Luby’s closing will leave a void for some in our community

Matt Pierce

Over here on the city’s south side situated right on Saratoga sits what is left of a legendary Texas cafeteria chain. It has been empty since March 31, 2020, but it had been on soft footing for some time. On Wednesday, company officials with Houston based Luby’s said that it will sell its restaurants and assets to pay off its debt and stockholders.

Officials with Luby’s say that they will immediately pursue the sale of its operating divisions and assets, including its real estate assets, and distribute the net proceeds to stockholders after payment of debt and other obligations.

During the sale process, some of the company’s restaurants will remain open to continue serving guests. However, a company spokesperson said told The Southside Light News that they do not believe Corpus Christi will make the list for stores that will be reopened.

“We believe that proceeding with this sale process followed by distributions contemplated under a proceeds distribution plan will maximize value for our stockholders, while also preserving the flexibility to pursue a sale of the Company should a compelling offer that delivers superior value be made,” Christopher J. Pappas, CEO and president of Luby’s,” said in a press release.

Luby’s stockholders have made it clear that they support seeking alternatives to continuing operating the company’s restaurants in their current form and this monetization program will seek to accomplish that task in the most efficient manner.

Luby’s be exploring several methods to achieve that goal, including selling the company’s chief brands: Luby’s Cafeteria, Fuddruckers, and Culinary Contract Services.

The Luby’s that we see today was first opened back in 1947 in San Antonio by Bob Luby and his cousin Charles R. Johnston, but the origins run back much further.

Harry Luby, the father of Bob Luby, opened a lunch counter in Springfield, Missouri back in 1911.

In 1929 the very first “Luby’s Cafeteria” was opened in Dallas. But there is a local connection to Corpus Christi.

In 1931 Bob Luby opened a cafeteria of his own here in Corpus Christi. In fact, Bob Luby decided to take a few years off from his studies at the University of Texas to move to Corpus Christi and take a chance on the thing. By 1940 Bob Luby had opened several cafeterias in Texas, but during World War II, Luby sold his businesses and joined the Army Air Corps.

After the war, Luby and his cousin opened up the first “official” Luby’s Cafeteria in San Antonio and the chain as we have known it since was born.

Bob Luby operated the chain of cafeterias until his death in 1998. In 2001 Chris and Harris Pappas joined the Luby’s front office and the legendary chain became a round about part of the Pappas family restaurant domination which owns Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and Pappas Bar-B-Q, among others.

Over the years Luby’s has seen a decline in their model. Inflation and overall lack of youthful support seemed to play hardball with the chain. While many consumers still enjoyed the food and the cafeteria styled service that the chain was known for, the support from younger Texans seemed to fade, leading to today’s announcement.

While there is still some hope that Luby’s might still be around in some form, it is highly unlikely that it will be the Luby’s that most Texans have come to grow and love. time will tell, but as of today, it certainly seems that the legendary chain has seen what could be it’s final days.

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