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HK Dodgen Loop




Unless I'm cutting through to Belton or Killeen more directly, Loop 363 is the "introduction" to Temple, and I've always kind of liked it. Maybe it was because it was associated with road trips, maybe because it bore a passing resemblance to the way College Station used to be (including an extant Mazzio's that lasted for well over a decade after the College Station store closed), maybe it was because it acted as an extension of Waco (the greater area is sometimes referred to "Waco-Temple-Killeen"), and I like Waco too.

Today, most of SW HK Dodgen Loop is a modern freeway with frontage roads, exits, shoulders (inner and outer), overhead signs, and concrete barriers, far better than the dowdier Earl Rudder Freeway. Until around the late 2000s, this wasn't the case, as the highway was hardly a freeway at all, with crossovers between the mainlanes, outdated exit geometry (if it even had exits at all), and poor lighting. This section covers 363 between I-35 and the South 5th Street overpass. Odd numbered buildings are on the south side of the freeway, even numbers on the north.

Going south, 363 turns into TX-95, which intersects 290 in Elgin (the 95 designation jogs east along 290 before going south again), while to the east, eventually intersects with US-79 in Milano.

This would connect to US-290 in Houston if there isn't a gap in Milano, and there we could have a continuous series of pages down there, but there isn't, so it ends here. Version 4.0 of this page adds Baylor Scott & White Clinic - Temple South Loop, Smile Doctors Braces (former Golden Corral), 1521 SW H K Dodgen Loop (former Rice Etc./Popeyes), Taco Bell, updates 2416 SW HK Dodgen Loop (the former Fazoli's, just misplaced) and Denny's (missed restaurant). It also cleans up some leftovers at the bottom of the page.

SOUTH GENERAL BRUCE DRIVE (INTERSTATE 35) to OAKDALE DRIVE / SOUTH 57TH STREET

Interstate 35 east of the highway was recently widened and depressed as part of a major I-35 rebuild. See our
I-35 page here, but the intersection was reconstructed at this point with Loop 363's expansion several years earlier.

Jack in the Box / 3608 SW H K Dodgen Loop
Jack in the Box was originally at 3606 until the highway was widened to be a full freeway in this section, and the original had to be demolished. The current restaurant was built in 2006.

Bob Mills Furniture / 2100 S. 61st Street
This former Lubbock-based Lacks Furniture (closed at the end of 2010) reopened as Bob Mills in spring 2012.

OAKDALE DRIVE / SOUTH 57TH STREET to SOUTH 31ST STREET

2416 S.W. H.K. Dodgen Loop
A former Fazoli's, see our in-house Former Fazoli's list! It has yet to be reopened as anything else.

Baylor Scott & White Clinic - Temple South Loop / 2601 Thornton Lane
This BS&W Clinic still has (according to their website and the latest Google Street View) the old Scott & White logo and branding, but it was as Wal-Mart from 1984 to 1991, when it relocated to 3401 S. 31st Street (which has since been expanded into a Supercenter). Before Wal-Mart, it was a Gibson's discount store from 1968 to around 1983 when the chain collapsed.

Scott & White has been here since the mid-1990s.

Smile Doctors Braces / 2113 SW H K Dodgen Loop
This dental office is in a former Golden Corral, operated roughly from 1995 to 2011 (appears to be a gap before the new Golden Corral was built in 2013 on I-35). Royal Buffet (Chinese buffet) operated from 2013 to 2014 with some modificiations to the entrances, but by April 2015 it was Central Texas Smile Doctors (rebranded to its current name between 2018 and 2019).

1902 SW H K Dodgen Loop
This restaurant opened as an Olive Garden around 1991 and closed in 2002, with the replacement, Yank Sing Chinese Restaurant, opening soon after. It resembles its sister restaurant in Killeen (a former Luby's where 23 people were killed in a 1993 shooting), but closed recently; the last Yelp review was January 2019. The Killeen location remains open.

1521 SW H K Dodgen Loop
This defunct restaurant suffers from access problems, with no entrance from either the "MarketPlace" shopping center's parking lot, nor Market Loop. The most recent restaurant here, Rice Etc. Asian Kitchen, operated from 2013 to 2021. Other former restaurants here include New Baytown Seafood Express (2007-2013) and Popeyes (1995 to roughly 2006).

Denny's / 1420 SW H K Dodgen Loop
This former Mazzio's maintained their old 1980s logo into the late 2000s. A Facebook question asks why it closed so abruptly, and that's dated to November 2013. Another restaurant, Bay Street Steak & Grille, opened here in November 2018 but closed by the next summer. The new Denny's opened in fall 2020 and is the first in Temple since the one off I-35 (the old Kettle) closed. (See the I-35 page for that one).

Kohl's / 3170 S. 31st Street
One of the main anchors of the "MarketPlace" shopping center (the other being an H-E-B), this Kohl's was originally a Montgomery Ward from 1983 and shuttered at the end of the chain's life (early 2001) but remained with signage up a few years afterward. The Kohl's opened in September 2011 according to this article. As Montgomery Ward, its address was 3002A S. 31st Street.

Whataburger / 1415 SW H K Dodgen Loop
I remember stopping at this Whataburger sometime in late 2016 or early 2017 after a day of outside work at a ranch. While the cold drink and the protein of the hamburger revived my spirits, I was intrigued by the large, "Playplace" part of the building, as if it had a playground at one point. The room was closed to the public (it was used as employee offices/storage, apparently) and while the thought of Whataburger having a playground wasn't out of the question (I seem to recall a kid's meal mascot, for instance) it hadn't actually occurred to me that it was in fact not a Whataburger to begin with, having been a Burger King opened in 1999 but closed within a decade. It was seized by U.S. Marshals in November 2004 (it did not reopen) and in November 2007 was reopened as a Whataburger. Before Whataburger was built, a Pizza Hut was here from 1991 to 1997.

Starbucks / 1313 SW H K Dodgen Loop
This Starbucks was opened as a Golden Chick (Golden Fried Chicken) in 1999 and became Starbucks Coffee in April 2004 (probably closing as Golden Chick in late 2003).

Taco Bell / 1201 SW H K Dodgen Loop
The Taco Bell here changed its store number (2308) and address (3002 South 31st Street, the number of the whole plaza) in 2014 to the Dodgen Loop address and a new store number (30125) without rebuilding. Despite looking nothing like the original 1983 store, BCAD indicates the building is original to 1983 (though it likely expanded if that was the case, and the building does tend to suggest that).

SOUTH 31st STREET to VETERANS MEMORIAL DRIVE

Temple Mall / 3111 S. 31st Street
I have yet to visit Temple Mall, and perhaps I'll make a full page on it someday. In the meantime, here is the Wikipedia page.

Lowe's / 605 S.W. HK Dodgen Loop
The Lowe's here opened in June 1996 and adjacent to its own named road, Lowes Drive, which actually goes into residential neighborhoods and has several houses off of it.

The Barrington / 401 S.W. H. K. Dodgen Loop
The Barrington Suites and Apartments (opened 1984) sounds like a winner in theory, with its close-to-Scott & White location for long-term (month) stays but reviews are mixed. It does not seem to really run with the idea of a motel/apartment hybrid, there's a shared pool but no on-site restaurant/coffee shop.

Sunny's / 321 SW HK Dodgen Loop
I'm not sure if it's related to the Sunny's convenience stores in Houston (in fact, I'm not sure if the Houston stores are related to each other) but this gas station, formerly a Mobil, converted to a generic gas station that basically resembles an ersatz Exxon with yellow instead of red, almost like a royalty-free version of more famous brands.

Saigon Cafe / 220 SW HK Dodgen Loop
This restaurant has been Saigon Cafe since 2010. Other restaurants here included Mulligan's Grill (1988-1989), Emperors of China (1992-1993), and Mr. Fajita's Buffet (1994-2004). In the early 2010s I visited it with my brother and father as Saigon Cafe. At the time I thought it was pretty good but otherwise I can't remember much of it, including what I actually ordered. Next to Saigon Cafe, across from Fryers Creek Lane, is the sad and strange tale of Cactus Jack's.

Gather 'round for the tale: Cactus Jack's at 300 SW H.K. Dodgen Loop was built in 1976 as a different business (from 1976 to sometime around 2003 it was "Market Street Cafe") but the history of Cactus Jack's has a truly bizarre history. It was founded as Cactus Jack's Steak House in 2003 (from numerous records including BBB and state taxpayer records) by a woman named Donna Passentino (due to some references saying Passentino founded the restaurant in 2005, it's possible that Passentino bought it out). Before Passentino's death in 2011, the restaurant had a dinner menu with steaks and other entrees, but despite the restaurant attempting to carry on, by 2012 the restaurant dropped the food options and was simply a bar with no mention of food. (The "Steak House" remained on the signage). Signage outside mentioned looking for a new food partner to convert it to a Mexican restaurant, and in 2013, it became Cactus Jack's Sushi Bar & Japanese Restaurant (that was short lived), and became Cactus Jack's Sports Cantina in 2014. A few years after that, Brody's Steakhouse moved in (from a different location) as a restaurant-within-a-bar moved in, before the whole place burned to the ground in November 2019 from an improperly disposed cigarette, and there's video evidence to show for it. The general manager vowed to rebuild, though nothing has happened since.

The highway ends here, even though there's a stoplight at Veterans Memorial. It used to have ramps and flyovers, though in both directions, Loop 363 is effectively squeezed into one lane for the bypass part.
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