H-E-B Announces That the Buffalo Grille Is Moving — Somewhere

A spokesperson for Buffalo Grille parking-lot tenant H-E-B confirms that the popular West U brunch-and-lunch spot will be moving from its current location on Bissonnet at Buffalo Speedway after its lease expires next year, “to a new location yet to be determined.” But one possible new location for the Buffalo Grille — a portion of the former JMH Market on Rice Blvd. — was just snapped up by the owners of Thompson + Hansen Nursery and Tiny Boxwood’s. The Buffalo Grille’s John McAleer tells the West University Examiner

“Right now…pickings are very slim. Any vacant space in the West U area, or the closest you can get to it, we’re looking at it. We have a year left, and we’re looking at that perfect location to find.”

How awkward: McAleer’s parents, Mac and Betty McAleer, “are part of the management team that owns the land on which the Buffalo Grille and H-E-B are situated,” the Examiner‘s Charlotte Aguilar and Steve Mark explain. And Molina’s Restaurant — displaced from the shopping center a few years ago when H-E-B redeveloped it — is still looking for its own replacement West U location.


Back in February, John McAleer told the West U city council that a lack of parking was the issue. The 26-year-old Buffalo Grille typically has the largest number of customers on weekends — which is also a popular time of the week for H-E-B shoppers. McAleer said H-E-B officials were worried that a lack of parking spots was sending potential customers to the Kroger across Buffalo Speedway.

Photo: West University Examiner

21 Comment

  • Who owns the land under Buffalo Grille?

  • It’s true, at least in an incedental fashion- I’ve gone to the Kroger across the street because I couldn’t get parking at HEB, but after this, I don’t think I’ll ever be going back.
    I’m fed up with how agressive HEB is: moving in across from the Fiesta in Montrose, across from the Kroger on BSpdwy, and now kicking out a Houston culinary landmark so they can get more parking?

    Guys, you moved in across from the highest volume Kroger in Texas and you didn’t think parking would be an issue? Get real.

  • Geez, who didn’t see this coming?

  • This is not going to endear them to the neighborhood – especially if Buffalo Grille can’t find another location in the near vicinity. HEB is lucky that their location is much more convenient for me, otherwise this might cause me to switch.

  • Gripe if you must, but the HEB has created huge competition in the immediate area and the resulting lower prices benefit everyone. Honestly, isn’t it great watching Kroger and HEB try to outdo each other?

  • Why did they build the brand new bank there? I would think that pad site would provide plenty more parking.

  • “McAleer’s parents, Mac and Betty McAleer, “are part of the management team that owns the land on which the Buffalo Grille and H-E-B are situated,” the Examiner’s Charlotte Aguilar and Steve Mark explain.”

    Then, while I’m sorry for the guy for being done in by his parents, or at least by some business decisions they made a while back, I can’t say that I’m going to rail against the big, evil H-E-B.

  • And the moral of the story is if you don’t own your own land, you can’t always control your future.

  • The Houston BBB refuses to let HEB join due to unethical and misleading advertising. Why am I not surprised about this?

  • i thought the family that owned the buffalo grille also owned the land and entire shopping center. i was under the impression that the family did a ground lease for the land to heb and were going to pay them rent for the space they used for the restaurant. why didn’t they give themselves more options to extend their lease if they did the negotiating with heb in the first place. anyone care to comment? does heb own the land or is it a ground lease? there were 2 tracts the buffalo center and the old lubys property.

  • Well, here’s an option. Hollywood Video has closed in the center at Weslayan and Bissonnett – same center as Bering Hardware. Great West U location for Buffalo Grille or Molinas.

  • RussellW, I can think of a couple of problems with the Hollywood Video location. One is that the corner of that mall has had alot of restaurants pass through there. Did they flame out, or move on for other reasons? The answer to that question would be interesting. Also, the Hollywood Video’s lease rate was *expensive* – I suspect that it could only be paid by another retailer.

  • I don’t recall a restaurant ever being in that location. There was a Pizza Place where the Wachovia was, and something else prior to that. I’m sure that strip does have expensive lease rates. I believe that Hollywood Video went bust – if they negotiated out of the lease or just walked – I don’t know.

  • From Heights11 years:
    The Houston BBB refuses to let HEB join due to unethical and misleading advertising. Why am I not surprised about this?

    April 5, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Do you have proof of that? I love HEB, consistently has better prices and quality of goods than Kroger or Randalls. HEB is a Texas founded and Texas owned business, I have no beef with them whatsoever. Such is the price of business these days.

    You don’t think McAleer saw this coming? They’re probably going to make out like a bandit too with the center taking over the space.

  • Finn – go to the Houston BBB website. The BBB demanded that they stop running misleading ads before they would be considered for membership. According to the BBB, Scott McClellen refused to stop. The BBB has always considered comparison pricing to be misleading – after all, even Randall’s could say they are lower on a bascart comparison. HEB is one of the most ethically challenged companies around. Sure, run competitive prices in Houston and gauge all of the small towns where they’ve pushed out the competition.

  • Heights11years: OK, I went and read the report on the Houston BBB site. Color me unconvinced. Frankly, I agree with HEB about the value of comparison advertising. There’s nothing unethical about it as long as you’re truthful, and if HEB wasn’t being truthful you can bet that Kroger, Randall’s, etc. would have sued.

    And I don’t see BBB membership as a big deal, there are plenty of disreputable businesses that are BBB members- just look at the complaint logs, HEB only has 3 complaints filed against them in the past 3 years here in Houston. That’s pretty solid.

    Believe me, I’m not a fan of HEB for no reason. I’ve consistently found the better products & prices to be at HEB over any other grocery store except maybe Fiesta and there isn’t a Fiesta as convenient to my home as HEB. Leaving out higher-end “boutique/gourmet” stores such as Whole Foods, Central Market, and Rice Epicurian I’d rank HEB & Fiesta at the top by a wide margin over Kroger, Randall’s, Wal Mart, and Target.

  • Finn – like I said, comparison ads are misleading, hence why the BBB does not allow it in advertising. If HEB has T-Bones on sale at $3.99 and Rib Eyes at $8.99, then the shopper will buy T-Bones generally. If Dr Pepper is $3.00/12 pack and Coke at the regular $4.99, generally more people will buy Dr Pepper. So HEB picks this customer. Then HEB goes to Kroger for a comparison ad and Kroger has Rib Eyes at $3.99 and T-Bones at $8.99. THey may have Coke on sale instead of Dr. Pepper. A comparison on just those two items would show HEB cheaper by $12 – which is technically true, but misleading because the customer at Kroger is buying Ribeyes and Coke – $12 cheaper at Kroger than HEB.
    This weekend HEB has watermelons – a big Texas flag sticker on them. In small print – they’re a product of Mexico. HEB wraps themselves in the flag so much that it reminds me of Wally World with their “Made in the USA” campaigns in the early 90’s.
    HEB is an expert in smoke and mirrors. Hence, I continue to call them unethical. Just be happy you don’t live in a small town where you’d be gouged on price.

  • Heights 11 Years, your described scenario is not misleading. If Dr Pepper is on sale at HEB and not at Kroger, then it is a legitimate ad. You don’t think someone who is strictly motivated by price, isn’t going to drive from one store to the next to save a few bucks and have no real allegiance to one store in particular? If a consumer is not smart enough to figure out comparison ads on their own, why should any business have to design their marketing strategies to be deciphered by the lowest common denominator?

  • JT – you miss my point. Stores run sales and customers buy what’s on sale. Hence, a customer coming out of a store is not a random basket. To run a comparison ad on that is simply misleading. We can debate the pitfalls of comparison advertising. To me, the use of it is just another example of why I question the ethics of HEB. I’ll go back to the watermelons in their stores with Texas flag stickers on them. With small letters saying that they are a product of Mexico. They’re experts at smoke and mirrors.

  • Parking or not, HEB is losing me as a customer if they have to destroy Houston landmarks. It’s aggravating that we continue to erase our city’s history with every new development.

  • They are moving right next to my house. Bissonnet and Weslayen. They just put the “coming Soon” signs up.