When the return of Youngblood’s Fried Chicken was announced, a lot of Texans with deep roots in the state and fond memories for the iconic chain’s food were thrilled. And the past few months have seen other old brands get a revival in various parts of the state, with Austin’s nostalgia for all things Austin leading the charge: A new Taco Flats, a new Vulcan Gas Company, etc, etc. As comedy writer Samantha Pitchel wrote on Twitter, Austin seems like it’s “about seven months away from a chain of food trucks called Liberty Lunch.”
In San Antonio, meanwhile, there’s an upscale bar and taco restaurant in the space that was once Tacoland, and which bears the former business’s name. (Whether that name is really appropriate for the establishment currently in that building is a matter of opinion.) Between what’s happening in Austin and San Antonio, and the relatively recent revival of even newer Houston restaurants like Yelapa Playa Mexicana as a temporary pop-up space and the clamoring for long-gone Dallas establishments to somehow reappear, the trend of new restaurants appearing with the names—and occasionally, menus and atmospheres—of beloved old ones is probably not going anywhere.
That’s something that our friends at Eater recognized, and decided to embrace as part of their “Classics Week.” At Eater Austin, Meghan McCarron suggested three iconic brands that are due for a comeback: Pig Stand, the Dallas-based chain that exists now as a one-restaurant business in San Antonio; The Night Hawk diner, which included locations in Austin and San Antonio before its Austin location was remade into The Frisco; and Leslie’s Chicken Shack, which was based out of Waco, because if Youngblood’s is returning, shouldn’t the chain’s archrival make a reappearance, as well?
Eater’s suggestions are good ones, but they’re hardly the only sorely-missed Texas restaurants that could do well if they were revived in the current climate: It’s easy to imagine Austin’s Holiday House being revived throughout the state, or the Arlington-based Uncle Van’s Pancake House, which operated restaurants from Victoria to Abilene, making a beloved comeback. Houston’s Felix Mexican Restaurant may have only met its end in 2008, but the chain that once included six restaurants would presumably be warmly received today.