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Local Restaurants Find Success Outside of Bryan-College Station

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

The Brazos Valley is known for its passion to go out to eat. Many restaurants have come and gone over the years, but a lucky few thrive and in some cases even expand.

Double Dave's Pizzaworks was started in 1984 in Aggieland and now it has locations all over the state.

But they're not the only locally started company that has gone on to feed the masses.

Blue Baker is a College Station staple known for its artisan bread, pizza, and freshly baked cookies.

Now you can find Blue Baker in Austin's Arboretum.

"It's fun for us to take what we worked on and compete in these major metro areas," said owner Dave Fox.

Fox opened the original Blue Baker in May, 2001 with 25 employees. Now the baker gives bread to 120 of them.

"In this business you can grow up to a point with one store, but to have opportunities for advancement you really have to have another location," said Fox.

"Our Aggie roots go deep," said Alan Lafevers with Freebirds World Burrito.

Freebirds World Burrito is another home rolled success that started on Northgate back in 1990. While it was founded in California, Freebirds considers College Station their home market, the place that put the monster burritos on the map. Now the burrito builders have 70 stores in Texas, Oklahoma and California. You can find their monster burritos surrounded by some monster sky scrapers.

"This misnomer is it started here in Austin. Just because of the uniqueness of our style. We're constantly having to correct people of that. Of course those are always the Longhorns that are trying to take credit something an Aggie did," said Lafevers.

"By Aggies for Aggies was the idea in the beginning," said Spoons general manager Eric Palmer.

Spoons frozen yogurt is another successful business that freezed up its first franchise back in 2009.

"We saw the way we were doing things on Texas Avenue and said, we can do this better," said Palmer.

Spoons now boasts eight locations including one in South Carolina and another in Kansas. The secret to their sweet success has had more to do with the local community and the organizations desire to dominate.

"We've got an amazing hot bed of knowledge, talent, and passion in Texas A&M. Not only that, we're becoming a younger town. With that young culture comes a drive to expand and be better ourselves and people don't want to go other places to get new things, they want it to be here," said Palmer.

Thanks to our smaller town stature becoming a success is never an overnight venture. While Spoons has sprinkled its sweetness over the state and country, Blue Baker is slowly baking up its brand.

"Most people in the real estate and development world hadn't heard of us and didn't know who we were and a lot of them didn't have an interest. So that was an uphill battle," said Fox.

Taking that step and emerging outside our corner of the world is a calculated risk that only few B/CS restaurants have tried.

"At our size, if you misstep than you're all done. Not only at our new location but possibly the others, so there is not a lot room for error," said Fox.

It's all to bring a taste of B/CS out to others and show that cuisine in a college town can happen.


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