As Montrose transforms from a scruffy gay enclave to a hipster haven, even fast-food restaurants aren't immune. The McDonald's on Westheimer at Commonwealth is undergoing an extreme makeover, with a two-story wood-frame exterior engulfing the front of the old building, which has been a magnet for early morning coffee hangouts among neighborhood regulars, along with the occasional homeless person.
While the indoor seating area is closed during the renovation, the drive-through and walk up counter are open.
As CultureMap contributor Amy Chien reported, a former Wendy's fast-food establishment across the street is being transformed to the trendy Doc's Bar & Grill.
Down the street a few blocks, Fashion Studio has abruptly closed. Owner Michael Malik had relocated his longtime boutique — a favorite for gay men seeking a cool-looking shirt to wear to South Beach or a skimpy swimsuit to wear by the pool — to the corner of Westheimer and Yoakum in late 2011, next to El Real Mexican restaurant in the former Tower Theater. The focal point of the store was a large bar, where customers could sip while they shopped.
Malik could not be reached for comment about the closing. Although parking is limited, it is a prime location, so it won't be surprising if a chain clothing store gobbles it up.
Another longtime landmark, the Houston Buyers Club, on Yoakum directly behind Fashion Studio is being transformed into a candle shop, a worker told CultureMap on Thursday as he was painting the interior. The Houston Buyers Club was founded during the AIDS epidemic as a source for inexpensive vitamin supplements and became a go-to place for bodybuilders seeking nutritional powders and drinks.