names, they were all in the same typeface (originally). These include Tru Tri Sports in suite 400 (now closed, it had its Grand Opening in March 2012 after opening in 2011 according to their website, and moved out in September 2016), Made Ya Smile Dental (that one always makes me grimace for some reason) in suite 300, First American Title Company in suite 200 (invisible from the freeway), and suite 100, which has Sandy's Hair Studio, and before that, Shapes Threading Studio (unless I'm wrong on the dates). As of August 2018, Suite 400 now has "Hammer & Nails" open, a "Grooming Shop for Guys". I'm not sure of any tenant changes past 2018. Sometime around fall 2021, a GEICO insurance office opened in suite 500.

Willie's Grill & Icehouse / 24326 Northwest Freeway
This chain restaurant opened sometime in 2010, in front of what is now At Home.

H-E-B / 24224 Northwest Freeway
A mega-popular H-E-B supermarket that opened in 2007, replacing a 1999 H-E-B Pantry (even though it had changed its name to simply H-E-B before closing) several miles away. It has a gas station outlot.

Chase / 24230 Northwest Freeway
Chase bank opened sometime after H-E-B (possibly 2008).


Barker Cypress is a bit of a weird intersection. The frontage road used to have a somewhat unique feature where the main frontage road would continue and bypass Barker-Cypress with the stoplights being on a "loop" that bulged outward. It also built up the frontage roads to build a bridge over the railroad. (This also used to be the case with I-10, sans a bypass frontage road, until the reconstruction). The "loop" still caused congestion, so a partial cloverleaf was added later (not until 2013 or so), to avoid a stoplight. Unfortunately, this all happened right before the entire bridge was demolished and rebuilt (I actually don't remember if it was demolished entirely and the structure is almost identical, but the bridge was partially rebuilt, and the columns don't show an obvious add-on). So much for convenience, huh?

Coles Crossing Shopping Center / 12312 Barker Cypress Road

This entire shopping center shares this address. Of note is the main tenant, Star Furniture & Mattress (opened 2019), which used to be a Randalls from September 2001 to June 2018. It was one of the last new-build Randalls in Houston ever built, especially as Kroger and H-E-B continue to march onwards, and in June 2018 closed permanently, ending the Randalls legacy on Northwest Freeway (the distribution center and Randalls' other store had already closed by this time). The fact that there is a former original SAFEWAY just two and a half miles away, shuttered (or at least built) around the late 1980s shows how lethargic Safeway was the second time around (and Albertsons, its new owner, isn't any better). The Exxon/Timewise gas station and convenience store opened in September 2018 following the closure of Randalls—this used to be the store's gas station and convenience store, and by October 2022, the Exxon had become a Shell (Shell bought the Timewise chain). You can see the PDF perma-linked (2019/2020 version) here, linked from this page. The picture above is mine from January 2015, when I visited the store (it had the "Lifestyle" renovation inside).

Here's some other pictures of the shopping center surrounding it, which is less visible from 290. (Jan 2015)
IMG_1915.JPG - Looking out at the first row of strips, looking east.
IMG_1916.JPG - Looking straight ahead. I was a bit surprised to see an Aggie gear shop in Houston. While these are a dime a dozen in my neck of the woods, it was a bit of a shock to see one here. Must be those graduated expatriates. (Later I found this closed just a few months later)
IMG_1917.JPG - I think these are directly to the west of Whoop U.
IMG_1918.JPG - Looking west. I didn't mean to take a photo of this woman, so I blurred her face out.
IMG_1920.JPG - Looking east, from the vantage point of the previous picture.

LA Fitness / 12304 Barker Cypress Road
LA Fitness is the other anchor of the shopping center. You can see it through the trees in my 2015 picture but it leaves out the distinctive facade.

Marvino's Italian Kitchen / 24002 Northwest Freeway
This restaurant opened early 2015.

Saltgrass Steak House / 23952 Northwest Freeway
This restaurant opened in August 2012.

Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen / 23948 Northwest Freeway
Chain restaurant "Cheddar's Casual Cafe" opened in 2011, though in 2016 it was rebranded to "Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen" as part of a chain-wide upgrade.

Texas Furniture Hut Showroom & Outlet / 23922 Northwest Freeway
This store opened in late 2011 or early 2012.

Brake Check / 23900 Northwest Freeway
Brake Check opened between October 2012 and October 2013. Given the plot of land was empty in October 2012 and the Brake Check further up near Beltway 8 was already shut down by April 2013 (I think it closed the previous fall with the others) I'm not sure if this Brake Check officially "replaced" that location.

Cypress Collision Repair / 23738 Northwest Freeway
This used to be a tractor dealership, Lansdowne-Moody Co., which opened in 1985. Of course, back then the area was very rural, and packed up and moved to Hockley at 32804 U.S. 290 sometime around 2016 or 2017.

CubeSmart Self Storage / 23550 Northwest Freeway
This self-storage center opened in 2002 as "Private Mini Storage".

Caliber Collision / 23266 Northwest Fwy.
This auto body shop chain opened as "Collision Express" back in 2009 but by 2015 had assumed its current name.

Houston Garden Centers / 23260 Northwest Freeway
A branch of Houston Garden Centers opened here by 2005. It was still native ground in January 2004, which means it probably missed the 2004 spring season.

Valero / 23240 Northwest Freeway
This Valero just has a generic food mart, and is listed as "Mini Mart Valero" in many listings. In 1995, this was under "Mini-Mart Texaco", but that doesn't mean it might not have served under a Diamond Shamrock (or another brand) prior to Valero in the mid-2000s. The gas station at the southeast corner of Northwest Freeway and Cypress North Houston, a road that was clearly meant to expand across the freeway at some point, but plans were scrapped and despite another Cypress North Houston Road on the other side of the freeway, the right of way was later turned into a park.

Tex-Fab Inc. / 23138 Northwest Freeway
Tex-Fab has been here in some form or another since 1973 but expanded in the 1980s. They fabricate pressure vessels for the petrochemical industry and around 2017 did a repaint, though their logo didn't appear on the building for nearly a year afterwards.

Cy-Fair High School / 22602 Northwest Freeway
One of the oldest surviving structures along the Northwest Freeway corridor, Cy-Fair High School opened in 1941 and was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt, though it's been modernized and expanded several times.

Just to the west of it, new buildings are being constructed for a new performing arts center and an administration building, both of CFISD. The land used to be Family Golf Park (22910 Northwest Freeway), which operated from June 2008 to October 2019, though it was primarily a driving range and took up less than half of the land space.

84 Lumber / 22770 North West Lake Drive
It's a bit hard to see, but 84 Lumber was built in 2007 with a functional rail spur (building off of an existing spur). The question is what used to be there before. There was a lake on the other side of the railroad with a small dock that was drained in 2016 (and a building constructed in 2017) but the site of 84 Lumber had a swimming pool (large, not quite Olympic-sized). Access to this area (and later 84 Lumber) included a railroad crossing complete with lights and gates, but this was removed in 2008.

Discussions with fellow Houston retail colleagues say that this was a recreation area for a large steel facility located to the south, and based on roads, was owned by Cameron Iron Works (and today, NSPS Metals). More on this in a future update.

Arnold Middle School / 11111 Telge Road
At some point Arnold Middle School opened adjacent to Cy-Fair, and it almost appears that there's an elevated walkway connecting both schools, though this is probably just a utility line.


Swift / 22250 Northwest Freeway
This was built in 2021 and replaced a Chevron with a small Blimpie inside the convenience store. The Blimpie kept its logo for years and stayed with the convenience store until almost the very end. The previous version of this page noted Blimpie was gone in 2021; the entire station went soon after. Swift's modern convenience store is "Telge Stop".

22224 Northwest Freeway
A strip center completed in 2008 (apparently "Telga Plaza", at least 22222) is here, just east of the Chevron. Even in 2011, the only tenant was suite A (1/2 Price Boxes), but eventually filled out with other tenants. By 2017, tenants included Tacoland Mex-Mex Tacos (suite B), U.S. Floors & Remodeling (D), Fast Signs (C, despite being to the right of D, likely having opened earlier), and Mint Dentistry in E.

22222 Northwest Freeway
This strip center was built at the same time, and filled out faster than 22224 did. It contains only Red Wing Shoes (suite A-1) with much of the space being taken up by Houston's First Baptist Church, which moved out in August 2017 to a full campus, with Loopnet advertising the space soon after.

Carl's BBQ / 21920 Northwest Freeway
Carl's BBQ, according to an ad from 1999, has been in the "same location since 1974". However, the building doesn't seem to appear in Google Earth until the 1990s, and it's 1995 when it is fully visible (and 1995 was the year of improvements in terms of "canopy roof and slab"). It's possible the old building that was there was torn down and rebuilt for whatever reason, but HCAD also says that the building on site dates back to 1954! Just to the northwest was Weiser Air Park. It wasn't so much an airport as a small landing strip for hobby aircraft, and was clearly grandfathered in from another time. The edge of the runway was just 830 feet away from the westbound mainlanes of 290 and 630 feet to the westbound frontage road. Before it permanently closed in June 2019, at the right time, you could see planes coming in for a landing right over the freeway.

Cypress VFW Post 8905 / 21902 Northwest Freeway
This has been here for years, and it looks like Gentry Road (which should've started about where their driveway is) was never built out to begin with.

Stewart & Stevenson / 10750 Telge Road
The Stewart & Stevenson plant started building facilities here in 1996 with the last facilities being built in 2003, the same year it completely replaced Stewart & Stevenson's Harrisburg area plant. (link)

10700 Telge Road
This isn't so much visible from Northwest Freeway anymore (10704 Telge was built in front of it) but from 1983 to 2017, this served as the main distribution center to Randalls. In 1999 it was expanded with a freezer addition and another huge warehouse to the south (this expansion has been cut off and turned into 10620 Telge Road). From 1999 to 2015, it was one of two distribution centers in the Texas Division of Safeway (the other one was in Dallas). When the divisions were reorganized under Albertsons, it became the sole distribution center for the new Houston Division (not to be confused with the "original" Albertsons Houston Division closed in 2002), which included the Randalls stores in Houston and Austin, plus the Albertsons stores in southern Louisiana, and very briefly, the few Albertsons stores in Florida (before they changed names to Safeway and switched to the Eastern Division).

There was a large water tank with the Randalls logo out front but this was demolished in January 2019 with the redevelopment of the site. Today the downsized 10700 Telge Road building (part of what is now "Highland Grove Business Park" has Golden Star Foods and a distribution center for Restaurant Depot.

21420 Northwest Fwy.
This warehouse was built in 2019. It includes Kingsley Beverages USA (distribution), Paradise Grills, and likely others.

The Yard Depot / 21202 Northwest Freeway
This used to have three businesses (similar in all dealing with yards) with different addresses on one lot, but only The Yard Depot is left today which has expanded. Beyond Paradise (a garden center at 21206) and 290 Grass (21210, sod), were here until early 2021 and July 1, 2022, respectively. The

HCA Houston Healthcare North Cypress / 21214 Northwest Freeway
Originally North Cypress Medical Center from its opening in January 2007 to its sale in 2018, this hospital was a landmark to indicate the FM 1960 intersection ahead. While the construction of the hospital made the area much busier and removed its more urban feeling, one of the memories I have particularly around this area was in March 2012 when we had taken the HOV lane (which had recently been re-striped from the inner turn lane) and found it jammed when a motorcycle had stalled. We managed to get out amid some honking and tense moments; at least it was there and not the "concrete canyon" later on.

Before the HOT lane was actually built with the freeway reconstruction and starts all the way back at Mason, the HOV lane started at Eldridge. The "quick fix" pushed it back to between Telge and Barker-Cypress.

Additionally, some later medical offices and parking garages were built adjacent to the medical center. Of note was "Merche!", an Italian-Mexican restaurant that closed a few years ago (even if the signage remains). It operated in the lower level of 21208 (parking above) from December 2009 to sometime around 2017.

Exxon / 20600 Northwest Freeway
This Exxon (with Timewise) something not uncommon along the 290 corridor, and not even unique to Northwest Freeway and Huffmeister. The gas station was one of the earliest buildings at the intersection, dating back to 1999, but as of 2005 it was an On the Run gas station. (Most of the On the Run stores were sold to Star Stop, but this one became a Timewise presumably before that).

Exxon / 26021 Northwest Freeway
And "not uncommon" it is, this second Exxon on the other side of the freeway opened in late 2015. It was the last new-build Exxon I've ever seen built new that has the full capital EXXON lettering and blue stripe under the logo before they switched to lower case lettering akin to the full ExxonMobil logo.

20502 Hempstead Road
Despite a Hempstead Road address (and as such, is even despite being on the south side of Northwest Freeway), this warehouse is used as retail use, containing an Urban Air trampoline park and a Floor & Decor store. Both of these opened in fall 2016. It is one of four buildings that compose the Gateway Northwest Business Park. (As a personal note, I was sad when this largely undeveloped swath of trees was torn out in 2013 to build the four warehouses and the Exxon gas station (see previous entry). It wasn't virgin land that was never developed, thThe gas station was built as part of a huge development that ripped out a massive swath of trees in the area (though not virgin land, as one of the old tenants was one "Texas Tee Golf Course" at "20454 Northwest Freeway", or rather, 20454 Hempstead Highway, abandoned some time in the 1990s). The greens had long been overgrown by the 2000s.

Top Dog Fireworks Warehouse / 20432 Northwest Freeway
This fireworks stand, formerly Black Cat Fireworks Warehouse until the mid-2000s, is here. Not only does a giant fireworks warehouse behind a subdivision sounds like a horrifyingly bad idea, you can't even legally possess fireworks in the area. It had to be grandfathered in, obviously. During the Halloween season, it gains orange banners and becomes a large Halloween store (usually with an inflatable pumpkin atop). My single experience here was not a bad one but I was taken aback that a shopping cart was insisted upon, even if you wanted to just grab a few items, you couldn't just hold them in your hands and make your way to the front like a grocery store.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott / 20350 Northwest Freeway
This hotel opened 2016. It has 78 suites spread across four floors.

Goode Company BBQ / 20102 Northwest Fwy.
Goode Company BBQ was built around 2008. When I first designed this page, most of the northeast corner still remained fairly undeveloped.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar / 20030 Northwest Freeway
This restaurant opened in May 2019.

Frost Bank / 20002 Northwest Fwy.
Located next to Lazy Dog (the address is slightly out of order), the continued development of "Cypress Crossing" brought this bank in 2021.

Hampton Inn / 20035 Northwest Freeway
My references say this modest Hampton Inn was built in 1996. It is directly across from Frost Bank on the opposite side of the freeway.

Shell / 13250 FM 1960 West
The Shell gas station here was branded "Select" (opened 2000, with the gas station), which I believe is an in-house brand used on a (very) "Select" number of stations. One of those conversations I've had with family members is as follows: "Oh! It's a Shell with a 'Select' gas station. I remember I had a LEGO gas station with that brand as the convenience store...or at least really wanting it," as I realized I never actually owned it.

From what I've heard, the Select brand is a lot more common in Europe (where the set is based on) and very rare here, with this one perhaps being the first U.S. one (thanks to Mike A.)

Unfortunately, by the early 2020s it was closed and will become a Star Stop.

Travelodge / 13290 FM 1960 West
Located behind the Shell was a La Quinta Inn from 1986 to sometime prior to January 2022, when it changed to Travelodge (another Wyndham brand).

The empty space out front wasn't related to construction right of way, it was originally a Kettle built with the hotel. The franchisee of the store, Harry L. Chambers, Jr. (his father had founded Kettle, coincidentally) shut down the restaurant in June 1998 as the restaurant had suffered both the loss of parking spaces and business in the FM 1960 overpass construction.

Harris County Smokehouse, the restaurant that opened in September 1998 in the former Kettle space, bore little resemblance to the Kettle except for the same owners. In 2015, the restaurant relocated across the street to the southwest corner of the intersection and was torn down that same year.


Years ago, when this page was at a different part of Carbon-izer, I mentioned that if you wanted to read more about this road, a lot of it was covered over at West Houston Archives, and I deliberately tried not to overlap it. a site which I loved, linked to this one, and one that I deliberately tried to not overlap, even if it regrettably no longer updated. Unfortunately, since that time, WHA has functionally gone under, and along with a need for updates, prompted me to create my own FM 1960 page. Check it out. (Also, the second Philly Connection of 290 was near the Academy)

New construction has a new elevated section of FM 1960 over the freeway, replacing an older circa 1998 overpass west of the freeway that just went over the old Hempstead Road and the railroad.

To the south is the continuation of Highway 6 proper, which is what this page has been primarily following since Waco, but I've never traveled on that section, between here and I-10, it's gotten quite sketchy in recent years.

Speedy Stop / 13155 FM 1960 West
Sitting at the southeast corner was a Chevron for years before it rebuilt around 2007 with a Speedy Stop convenience store instead of its under-the-canopy "Food Mart". It was not a Speedy Stop that was sold to 7-Eleven in 2013, and by December 2014 Mobil had rebranded the station (still with a Speedy Stop, of course). In late March 2023 it rebranded as a full Speedy Stop (self-branded gas) with the last day to get Mobil rewards in early April.

IHOP / 13335 FM 1960 West
The first in a cluster of restaurants sitting behind a strip mall and along the freeway, the IHOP was built in 1996. Sometime in the mid-2010s, the signage was updated from "IHOP Restaurant" to "IHOP" with the "red smile" underneath.

Texas Roadhouse / 13345 Farm to Market 1960 Road West
Texas Roadhouse opened around late 2000 here, after construction of the overpass. Behind that was Comfort Suites (13355 Farm to Market 1960 Road West), which opened in late 2014, after being delayed and having to be rebuilt due to a fire in July 2013 that consumed the original unfinished building. The West Houston Archives page for Highway 6 / Addicks Satsuma Road has some photos of the fire's aftermath. Behind that is Best Western Windsor Suites (13371 FM 1960 West), opened in 2000. Unusually, the name "Windsor Suites" is prominent instead of the usual Best Western brand. It should also be noted that about where the Best Western and Comfort Suites are located was a bank in the early 1980s (possibly opened late 1970s), Texas Commerce Bank (13445 FM 1960 West) but closed and was completely gone by 1989 and remained undeveloped until the Best Western was built in a portion of its space years later. It was almost unnoticed until an aerial photo of Northwest Freeway's construction was published on West Houston Archives, leading to a search for this bank.

Johnny Carino's / 19820 Northwest Freeway
While the restaurant still maintains it's "Carino's Italian Grill" from a time when Johnny Carino's briefly rebranded, this Italian chain restaurant opened in 2004. It's also one of the few restaurants left. Today, this one of only two of its kind in the entire Houston area (the other is in Baytown). It has has no more than 14 locations in Texas, which used to number over 50.

The parking lot connects with the Academy parking lot (along with the restaurants in this stretch) as well as the Mobil next door (see FM 1960 page). It also serves as a hybrid Famous Dave's restaurant though it's pickup only.

19710 Northwest Freeway
Also opening in 2004 next door to Carino's was a building that houses a location of La Madeleine. The second suite held Skeeter's from 2004 to 2010, Genghis Grill from 2010 to approximately 2021, and since July 2022, Sumo Sushi, an all-you-can eat Japanese restaurant. Two other suites are in the building.

Chili's / 19825 Northwest Freeway
HCAD says this Chili's Grill & Bar was built in 1999.

Mamacita's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina / 19831 Northwest Fwy.
The original restaurant here, Las Rosas Mexican Grill (no other locations) operated from 2003 to 2010. The current restaurant opened in early 2012.

Black Bear Diner / 19823 Northwest Freeway
This restaurant opened in 2020, replacing an Applebee's that was built in 2004 but closed by April 2019. Black Bear Diner often moves into old chain restaurant spaces, but they changed the address—under Applebee's, the address was 19821.

Chuy's / 19827 Northwest Fwy.
Chuy's Tex-Mex opened here in 2008, but it wasn't the first tenant. In 2006, it was the home of Barton Springs Grill, a Houston-based (not Austin) restaurant with one other location in Tomball, the latter of which may or may not have actually opened.

Harris County Smokehouse / 19811 Northwest Freeway
Built in 2015 (almost a decade after the others), this restaurant moved from an old Kettle located in front of the La Quinta Inn (behind the Hampton and the Shell).

Wells Fargo / 19704 Northwest Freeway
This Wells Fargo bank was built around 2004.

Luby's / 19668 Northwest Freeway
This Luby's opened in 1996 (as Luby's Cafeteria, within a decade this would be dropped).

Tesla Service Center / 19820 Hempstead Highway
The first Gander Mountain store in Houston opened in October 2004 (link) and closed in spring 2017. It never had direct access to the Northwest Freeway frontage road since it didn't exist at the time (you had to use the driveway between Chili's and Applebee's, then use the parking lot access roads). In late 2016, this was fixed with the construction of a new continuous frontage road but it didn't help Gander Mountain's fortunes much.

It was announced in January 2020 it was to become some sort of entertainment facility, but it was 2020, and a nightmare was coming where having fun was all but outlawed. Instead, the facade was partially dismantled and the main section painted blue (for three years, the facade, complete with the name, remained untouched), with it being leased as a warehouse for PPE equipment by Bighorn Manufacturing. As of October 2021, the space has been gutted and became a Tesla service center/showroom in 2022.

Academy Sports + Outdoors / 19720 Northwest Freeway
This Academy was opened in late 2002 as the anchor to Crossroads Plaza. Nearby is a small strip center where the second Philly Connection "of 290" was visible.

19714 Northwest Freeway
Staples operated here from 2008 to 2020 and built directly next to Academy.

Baker Nissan North / 19630 Northwest Freeway
This car dealership opened here in 2013, replacing Champion Lincoln Mercury Isuzu, and moving from a location further down the street. This property marks another change in Northwest Freeway, in which the landscape becomes largely dominated by car dealerships. Before the 2009 recession (and an ordinance that largely phased them out), there were usually giant balloon structures (gorillas, the like) on top of these dealerships. Only one actually closed, Jim Archer Chrysler Jeep, but that's described in the next section...

Champion Lincoln Mercury Isuzu was previously Texan Lincoln Mercury Isuzu (later rebranded) when it moved here in 1997 from FM 1960, though I can't find proof of that name being here.

Furthermore, although the link says 2013, the building in the back near Wortham Blvd. was built in October 2012.

Northwest Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram / 19616 Northwest Fwy.
This hasn't changed too much since it opened, in 1997 it opened as "Northwest Dodge Inc.". Like its neighbor, it was built between Crossroads and Wortham.

19550 Northwest Freeway
Most recently this was Volkswagen Cypress for a brief time (period of about three years, basically late 2019 to late 2022), formerly Momentum Volkswagen (and before that Advantage Volkswagen) since 2002.

CarMax / 19500 Northwest Freeway
This CarMax location was built in 2000, joining several others in the Houston area.

Northwest Hyundai / 19300 Northwest Freeway
One of the oldest dealerships in the area, dating back to April 1986 when it opened as Leo Jarnigan Hyundai. By its one-year anniversary it was under new ownership (Rick Case Hyundai). In early 1995, it became Hub Buick Company (which kept the phone number) at had been at the corner of Westheimer and Kirby many years ago. It did still have Hyundai vehicles (at least as of 1996) and by 1999 was known as Hub Buick-Hyundai, which advertised separately in the newspapers (Hub Buick and Hub Hyundai). By September 2005, it was known as Hub Buick Hyundai Mitsubishi (another location off of Katy Freeway was just a Hyundai dealership). Sometime around 2008-2009, the Buick name was finally dropped, and after the Mitsubishi line was dropped, around 2022 it became Northwest Hyundai.

SPX Flow Technology / 19191 Hempstead Highway
This actually has no access from 290 anymore, it now requires entrance through the back. For years, it had a driveway connected to the frontage road (and the railroad crossing was equipped with lights and gates, no "crossbucks only" here) but in 2015, the crossing closed when the frontage road did and never reopened. The gates were removed, but the rest of the infrastructure is still there. Apparently the SPX Flow division separated from the parent company as an independent company in 2015.

The address is a carryover from a time when the part of Hempstead Highway that ran parallel to the railroad directly became the new frontage road (remember, the frontage road wasn't continuous), which was the case up until around 2014.

Emerson Process Management / 19200 Northwest Freeway
This is home to Emerson Process Management (Valve Automation division), which was formerly the home to Jim Archer Chrysler Jeep, built around 2004 but closed about five years later owing to a downturn in the automotive business. The current business (built 2012) demolished just about everything except for a few parts of the parking lot.

Joe Myers Toyota / 19010 Northwest Freeway
Joe Myers Toyota absorbed 19100 (Baker Nissan North) after it moved in 2013 and built new facilities there. The other two buildings on site were once two different car dealerships but they were merged at some point in the past. One of these was 19100 Northwest Freeway, which in late 1988 was Charlie Thomas Nissan.

Lone Star Chevrolet / 18900 Northwest Freeway
In 1997, Eldridge Fast Stop, a Shell station at 18990 Northwest, was built on the southeast corner of Eldridge and Northwest Freeway. In 1999, a new car dealership, Lone Star Chevrolet, was built also at the corner, and wrapped around the gas station. Around 2003, the gas station closed and was absorbed into Lone Star Chevrolet's space, with the driveways to the frontage road and Eldridge removed, and the structures paved over.

An expansion was also done on the south side, taking over what was Lawrence Marshall Oldsmobile at 18800 Northwest Freeway. This became "Lone Star Preowned". LMO was only in operation from around 2000 to 2001, presumably closing when they consolidated with the mega-dealership in Hempstead.

Silver Eagle Distributors - Cypress Warehouse / 8660 N. Eldridge Parkway
Records indicate this local beverage distributor has been here since 1998.

Around this point, on the south side of the highway, south of John Eagle Honda was Phobia Haunted Houses (18777 Northwest Freeway). It moved after 2014 (supposed to move after the 2013 but stayed open for one more year). My August 2013 picture (from a video) isn't all that great, but it shows the sign (on the property, not in the 290 right of way), lots of trees, and the dirt road railroad crossing you have to maneuver to get in there with no gate whatsoever. I imagine that if you did go, a train surprising you at that point may be the scariest thing you saw that evening. Hopefully no one's gotten hurt there. WHA points out that this was based around an actual old house. By December 2014, the sign was gone, replaced by a "Clown Moving Co." which can only be seen seasonally (due to foliage overgrowth) or if you were looking for it. As of January 2020 the Phobia billboard is still visible on the other side of the freeway (but partially fallen apart). The railroad crossing is closed and the buildings have been completely demolished. Pre-construction, this was one of the areas where you could clearly see the US-290 metered ramps (which I never saw operate).

John Eagle Honda / 18787 Northwest Freeway
Built in 2003 and relocated from Eldridge and FM 1960, the John Eagle Honda dealership has a Northwest Freeway address but no access from the frontage road, and unlike SPX Flow Technology, never did.

Sterling McCall Collision of Jersey Village / 18700 Northwest Freeway
This used to be a Saturn of Houston dealership before around 2009.

Sam's Club / 12205 West Road
This Sam's Club dates back to February 1986 when it was opened as the fourth Sam's Club in the Houston area. It expanded in 1991 and a gas station outlot was added in 2004. Behind Sam's Club is the Northwest Station Park & Ride, which includes a ramp to the HOT lane in the center of the freeway. The park & ride expanded in the late 1990s (removing a turnaround on the side south of Castlebridge, you can still see the older concrete) and in 2018, rebuilt the bridge access to the freeway. The construction in 2018 was a bit nerve-wracking as the set-up was similar to a recent bridge collapse in Florida.

Altex Computers & Electronics / 18670 Northwest Freeway
Altex is here, built in 2000, is an electronics store similar to Fry's Electronics (RIP) or Micro Center. I personally have never been, as it was farther away from either when I've lived in Houston, and it's smaller than either of them.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen / 18550 Northwest Freeway
A lonely Popeyes sits by itself, built in 2001, but it has remained in business (it didn't have the "Louisiana Kitchen" name initially, that came later starting with a late-2000s rebranding).

Bobcat of Houston / 18340 Northwest Fwy.
Bobcat of Houston (construction equipment) opened here in 1999. In 2015, the building was partially reconstructed to allow for freeway right of way, tearing down the front of the building but adding a new addition to the side.

Public Storage / 18106 Northwest Freeway
This sprawling self-storage complex has been here since the 1990s. In the early 2010s, it assumed its current brand, Public Storage (previously Morningstar Mini-Storage). It sits at the northeast corner of Steeple Way Blvd. and Northwest Freeway, the other side has an apartment complex, a building of which faces the freeway. Unlike some of the apartments beyond Beltway 8, these apartments have no access from the freeway. However, the apartments, currently Kessler Jersey Village Apartments (11011 Pleasant Colony Drive) This used to be The Promenade Jersey Village and between February 2020 and early 2022 changed the name to what they have now. It was Trails of Steeplechase at least from 2000 to 2006 but had the Promenade name as of late 2007. The apartments were built in 1995.

AutoSavvy Houston Northwest / 17930 Northwest Fwy.
As AutoSavvy is a chain (and has a location at 7620 Bellaire), this is also known as "AutoSavvy Houston Northwest".

This building has been a used car dealership for several years. In 2016, the building was renovated from its previous use to become DriveTime. Between 2020 and 2021 it became "ASM Cars" (with a repaint), then became AutoSavvy by late 2021.

Prior to DriveTime's renovation, there were two buildings, the building on the south side having an overhang on the left side. In 2014, it was "Smart Choice Auto Group", and before Smart Choice consolidated the two buildings, there was All American Customs (now at 17650 NW Freeway) on the right side and Capital Pawn on the left. Both shared the address.

Just to the west of AutoSavvy (and east of Kessler's property) was 18002 Northwest Freeway. This was a small used car dealership called Standard Auto Sales, featuring a little shack with the Texas flag painted on the roof. In 2016, the same year DriveTime opened, Standard Auto Sales closed. By 2021, the site was razed and eventually repaved for an expansion ASM Cars/Auto Savvy's space.

Gulf Pacific Rice Company / 12010 Taylor Road
Gulf Pacific Rice Company (aka Sarita Rice or Gulf Rice Milling), a rice milling operation here since 1954 and built by the Moore family as a rice dryer (the grandson of the original builder still had a role at the plant as of January 2015). Unfortunately, my pictures of the rice mill (Gulf Pacific since '89, when the company was founded) aren't that good. Gulf Pac has dozens of clients (even big ones like Udi's and Kelloggs) and makes most of the bagged store brand rice (not just H-E-B, but even farther away chains like Hy-Vee, and there isn't a Hy-Vee in probably a thousand miles) since switching to domestic production in the 1990s. There's trucks going in and out all the time (most of the rice is grown in Arkansas area). Gulf Pacific also has Taylor Laboratories at their address, which is an in-house testing lab for QA and testing. I visited this plant, I should know (but they never called back about the job they said they were going to offer me, a pity). There used to be a billboard for "Perry Pools" that's been there as long as I can remember, though it was torn down in 2015. I'm guessing it was torn down for the frontage road rebuild. You can see it in WHA, Google Street View, or a YouTube video I made entitled "Northwest Free" to see it though! At some point in the early 2010s, they replaced the static Gulf Pacific logo (facing south) with an LED board advertising Sarita Rice and occasionally other advertisements (job openings, employee of the month, their Twitter handle).

There's also an active railroad spur that has a few cars on it at any given time.

Tuff Shed / 7935 Wright Road
Tuff Shed moved here in 2013, and features a sign that blinks rapidly (deliberately). has created a sign that blinks rapidly. It shares the address with "A Discount Storage" (or "A Discount Mini Storage") and Two Men and a Truck (a business-within-a-business at the self storage place). Tuff Shed's place prior to 2013 used to be "Houston RV Center".

SignCo America / 7938 Wright Road
This one's a bit of a tragedy. Sparkle Sign Company was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, they don't offer tours to the general public, and in summer 2018, rebranded to Signco America, presumably as part of a buyout. This not only removed all the unique and colorful signs on the 290 side of the building but even seemed to clean up the "sign graveyard", which included an older McDonald's sign (among others). Was it, and others, destroyed? From October 2015, here's a night shot (regrettably very blurry) of all the signs in action. Here's a bonus picture, of a Landry's sign visible from Wright Road, taken earlier that year.

Quality Suites / 17550 Northwest Freeway
The Comfort Suites here was rebranded as Quality Suites sometime between 2011 and 2017.

17504 Northwest Freeway
This small strip has a Starbucks Coffee and for a period of at least seven years had a "Philly Connection" cheesesteak place (still around in 2015, long after others on the route had closed--it was the third one visible en route), and word is on HAIF that the plaza used to be one of the "unmanned gas stations" with no store and no attendant. It was a Shell, though because it was demolished in 2003, I don't remember it.


At this point, the east side of the highway crosses into the inner enclave of Jersey Village, while the west side remains industrial. The extension of Jones Road blasts through some trees to FM 529, this was completed circa 2011 and added a railroad crossing for the first time. It is a constantly busy intersection (it provides an alternative to getting to FM 529 without using the frontage roads and vice versa) and I've dealt with this one twice. The first time, I made the mistake of getting off at Jones when I was trying to go to Hempstead Road a few months ago on a road trip, and the light was the longest I remember sitting through in a long time. The second time, I got off at FM 529 on a wrong turn and had to sit in line to get out (a train was waiting too, even). It wasn't until late 2018 when it finally proved useful by providing a way to get back on the freeway (and the Beltway ramps) from FM 529, saving at least three stoplights.

Exxon / 17438 Northwest Freeway
The Exxon here at the corner of Jones Road and 290 was originally not branded as a convenience store brand but by the early 2010s gained the Timewise brand a few years before it had to go for freeway widening. The Exxon sign was covered with a tarp for months before re-emerging with a new logo on the rebuilt station. The new slightly downsized lot featured a new Timewise convenience store but a permanent casualty was a drive-through car wash.

Northwest Village / 17414 Northwest Freeway
You can see a PDF of the center as it appeared around late 2020 here. Some notes regarding that:

Los Cucos Mexican Cafe / 17386 Northwest Freeway
Los Cucos was a Monterey House back in 1989 and became a Monterey's Tex-Mex Cafe soon after, finally transitioning to Monterey's Little Mexico in 1994. It closed in 2006 and became Los Cucos in 2007.

Hartz Chicken Buffet / 17340 Northwest Freeway
Hartz was a Tinsley's Chicken 'n Rolls back in 1981 but closed sometime around the mid-1980s following the chain's dismantling and sale to Church's Chicken (which operated from 1985 to 2005). It became a restaurant known as Burger Depot in 2005 which closed less than two years later. It became Hartz Chicken Buffet sometime around 2008 (from 2005 to 2007 it was recently-closed independent shop Burger Depot).

Shell / 17342 Northwest Freeway
Super K Food Mart (with Valero branding) was here, having converted from a Diamond Shamrock with Stop N Go (it's unknown as to why the convenience store went independent as opposed to converting to a Corner Store, as almost all of the others did). It did end up closing due to the freeway construction in 2018 but it rebuilt as a Shell with a new convenience store (Fuel Time) with a new fuel canopy between it and Hartz.

The convenience store's lineage starts with a 7-Eleven in 1983 which was sold to Stop N Go in 1987. Presumably the gas station went from Citgo to Diamond Shamrock in the 1990s.

Moonlight Inn & Suites / 17140 Northwest Fwy.
This cheap, off-brand motel was Executive Inn & Suites until 2015. If it had any other name between 1999 (when it was built) and 2007 is unknown.

Superior Subaru of Houston / 17100 Northwest Freeway
This property was believed to be used as a location of Houston Garden Centers in the late 1990s and much of the 2000s (link) but archived searches say it's for Houston Plants & Garden rather than Houston Garden Centers, which seems more likely given a different sign and the lack of HGC's characteristic red and yellow striping. In 2017, work began on the site for Superior Subaru of Houston.

Arsham Scrap Metal Inc. / 11280 Charles Road
During most evenings and afternoons you can get a good view of Arsham Scrap Metal Inc. as the traffic tends to clog up right outside of it. Here's a 2013 view from my filming attempt, but it was repainted in late 2014. Here's another picture from January 2016.

Champion Forest Baptist Church - Jersey Village / 16518 Jersey Drive
What was Jersey Village Baptist Church for a number of years uses a side street as a main address instead of Northwest Freeway, since originally it was a small church at the corner of Jersey Drive and Rio Grande Street. Only around 2003 did it add a large parking lot and facade off of the freeway and in 2008 the new sanctuary building was built. According to Southern Baptist Convention's records the church was founded in 1955, but in 1953 Jersey Village hadn't even begun building the streets yet. In 2016, it became part of Champion Forest Baptist Church, and soon renamed to "Champion Forest Baptist Church - Jersey Village".

Red Roof Inn / 16884 Northwest Freeway
Built in 1985 as a Comfort Inn (which it was at least as of 1989), it changed hands in the early 1990s and was rebranded as Motel 6, which it would be until the summer of 2018, when it became Super 7 Inn. By 2021 it was a Red Roof Inn, returning to a branded hotel name.

Taqueria Arandas / 16822 Northwest Freeway
Located in front of the motel, the facade of this Taqueria Arandas got mauled in the construction (it looked similar to what it does now, except it had curved "solarium" windows). It was originally a Kettle (closed sometime around 1996-1997), and opened as Taquerias Arandas around late 2001.

FM 529 to BELTWAY 8

Just beyond this is one of the biggest milestones along U.S. 290, with the enormous US-290/Beltway 8 five stack. This section covers the freeway from Charles Road (again, in theory, if it crossed the railroad) up to the Little York Park & Ride ramp.

It may be hard to believe now, but even into the 1990s and early 2000s this was where "Houston" took off. A smaller Fairfield and some highway-side development like gas stations technically existed, and of course, by FM 1960 you were definitely in developed urban territory (though even that was far less developed), but Beltway 8 was a literally physical boundary that was the guardian between "there" and "here".

Social Security Administration - Jersey Village / 16200 Dillard Drive
This Social Security office opened in 2009, and I included this because there's almost nothing to cover in between Senate and FM 529 anymore.

Until around 2012, there were a number of large signs near Beltway 8 that protruded above the freeway, for Taco Bell, Wendy's, and McDonald's (east side), and Chevron and Jack in the Box (west side)...if you were heading southeast toward Houston. As odd as it may seem, my best memories of driving through Houston included these, especially with my then-new iPod (November 2009 en route to Louisiana!) providing memorable tunes along the way, including "Red Barchetta" and "Death and All His Friends" (Rush and Coldplay, comments on taste), which for years I heavily associated with this intersection.

From north to south, we had the following:

In March 2013, I managed to finally take a picture of them, but by that time, they were already shut tight (these were shut down in fall 2012). Interestingly, the pictures by Oscar "Erik" Slotboom published on his website was taken the exact same day. What an amazing coincidence! These pictures first appeared on my College Station-centric blog, Brazos Buildings & Businesses. Some of these are my friend's pictures, but he's given me permission to use them. As they're a bit much to describe in this one page, I've written parts on the "east side" businesses, with McDonald's (16001 Northwest Freeway), Wendy's (16006 Northwest Freeway), and Taco Bell all at The Houston Files. The ultimate reason they were torn down was a new longer ramp for Gessner/Senate access, and the businesses on both sides did not have enough room. Additionally, some of my old pictures included looking looking out toward Brake Check as well as a few others from other sources, like the Google Street View of McDonald's when it was still open, with the angle of looking up the sign, as well as the Bing Birds Eye view of Wendy's and Jersey Village Automotive.

15830 Northwest Freeway
Seeing as the convenience store still stands, the most noteworthy thing on the east side of the freeway was a Chevron gas station, and that Chevron NEVER changed their sign from the solid red and blue when the rest did circa 2007-2008. I got a shot of the sign but better photos are from WHA and Houston Freeways (linked above). The sign existed for far longer than I expected it to, finally being torn down sometime around May 2015. Luckily, I got pictures of it and a few good views of it, and I'm thankful it stood for as long as it did. Google Maps Street View pictures are here and here. I took a few more pictures from my car, but they're not that great. Notice how the text pops out slightly: they don't make them like they used to. (August 2014, March 2015 1, March 2015 2).

There is a warehouse on the east side of the freeway at Hillcrest that I couldn't get the name or address of but everything else in this section has been torn down. To the south of the Chevron station (with its own driveway going back toward Senate) was a Jack in the Box (15824 Northwest Freeway, store 3649), which was built in the mid-1990s and closed about the same time the restaurants on the other side of the freeway did. Next to that was a Meineke Car Care Center (15820 Northwest Freeway) from 1996 until its 2012 closure.

To the south of the aforementioned Hillcrest warehouse was 15700 Northwest Freeway, better known as Saint Peter's Anglican Church. The church building was torn down between 2012 and 2013, but the church relocated.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the freeway was a large flooring store at 14900 Hempstead Road. This one was visible from the freeway easily, a large green warehouse known as Carpet, Texas when opened in February 2001. By the time it was closed and torn down in the early 2010s, it had morphed into a location of Jack's Carpet.

Finally, on the Hempstead Road side of the freeway (likely unable to see it from the main 290 portion) were three small businesses that were demolished at around the same time. There was Advanced Appliance & Electronics, which was was demolished late 2014 but closed prior to April 2011 at 15702 Hempstead Road. 15620 Hempstead Road, H&S Enterprises Inc., was a machine shop, and finally at 15602 Hempstead Road was AIRreSOURCE LLC aka Airsource.

Finally, here's a few more pictures from the old, original page of 290, views from Google I've collected below.

View from Beltway 8
View from the frontage road
View from above
View from...actually, I don't know where I got this, but it's the building in the Carpet Texas days

As a closing note, here's something interesting: two pictures from the perspective almost a year apart, on the WB frontage road under the five-stack before the first stoplight. There's a big difference, and it's not just between the stoplights...

Picture from March 2015 - from under the five-stack

Picture from January 2016 - from under the five-stack, same place

The journey continues beyond Beltway 8 at this page. You can also see Beltway 8 (eastbound) by clicking here.

Return to the Houston page | Email
Copyright 2021, this site is not affiliated with any businesses listed here. While accuracy is aimed for, this is an individual's work and not liable for any error here.