Need lumber on Burnet Road?

By Terry Porter – BURO staff writer

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Home Lumber Company – 5705 Burnet Road

One of my favorite BURO businesses for over 50 years has been Home Lumber Company located across the street from Allandale Shopping Center. It has been owned by Frank Bomar and his family since the 40’s, I think. It has to be one of the oldest businesses on Burnet Road.

This is an old fashioned business. If you like cooky cutter hardware/lumber stores with no personality, Home Lumber is not your place. When you walk in the door you can feel the nostalgia. If you think this must be what a store looked like 50 years ago, you are right. Believe me Frank’s place hasn’t changed. There are no computers and modern cash registers. Frank still writes up my ticket in long hand and mails me a bill at the end of the month.

Frank was a friend of my dad and I tagged along with him many times to buy lumber and other supplies. They were both children of the depression and both could be cranky. My dad would ask how much something costs, then always gripe about the price. Dad would pick out lumber in the yard out back like he was searching through diamonds. And Frank would complain that he didn’t have time to wait around for him to find the perfect board because he had a business to run. It was all good natured fun and Dad always found what he needed.

I recently added on to my backyard deck and I purchased the lumber from Frank. Ken delivered it to my house at no charge just like he had countless times before for my dad.

If you need a specialty item for an old house you are restoring or live in, stop by Home Lumber. If Frank doesn’t have it in the back he will call around to his suppliers and find it.

There aren’t many mom and pop stores left and sadly Home Lumber won’t be around forever so stop by the next time you have a do-it-yourself project and you need lumber and nails. You can probably pick out your own lumber just like my dad.

Home Lumber Company
5705 Burnet Road
Austin, Texas 78756
512-459-6111

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Chicken Poop on Burnet Road

By Frank Campbell – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

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Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon on Burnet Road

Judy and I were watching the latest episode of SECRET PRINCES on TLC the other night when we spied a familiar sight.

The show is absolute trash but it’s fun to watch because it takes place right here in River City. The premise of the show is that four European princes (all bachelors), have come to Austin and gone undercover in search of the women of their dreams. They live in a home that’s worse than a frat house, have no jobs to speak of and very little money. They must win over a would-be “princess” based solely on their charms and personalities, not their titles and possessions.

In their search for true love the four young men visit many Austin restaurants, clubs and bars. On the latest episode they went to a venerable Buro establishment.

No, not the Poodle Dog Lounge. The men went to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for a spirited round of the legendary game of Chicken Shit Bingo. It was great to see Ginny’s on national television but I must confess that I’ve never been there.

One of these days, after the princes have left town, I might just have to stop by Ginny’s for a cold one some afternoon.

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BURO Editors’ Note: Frank Campbell is known to film fans as the writer of the film notes for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series in Austin, Texas. Frank authors a very popular blog – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan and we strongly encourage you to visit it!

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LUCY! You got some ‘splainin to do about Fried Chicken on Burnet Road!

By Frank Campbell – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

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Lucy’s Fried Chicken at 5408 Burnet Road

The recent opening of the new Lucy’s Fried Chicken at 5408 Burnet Road has stirred an ancient memory in me of another venerable fried chicken joint on Burnet.

Anybody out there remember Kirschner’s Cafe? It was located approximately across the street (on the east side) of Burnet from the new Lucy’s (which is in the old Austin Diner spot, which is now in North Loop Village). Kirschner’s Cafe was a small building constructed of white limestone blocks. There was a small dining room (which I never ate in that I can recall) and a drive up, to-go window.

On afternoons when my mom was getting her hair done and after I’d finished prowling the aisles of Shopper’s World lusting after all things Captain Action, we’d head over to Kirschner’s for some hot, greasy and delicious fried chicken to go for our Friday night dinner.

Kirschner’s was a great little family owned place that is long since gone but they served a lot of great fried chicken in their day.

By the way, has anyone eaten at Lucy’s on Burnet? BURO needs a new restaurant review from a reader who has dined there.

BURO Editors’ Note: Frank Campbell is known to film fans as the writer of the film notes for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series in Austin, Texas. Frank authors a very popular blog – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan and we strongly encourage you to visit it!

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Ahhh, those were the days on Burnet Road!

By Shari Gaertner

When my husband and I first moved to this area 30 years ago we were so excited. So many of our favorite stores were within walking distance of each other. During the week, we would eat supper at Pancho’s. We would then walk over to the small HEB to grab some groceries. Then we would head next door to Blockbuster to grab a video for the upcoming weekend.

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Austin’s Shari Gaertner takes a walk down the BURO memory lane.

Now Saturday mornings were a bit different. First thing Saturday morning, I would head to the strip center at the SW corner of Burnet and North Loop. I would get out of my car and go straight to Winns, in the middle of the strip center. There was always something I needed: fabric, toys for a birthday present, a turtle or fish in a fishbowl, underwear, cherry Icee . . Yep, always something I needed. After buying my necessities, I would go next door to Paul’s Interiors to look at the fancy bed linens and towels. Sometimes I would get a new shower curtain or some nice smelling soap. Now the dilemma! Did I want to walk across North Loop and eat mexican food at La Margaritas? Or did I want to walk behind the strip center and eat at Lubys Cafeteria? Both places were great and we got to know most of the regular employees. I would make a decision, eat, and as I walked back to my car I would make one stop. I would stop at the corner grocery store (where Savers is now) and get anything that I forgot earlier in the week.

Some Saturday afternoons took me in the opposite direction on Burnet Road. I would drop off my car at the car wash at Burnet Road and Greenlawn. I would cross Burnet Road and go straight to Tuesday Morning. After TM, I would browse the strip center because there was always some kind of purse or jewelry store to visit. Hours seemed to fly by and I would stop by Taco Bell for take-home food. Sometimes, I would walk south to Justin Lane, to Thundercloud Subs, for a sandwich. I would go back to get my car and drive home.

When my 23 year old was young, my husband and I biked around the neighborhood on a tandem bike with a child seat attached. The three of us would bike to The Omletry and eat a late breakfast. We would then go across the street to Sound Warehouse. That was the best place to buy Disney videos. We would hang out in that store for hours, until nap-time. We got back on our bike and headed home.

Ahhh, those were the days!

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Pancho’s is Calling!

By Frank Campbell – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

Shhh!

panchosburnetroadListen!

I hear something!

Is it?

Could it be?

Yes, it is!

I hear Pancho’s calling!

Pancho’s Mexican restaurant/cafeteria occupied a corner space in the Allandale Village shopping center on Burnet Road for many years back in the ’70s and ’80s. Pancho’s, for those unfortunate souls who may have never had the privilege of dining there, had a brilliantly simple way of serving food.

You grabbed a tray and went through a line, cafeteria style. You could fill your plate with whatever you wanted: enchiladas of various kinds, tamales, beans, rice, chile rellenos, tacos, etc. Then you sat down at a table and started eating. If, at any point during your meal, you wanted more food, you simply raised the small little Mexican flag on your table, a signal to a waitperson to bring you more of the food of your choice.

Pancho’s was an all-you-can eat gut down of a Mexican restaurant. I often joked that they needed to have a white flag for you to raise when you were full. And believe me, when you left Pancho’s, you were FULL. Meals consumed at Pancho’s had a tendency to, as Andy Taylor once said, “sit heavy on your chest.”

The food was extremely cheap, extremely plentiful and, let’s face it, extremely mediocre (except for the divine sopapillas). But that didn’t stop us from dining there regularly when we were college students with little money to spend on eating out.

My father-in-law used to dine there also and he tells me he used to have a “Pancho for President” bumper sticker on his car.

Pancho’s is long gone from the Burnet Road scene but I often long to hear Pancho sound the call for dinner just one more time.

 

BURO Editors’ Note: Frank Campbell is known to film fans as the writer of the film notes for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series in Austin, Texas. Frank authors a very popular blog – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan and we strongly encourage you to visit it!

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Putters and Crutches on Burnet Road

By Marjorie Matetzschk

crutchesI had a horrible experience on Burnet Road in the early 80’s. Most people who have this kind of thing happen are very outdoorsy and athletic.  I am neither.

It was a Friday night, my oldest daughter and her roommate were home from college and we were in Austin having a pleasant evening.  Been out to eat and decided to play miniature golf. It is now just an overgrown lot beside a storage building. Well, all was going well until i turned my ankle fell on the board that goes around the lane, broke my leg and oh the pain. I had never had a broken Bone before and had no idea how bad the pain could be. Went by ambulance (first ambulance ride also) to st David’s hospital. In a cast for nine months and would have much rather had another baby in that nine months and gone through labor which was not as painful as that broken leg.

Say Burnet Road to me and a sharp pain goes down my leg and trying to explain the horrible break was miniature golfing accident was not easy.

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Burnet Road in the 1950s

By Steve Cook – BURO Editor

I found these old Burnet Road photos on The Portal to Texas History website – enjoy!

 

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Burnet Road ACTION!

By Frank Campbell – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

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Captain Action at Shopper’s World on Burnet Road

When I was a kid, my mother used to go to a beauty parlor located in the shopping center at the northwest corner of Burnet Road and North Loop. The shopping center is still there,by the way, and underwent a complete make over a few years ago.

My mother would go to the parlor on Friday afternoons, after I got out of school. Sometimes I’d go with her because while she was getting her hair done, I was free to roam the aisles of Shopper’s World, a discount department store in the shopping center.

Shopper’s World on Burnet Road had a lot of cool stuff, especially toys. I bought my first Captain Action action figure there. Captain Action was an action figure, okay damn it, a DOLL, made by Ideal Toy Company in the mid-1960s. He was similar in size and articulation to the first generation G.I.Joe. What made Captain Action special was that he could turn into different super-heroes. All you had to do was purchase a separate costume set (yes, damn it, they were DOLL clothes) and Captain Action could become Superman, Batman, Captain America, Nick Fury, Aquaman, The Lone Ranger, Steve Canyon or Buck Rogers. Other heroes’ costumes came later, as did his sidekick, Action Boy and his arch nemesis, Dr. Evil.

I have some cool reproductions of several of the Captain Action figures and costume sets but the originals are extremely expensive and highly sought after by vintage toy collectors.

But in 1966, Shopper’s World had all of the Captain Action stuff a kid could want. And at a pretty cheap price too.

Boy, those were the days!

BURO Editors’ Note: Frank Campbell is known to film fans as the writer of the film notes for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series in Austin, Texas. Frank authors a very popular blog – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan and we strongly encourage you to visit it!

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Mexicana y Americana on Burnet Road

By Frank Campbell – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

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Clint Eastwood talks to the trees at the Americana Theater on Burnet Road

There are three places that I want to mention today, only one of which is actually on Burnet Road. The other two are very close by and are important to the history of the area.

The first is the long gone El Chico’s Mexican restaurant, located at the southwest corner of Burnet and Hancock. Uncle Billy’s is the current resident of this building but back in the 1960s, El Chico restaurants were everywhere. I think the first Mexican food I ever ate was at the old El Chico’s in Hancock Shopping Center.

Heading west on Hancock from Burnet, there’s the recently closed Jorge’s, another Mexican restaurant (but far better than El Chico!). Jorge’s closed earlier this year and a new restaurant has opened in the building. Sorry, I can’t recall the name of the establishment. I ate many a meal at Jorge’s over the years. When I lived on Placid Place in Central Austin, Jorge’s was the closest and best Mexican restaurant to my house. The food was always good and the margaritas were incredibly potent. Trivia: the building was originally built to house a location of the Montana Mining Company, a steakhouse chain that folded in the ’70s.

Finally, across the street from Jorge’s on the north side of Hancock was the legendary Americana Theatre. It’s now a branch location of the Austin public library but in it’s time, the Americana was the premier first run movie house in Austin. Some of the movies I saw there over the years include: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, PATTON, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, CHINATOWN, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, CABARET, GONE WITH THE WIND, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, MAROONED, DAS BOOT, ROBOCOP and PAINT YOUR WAGON.

What did you see at the Americana?

BURO Editors’ Note: Frank Campbell is known to film fans as the writer of the film notes for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series in Austin, Texas. Frank authors a very popular blog – Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan and we strongly encourage you to visit it!

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Handy Andy on Burnet Road

By Terry Porter – native Austinite.

Handy Andy on Burnet Road
Handy Andy on Burnet Road

My first job was at the Handy Andy at North Loop and Burnet Road. The year was 1972 and my dad told me I had to get a summer job since I was 16. My mom had shopped at Handy Andy so I was familiar with the store.

It was mid May and I went by the store after school on a Friday to put in my application, hoping I wouldn’t get hired and not expecting to be interviewed that same day. Unfortunately, the assistant manager handed me the application and suggested I complete it right there. In those days they didn’t ask many questions, probably only if I had been arrested……recently. Stupidly, I said no and he asked me if I could start the next day at 9:00 AM. Great.

I arrived at 9 dressed in the sacker uniform of blue jeans, white long sleeve shirt, and neck tie (underwear optional). I added my own personal touch, white Chuck Taylor’s. The night before my dad taught me the mystical secrets of proper sacking; cans on the bottom of the sack with light weight stuff on top, cold stuff in a separate sack, ice cream double sacked. I had to write it down.

Saturday at the grocery store was the busiest day of the week and I worked my butt off. I brought my lunch and ate in the workers lounge with my cousin who worked there too. Everyone else in the lounge but me smoked and I lost 5% of my lung capacity over my ham sandwich that day. Note to self, eat on the picnic tables outside next Saturday.

Being young and dumb, I never asked when I was supposed to punch out that afternoon. I had never heard of an eight hour workday job. Heck, I didn’t know how to spell job. At about 8:30 PM, the night manager told me that employees who worked until closing at 9 on Saturday’s had to clean out the warehouse (stores were closed on Sundays back then). I said OK and didn’t want to let on I was tired and hungry but he could see I was dragging. He asked me what time I started that day and I said 9 AM. I almost got fired the first day for working too many hours. Never made that mistake again.

I actually enjoyed working at Handy Andy that summer. I even enjoyed carrying groceries for the old women who lived in the French Quarter between the store and Luby’s. It was hard work but I was a member of the working force, earning the generous minimum wage of $1.36 per hour.

Every kid should work at least one summer at a grocery store. Even better if its on Burnet Road.

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