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Changing Face of Montrose

Montrose makeover continues: Fashion boutique closes, fast-food redo, candle shop replaces Buyers Club

McDonald's Construction on Westheimer
The longtime McDonald's in Montrose is undergoing a makeover. Photo by Clifford Pugh
News_Fashion Studio_exterior_Nov 2011
Fashion Studio has closed. Photo by Clifford Pugh
News_35_Fashion Studio_fashion show_May 2012_window models
Models in the window of Fashion Studio during 2012 fashion show. Photo by Dalton DeHart
McDonald's Construction on Westheimer
The Montrose McDonald's remains open during the renovation, although the seating area is closed. Photo by Clifford Pugh
Construction of Doc's bar on Westheimer
The former Wendy's on lower Westheimer is being (slowly) transformed into Doc's Bar & Grill. Photo by Clifford Pugh
McDonald's Construction on Westheimer
News_Fashion Studio_exterior_Nov 2011
News_35_Fashion Studio_fashion show_May 2012_window models
McDonald's Construction on Westheimer
Construction of Doc's bar on Westheimer

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.

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