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Central Station Brick & Brew: Breathing New Life Into Old Digs

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By Johnny Griffith

There’s a well known saying about not being able to teach old dogs new tricks, but it certainly didn’t mention anything about old buildings or new businesses, and there aren’t too many buildings around East Texas older than the one on the corner of Pacific and Main in Downtown Gladewater.

Originally a Texaco Station in the 1930’s, the property was a working service station for more than several decades before housing a few different ventures over the next several years. Recently, the address has found some of it’s former glory with the Central Station Brick & Brew, a restaurant and music venue that honors much of the building’s storied past while giving it a new lease on life. Local businessmen Tim Barnett and Dale Rhodes bought the property just over a year ago and spent most of their time over the next several months overseeing the renovation of the property to house the restaurant.

Now one could say the last thing East Texas needs is another restaurant as it seems as if there is a new one popping up every couple of weeks, but the residents of Gladewater might argue that this is just what the Downtown area needed as an anchor to help kick-start a revitalization of the old business district. Not just another pizza and beer place, some of the unique aspects of Central Station include a true brick oven for fresh, handmade pizzas, locally sourced meats for their burgers like the ½ pound “Station Burger,” and more than 32 Texas craft beers at the custom made bar.

In addition to the fantastic menu, when one walks into the business, you are immediately transported back to the 1930’s with renovations that bring out much of the original history of the building and keep the service station feel. Though the exterior received a much-needed modern face lift and the inside was completely re-wired, brought up to current code, and renovated with customers in mind, many of the original features can still be seen throughout the restaurant.

Some of the nostalgia includes the original restrooms, which were preserved and restored with vintage tiles; roll-up garage doors were added to the area that now serves as a music room for local and national artists alike; an original parts bin found off-site sitting in a barn and brought back to the location for display; and various car parts, road signs, and other curios adorn the location.

Not simply dwelling on the past, Central Station has some new improvements on the property that allow visitors to enjoy the entire Downtown experience. In addition to the renovations inside, there was an upper deck added over the music room, which allows a panoramic view of the historic Downtown area as well as an outdoor seating patio complete with “patio games” and a convenient view of the stage when the bay doors are rolled up.

The music room is an intimate setting that puts the musicians and audience in close proximity, but attention to detail in the acoustics and sound system allow the diners to enjoy eating while not being blown away. There is music on most Friday and Saturday nights, with many local performers taking the stage including local regulars like the Darrin Morris Band and Sean Berry as well as the occasional Nashville connection from performers like Neal McCoy or John Berry.

Central Station isn’t simply a place to grab a bite and a brew; it’s a destination for a lazy weekend afternoon, winding down after work on a weekday, or catching music and hanging out with your friends for a few hours on Friday or Saturday nights. Capitalizing on the already laid-back atmosphere of the Downtown area, Central Station encourages wasting away an afternoon on the upper deck, drinking a cold beer, iced tea, or soda, listening to music, and spending time watching the cars and the occasional train roll by.

Within walking distance of the restaurant there are several antique shops, the Gladewater Museum, the Gladewater Opry, and several other shops to occupy your time as you stroll around Downtown, ending back at Central Station about the time the evening entertainment is warming up.

Be sure to visit the bar before taking your seat and peruse the craft beer menu. Some of the taps are even run out of an old car rear end in keeping with the theme. You’ll find breweries from all over the state represented as well as several brews from right here in East Texas.

You’ll also want to be sure to give the menu some special attention, and take in all of the specialty items like “The Whole Hog,” a 12 inch wood fired pizza with house pulled pork, ham, bacon, mozzarella, and topped with a house bbq sauce made with produce from local farmers. If you’re more of a burger person, then by all means go for the “Station Burger,” a ½ lb burger made with locally sourced, grass fed meat from Iron Farms, seasoned in-house, and served on a southern bun with all the proper accessories and your choice of mayo, mustard, or sriracha sauce and topped with a fried egg, bacon, or cheese.

Finally, make sure you save room for dessert with selections like the “Chocolate Stout Cake,” made in-house with #12 Wood Creek Brewery Vanilla Porter, drizzled with a house-made porter chocolate sauce and topped with salted pecans and powdered sugar.

With a great menu, quality staff, and superb location, Central Station is sure to become your next destination point on the weekends. Take the short drive over to Gladewater and step back in time to when things ran a little slower, sit on the patio, and watch the world go by, one song at a time.

The Central Station Brick & Brew is open Thursday 3-10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 9am-4pm. It is located at 103 N. Main St., Gladewater.

For more info go to gladewatercentral.com or facebook.com/thecentralstation.

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Around East Texas

July 26th: Daddy Daughter Date Night returns to the Rose Garden Center

Tickets are now on sale for the Daddy Daughter Date Night sponsored by the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department and Chick-Fil-A. The special event is on Thursday, July 26 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive. Tickets can be purchased at http://daddy-daughter:eventbrite.com for only $20 per dad and daughter. Several seating times are available to choose from on Eventbrite.

Each dad and daughter will enjoy an evening “Under The Sea” with a meal provided by Chick-Fil-A and Smallcakes. There will be photo opportunities, which are included in the ticket price. Live entertainment and a craft project for dads and daughters to work on together are lined up and surprises to take home.

“It will be a great night for dads to treat their daughters like a princess, hang out with the Chick-fil-A cows and have great one-on-one conversation throughout the evening,” said Debbie Isham, special events/recreation manager.

This event is sponsored by the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department, Chick-Fil-A, Smallcakes, Evoynne’s Florist, Flowers and Gifts and All American Tent and Party Rental.

For more information, please call Debbie Isham, special events/recreation manager at (903) 531-1214.

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Around East Texas

Make a Splash This Summer at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort

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Silverleaf’s Waterpark2Did you know there’s an indoor waterpark in Flint that features a lazy river, waterslides, a wave pool and many other attractions? The Waterpark at The Villages Resort offers 25,000 square feet of fun for the entire family, making it one of the largest in Texas. The 19,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed recreational area is climate-controlled for year-round fun, with a retractable roof that allows for open-air excitement in the summer.

Splash, float, slide or just relax at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort – this is an amusement park for the whole family. The waterpark features a lazy river with a whirlpool for tubers as well as four exciting three-story waterslides. Meanwhile, a forest ranger children’s playscape offers a giant 10,000-gallon bucket dump, three kid-sized body slides and life-size figures of bears and moose.

For guests who just want to relax and watch the fun, there are plenty of lounge chairs and seating areas with tables surrounding the pool areas. Casual dining is also available, including Subway® and pizza.

There are men’s and women’s changing areas complete with lockers, restrooms, and showers. The Splash Store provides guests with any last-minute essentials needed for an exciting day of family fun.

The waterpark is a great venue for your next family reunion, work party, birthday party, or other gathering. The Party Room is ideal for a party up to 12 guests, while the entire waterpark can be reserved for up to 1,200 guests.

The waterpark, which first opened its doors in January 2008, is located on the grounds of Holiday Inn Club Vacations® Villages Resort. This family playground is a prime Texas vacation destination, featuring spacious villas and fun-filled amenities and spanning nearly 3,000 acres among the woods along Lake Palestine.

The Waterpark is open daily 10am-9pm. Tickets are $10 for observers, $21.95 for under 48” tall, $24.95 for others. Twilight Passes are $18.95 for under 48” tall, and $21.95 for others 4-9pm.

The Waterpark at the Villages Resort is located at 18270 Singing Wood Ln., Flint. For more info call (903)534-8400 or go to waterparkatthevillages.com

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Around East Texas

The 70th Season Begins at Tyler Civic Theatre Kicks-Off July 26th

The 2018-2019 season begins with a lot of fun!

Single show tickets are available for $18 for adults and $15 for students. FLEX Pass are available for multiple performances. Tyler Civic Theatre is located at 400 Rose Park Dr., Tyler, next to the Tyler Rose Garden Center. For more info or tickets call (903)592-0561 or go to tylercivictheatre.com. The 2018-2019 productions are:

July 26th-August 12th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Singin’ in the Rain” – The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay in “Singin’ in the Rain.” Each unforgettable scene, song, and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping title number, complete with an onstage rainstorm! Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards make “Singin’ in the Rain” the perfect entertainment for any fan of the golden age of movie musicals.

September 6th-9th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Touch” by Mike Hargrove – “The Touch” tells the story of a grandmother with a healing touch – a secret “gift” her own grandmother helped her to discover and understand. An accident on the family farm brings opportunity for restoration of body and soul that spans four generations. Hope is found in a family secret buried beneath decades of doubt and skepticism. Playwright, Mike Hargrove made his final edits to the script only five days before his untimely death in January 2017. DeAnna Hargrove is honored to present her husband’s story for the first time in the theatre he fervently supported alongside her.

October 5th-14th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Dial M for Murder” – Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her for a fee of one thousand pounds, and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself. Unfortunately…the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives. But this doesn’t baffle the husband: He sees his hireling’s death as an opportunity to have his wife convicted for the murder of the man who tried to murder her, and that is what almost happens. Luckily, the police inspector from Scotland Yard and a young man who is in love with the wife discover the truth, and in a scene of almost unbearable suspense they trap the husband into revealing his guilt, thus freeing Margot.

November 6th-7th (school shows) and November 8th-11th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs” – The classic children’s tale of Snow White, seven dwarfs, a magic mirror and an evil queen comes to Tyler Civic! Supposedly disposed of by the wicked queen, Snow White finds her way to a happy glen and the home of seven friendly dwarfs. A deadly apple casts her into a deep sleep, from which she is revived in time by her devoted prince.

January 13th-14th (school shows) and January 15th-20th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Taming of the Shrew (Condensed)” – This season TCT performs a hilarious, but seriously abridged version of Shakespeare’s classic “The Taming of the Shrew.” The 45-minute play preserved the original language along with all the major plot turns, but condensed it down to a one-act play and is a perfect introduction to the Bard for participant and audience member alike.

February 8th-17th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “On Golden Pond” – This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. He is a retired professor, nearing 80, with heart palpitations and a failing memory but still as tart-tongued, observant, and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness – and slang – in return. Date Night for Valentine’s Day will be February 14th with a Dessert Theatre. Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for students.

March 8th-17th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Bus Stop” – In the middle of a howling snowstorm, a bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travelers are going to have to hole up until morning. Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse in a sparkling gown and a seedy fur-trimmed jacket, is the passenger with most to worry about. She’s been pursued, made love to and finally kidnapped by a twenty-one-year-old cowboy with a ranch of his own and the romantic methods of an unusually headstrong bull. The belligerent cowhand is right behind her, ready to sling her over his shoulder and carry her, alive and kicking, all the way to Montana. Even as she’s ducking out from under his clumsy but confident embraces, and screeching at him fiercely to shut him up, she pauses to furrow her forehead and muse, “Somehow deep inside of me I got a funny feeling I’m gonna end up in Montana …” As a counterpoint to the main romance, the proprietor of the cafe and the bus driver at last find time to develop a friendship of their own; a middle-age scholar comes to terms with himself; and a young girl who works in the cafe also gets her first taste of romance.

April 11th-14th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Complete Works of Shakespeare – Abridged” – Come see all 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 97 minutes! Three madcap men in tights weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. An irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare – Abridged” was London’s longest-running comedy.

May 10th-19th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Groucho Marx, A Life in Revue” is a stage play written by Groucho Marx’s son Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher with musical direction by Jim Grady. It is a look at the life and career of the famous entertainer Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers and “You Bet Your Life” fame. It opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on October 8, 1986 and played 254 performances closing on May 3, 1987. This inspired bio musical about “The One and Only” begins with Groucho as an old man doing his famous Carnegie Hall show. It then goes back to the beginnings of the Marx Brothers and their struggles to make it in vaudeville, their rise to stardom and their eventual break up. All classic Groucho songs are included. One actor plays Groucho, another plays Chico and Harpo, and one actress plays all the wives, girlfriends and Margaret Dumont. A hit in New York, across the U.S. and in London, this show will delight Marx Brothers fans and the as yet uninitiated. The performance on Sunday, May 12th (Mother’s Day) has an optional pre-show brunch. Tickets are $34 for adults, $30 for students. Also, a dinner-theatre opportunity will be available for Thursday May 16th performance.

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