By Herb Moering
Winter Texans may find the new Landmark on Tower to be a “swinging” place to go for an evening of fun, food, and friendly conversation. To get into the swing of things, just sit down at one of the seven swing-seat tables in the outside court area, that has artificial turf for grass.
The food truck court, which opened Oct. 15, is the creation of Roy Landa, a property developer. He grew up in Alamo, about three blocks from his establishment, which includes his two brothers in partnership, David and Gilbert. Roy says his aim is to have a place where adults can come for the food, try some of the 20 craft beer brews and four wines on tap and have their children with them at the same time.
The idea for the food truck court evolved from a visit with his father and his 15-year-old son to the Rail Yard bar in Alamo and realizing his son was the only young person there. Landa said he wanted to have a place where one could bring a grandparent or a kid and not feel odd. His first plan was to open a pizzeria but realized maybe adding another food choice would be better. He applied for a food truck permit but changed to multi food units when he learned the city could offer a permit with a maximum of six.
He already owned the property on the northwest corner of Business 83 and Tower Road, which contained the historical 90-year-old administrative office building once used by the Crest Fruit Company for its adjacent warehouse operation. That significance along with the historical marker and flagpole nearby marking the site of the deadly train/truck crash in 1940 provided the name—Landmark.
The food trucks at the east end of the property, has a variety of foods. The six food choices are Mexican-style hamburgers, gourmet tacos, sea food, tater tots with chicken or shredded beef and the waffle bar that is similar to corn dogs.
Landa is using the remodeled front half of the 8,000 square foot building for the pizzeria with its two-ton brick iron oven, which cooks at 600 degrees. Inside also are the beers and wines, which are measured out and paid for by the ounce, ranging from 24 to 49 cents. A bracelet tracks usage, which allows an individual to dispense up to 60 ounces.
In addition to the regular fare, there are special events that includes listening to bands on weekends. He plans to rotate the bands, wanting to give a chance on the outdoor stage to many of the 200 local bands he understands are in the area.
There are opportunities for would-be-singers to take a turn at karaoke during the week.
On Dec. 22, children were invited to have their picture taken with Santa, which Landa posted on his Facebook page, although many parents took their own photos. He also provided the 700 plus kids with a toy gift.
About once a month, Landa holds a market night, with the first one drawing about 70 vendors. “The Market Before Christmas” was the latest on Dec. 23, where last minute gifts could be obtained. He says there are about 400 vendors from which to draw.
At market night was converted Texan Jerry Cherrier, a first-time visitor from Alamo Country Club. The former resident of Wisconsin, said, “It appears to be a nice family setting.” He added, “It’s relaxing with festivities and choices of food and drink.”
His son, Travis, visiting from Minnesota, loved the state-of-the-art beer taps. Jerry’s wife, Sue, called the place “a treasure.”
Landa, who had given the Cherriers a tour of the Landmark earlier, is considering a Winter Texan Day, probably with a late afternoon start time
Corn hole competition takes place outside twice a month. A lot of people come to see the teams compete, which are created through a blind-drawing.
Landa said he is very passionate about the property, which can be seen in the lighting and sound system with its 16 speakers both outside and inside. He also has 16 high-definition security cameras and off-duty police officers for added security. Even the spacious restrooms include a few special features. Most of the renovations were the work of his employees along with the creation of the outdoor furniture.
His interest in the historical is going to play out with a wall of Alamo history in the building. He has been collecting old photos of Alamo business places, people and events that he plans to mount on a couple walls for customers to view. It is intended to honor many who made Alamo what it is today. It’s also a reminder to him of things he saw and did growing up.
It is obvious the businessman is proud of his latest accomplishment, which he credits the city of Alamo of having been of important help along the way. And this three-quarter million food truck court investment is one of the ways of giving back which old and young alike can enjoy, he indicated, hopefully jettisoning their smart phone technology for a while.
The Landmark on Tower is open Tuesday through Sunday, with hours of 6 to 10 p.m. weekdays, and 6 to 11 p.m. on weekends.