Saturday, March 17, 2018

College Station’s New Century Square Development Hosts Delightful Surprises!

On Saturday, March 10, I had the opportunity to drive by the new Century Square development in College Station, and I saw a band setting up to entertain the crowd that was made up of residents from the nearby 100 Park apartments located in nearby Century Square, and residents who were staying at two of the newest hotels in the Valencia Group collection: The George and Cavalry Court.

I’d already been to one of the Cavalry Court’s restaurants/clubs, “The Canteen” to hear music from local favorites “Hi-Fi Band” and “Ruben V” and his cool jazz/blues band from San Antonio late last year when construction was still going on. I was curious about this great new development in the heart of Aggieland.

Last Thursday, the Texas Aggie Women’s Basketball team hosted a Tournament Tip-Off event at the Century Square green, prior to Friday’s opening round game between the Aggie women and Des Moines, Iowa’s Drake University. (We won, by the way.) After the yell session, friends and I surveyed the Century Square development again, to decide whether to eat at Hopdoddy or Blaze Pizza. Who won? Both. We enjoyed eating at the tables outside on the green.

Everyone had fun watching families being amused by the children who were using the wooden toys available out there along fountain walls. The complex is so new they’re still working on the fountain but when it’s done, it will be amazing. The new astroturf/grass surface that has just been placed and it’s an inspiration setting to relax. It’s the first (non-city) park where I’ve felt like it was just “home.” At the top of the lawn was Poppy, the new restaurant I’ve been hearing good things about.

I was curious, so I did a little research and learned it was actually part of The George and this is definitely upscale dining from the beautiful vistas looking out onto the green, the warm lights inside making it a perfect place for academics to entertain visiting guests, and for locals to experience a special night out that specifically caters to those very used to fine dining.

This means you’ll have small portion sizes on intricate stoneware with phenomenal presentation and you’ll feel “anywhere else but in the Brazos Valley.” It is really wonderful to see another restaurant of the caliber of (Bryan's own) Christopher’s located in College Station, within walking distance of campus.

Found out that the name of the restaurant was an homage to our nation’s 41st president, as everyone knows that in addition to being called Former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, his most important nickname stems from his grandchildren calling him…”Poppy.” Makes perfect sense, then, since the hotel complex the restaurant calls home is…”The George!”

The Canteen around the corner, tied to the Cavalry Court property, features authentic ol’ Army type plates and utensils. You even get your check placed on a pewter plate with a toy soldier on top of it! The amazing fried potatoes can’t be beat!

Another great new business in Century Square is the "Hey Sugar" candy store. The good news is that there is an amazing unparalleled candy store in town. At long last we have a fun place where you may need an hour before you load up your baskets with the latest in the yummiest temptations perfect for March Madness munching (not that I’d know anything about that).

In walking the property, I found a sign noting that every Second Saturday of the month, there’s free music outdoors for everyone to enjoy. I was even more curious about Poppy, so I found the menu online; it’s definitely ‘farm to fire’ dishes, including rock shrimp ceviche, black buck tatar, wild boar, wood-fired Bandera Quail and Halibut, so it’s definitely worth trying, particularly those with authentic Texas taste buds!

Poppy is anything but stuffy or pretentious, so it’s a greatly appreciated addition to the community. It’s clearly designed for adult professionals in B-CS. The City of College Station brought something really powerful to town. The developers relocated four 50+-year-old oak trees carefully within the Century Square property before they built anything else, so they really did properly invest in the community.

Gone are the ramshackle buildings that once were graduate student housing; you’ll find the university’s new buildings further back behind the development, but they are still within walking and biking distance to campus. Next, I’ll be glad to see the Star Cinema Grill when they open. Saw a sign that says they’re hiring, so hopefully soon, there will be another place to be incredibly spoiled…a full-service restaurant delivered to your seat for the movies.

Last week I drove down Harvey Mitchell Parkway (which old-timers just used to call “FM 2818”), and I’ve never seen such an explosion of apartment complexes as are currently under construction right now…on its way to that area is the new HEB at Jones Crossing. Let’s face it…we’re no longer a small town in central Texas.