Weekend Oak Removal Leaves Slowpokes Backyard Transformed

Pictured above during its final stand on Slowpokes cafe’s patio last Saturday as workers took it down limb by limb: one of a pair of oak trees the landlord had long threatened to remove. The 2 trees — now fully chopped — stood on a lawn where Slowpokes patrons hung out between the strip mall that houses the cafe and Gardendale Dr., which runs to its south. The leafier photo shows the same tree alive in the coffee shop’s backyard last year.

A view from the corner of Alba St. and Gardendale looks west to show that tree about to be chopped and the other one already stumped:


Slowpokes’s space at the south end of the strip center it shares with Alba Food Mart is visible on the right:

Off camera also to the right, a parking lot fronts the strip center along Alba. A small portion of the lot — shown on the right in the photo at top — wraps around the building’s south side.

Until last month, a patio in that spot at the end of the building fronted the cafe’s backyard:

The fence on the left separated the green space from the parking lot to its east. Here’s what the entire Slowpokes space looked like last year:

KHOU reported last October that the landlord was planning to remove one of the trees in order to make way for extra parking. Along with a group of customers and neighbors, however, one of the cafe’s proprietors contended that both trees were outside of the landlord’s property — located instead in the public right of way beyond the lot’s southern boundary, adjacent to Gardendale.

In December, the cafe’s Facebook page documented crews demolishing the patio. Landlord Sam Momin told The Leader a few days later that he was planning a renovation of the entire 8,000-sq.-ft. strip mall and hoped to add more tenants to it. The parking spaces that sit directly south of Slowpokes were added in the patio’s place.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Shade Away

9 Comment

  • Trees deserve a whole lot more respect.

  • …that’s really sad to see these two old Houston residents forcibly removed. Folks still haven’t learned the value of old trees…over short term cash.

  • Odd. Usually there are more responses glorying in the unalloyed good that is tree removal at this point. Is this less clearcut? Or only unremarkable?

  • @sidsawyer I’m not sure I understand your comment, but there was considerable pushback from the neighbors and Slowpokes to save those trees. The trees really were a nice addition to slowpokes patio area. Alas, as is the case with Houston, “clear it and pave it” is standard practice. I think long-term the landlord will suffer, given his rather unilateral decisions.

  • Speaking of trees, exactly how many need to be killed for the Arboretum?

  • I agree with Scott, it was a dumb financial move on the LL’s part. And he revealed to the world that he’s a jerk.

  • Nonsense. Trees don’t deserve any respect, and it’s about time they learned not to just spread their branches everywhere and drop leaves all over the place.

  • Yes, the landlord is allowed to rip up the wonderful patio they had at Slowpokes (assuming that he redevelops the plaza). But GOOF is a tight community. Any new tenants in that strip are going to get the stink eye from the neighborhood. As a wise attorney once said, “yes, the law says you can do it, but that does mean you should.”

  • Lets see what new tenants move in to the new renovations. Hope LL doesnt fudge on the number of
    parking spaces . Bars require 10 cars per 1000 sq.ft. Could be a limiting factor to mitigate the enviro
    and eco damage of removing Oak trees.? Am I off here?