Gulf history: This photograph of the gas station was taken around 1930. It was taken to promote the Kelvinator icebox, which allowed people to enjoy cold drinks outdoors. (Photo courtesy of Retrospect Coffee Bar's Facebook page)
The team behind the coffee bar have spent almost two years readying the building and the site. (Photo courtesy of Retrospect Coffee Bar's Facebook page)
Thanks to the "SashGuy," Retrospect was able to restore the original upper windows within eight months. (Photo courtesy of Retrospect Coffee Bar's Facebook page)
A long-closed Gulf gas station in Houston’s midtown is getting a makeover. The station, constructed in 1925, has been deserted for the past 30 years. After its life as a fueling station it was turned into a mural project by Houston artists, and the building will soon house a coffee shop.
Retrospect Coffee Bar is taking over the abandoned structure and plans to open this fall, says Stephen Harrison, Retrospect’s operating partner.
“We were approached by the property owner about possibly opening up a coffee shop in the structure about two years ago,” Harrison says. “They want to revamp the entire block into a destination called Almeda Yards.” Almeda Yards will also feature the Axelrad Beer Garden.
Retrospect’s goal is to keep things as local as possible. “We are proud to offer five different Houston roasters. Houston’s coffee-roasting scene has grown … and has really created its own identity. We will offer [each] on a rotating schedule,” Harrison says.
The coffee bar plans to serve beans from Katz Coffee (look out for their own Retrospect Coffee Bar house blend), Boomtown Coffee (Spindletop will be their standard espresso), Amaya Roasting Co., Java Pura, and Pearland Coffee Roasters.
Retrospect will also become the official storefront for Houston’s Honeychild’s Sweet Creams – frozen, handmade custards made from natural ingredients. According to Harrison, the coffee bar will offer Honeychild products “in multiple sizes and seasonal flavors … we are working hard on a couple of signature flavors for Retrospect to exclusively offer.” Retrospect will also serve provide fresh pastries and other local products. “There will also be a couple of spots built out for a revolving menu of food trucks,” Harrison notes.
Following a nine-month process, the coffee bar achieved Historical Landmark status and the people behind Retrospect plan to preserve the station’s original feel “At the time, they designed the stations to reflect the local community and to create a welcoming environment for the neighborhood,” Harrison says. “We have woven that philosophy into what Retrospect Coffee Bar is all about, and kept a piece of Houston history for others to enjoy.”
Check Retrospect’s Facebook page for announcements about an opening date.