You know what the best part about capitalism is? No, not that each man has the opportunity to rise to fame and fortune. The real answer is marketing. Glorious, marketing, where artistic skill is dedicated to getting the attention of a potential consumer in the name of trade.
The purest form of this artistic expression is the garish sign for your business, and Houston has produced some real doozies. Today we salute the amazing signage that peppers our roadways.
10. The Alabama Plaza 2922 S Shepherd Dr
There are two fairly iconic signs right in the same parking lot on Shepherd, and weirdly, neither one is at all current. The Cactus-shaped construction was once wonderfully apropos since it advertised Cactus music, but now seems out of place talking up the Whole Earth Provision Co., since Cactus moved down Portsmouth. Likewise, the Alabama sign once told Houstonians it was time to catch The Empire Strikes Back or the beginning of regular Rocky Horror screenings in the city at the Alabama Theater. Now it's Trader Joes. It seems so odd that the signs are all that are left.
9. Antonio's Flying Pizza 2920 Hillcroft St
I must apologize for the picture because no daytime pictures does the Antonio's sign justice. At night it's a neon glory as your Italian chef tosses an endless series of neon pizzas up in the air.
8. Lunch at Sam's 10151 Alfred Ln
There's a million places to get a burger in Houston, but only one of the let's you know that they're serving up bunned beef by erecting a giant one on the street. Their edible counterparts inside are nothing to sneeze at, either.
7. BRC Gastropub 519 Shepherd Dr
Sigh... I wish someone would tell my wife that it is in fact possible to drive by the rooster statue outside BRC without screaming "BIG RED COCK"! It's weird how something that huge and garish can sort of sneak up on you, but it does me every time. One minute you're heading up Shepherd, and then it's just right there looking at you.
6. Bingle Auto Salvage 1967 Bingle Rd
The car under the giant hammer over at the Bingle Auto Salvage has seen better days, honestly. It used to be a bright, gleaming yellow with googly eyeballs and a cartoon tongue hanging out. Still, it's a big hammer making a smash, and that's always eye-catching.
Piece continues on next page.
5. Bay Area Body Shop 3110 Bayport Blvd
It's a drive out to Seabrook, but the Bay Area Body Shop has a really spectacular sign to check out if you're ever in the area. The front of a red Camaro comes bursting through the wall. Best off, if you see it by night you'll notice that the headlights actually work.
4. Baker's Ribs 2223 South Voss
To be filed under the "Dear God, why?" category is the eyeless disembodied head of a pig that adorns the front of Baker's Ribs. I'm told in no uncertain terms that the food there is delicious, but the front is just a little too Texas Chainsaw Massacre for me to brave it.
3. El Papaturro 8559 Longpoint Rd
At least I think that's who is responsible for the giant red bull looming over Long Point. The sign never seems to say anything, so I suppose that it could be related to the tires that surround it like offerings. I'm going to give it to the restaurant, though, because they make some of the best pupusas in the city.
2. Little Dude's Mini Storage 15477 Interstate 45 Frontage Rd
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Can you believe you have to go all the way out to Conroe to find a giant stereotypical Texan sign holding a couple of sharpshooters? It's little failures like this that keep people from taking us seriously sometimes. Thank you, Little Dude, for making sure that our goods are safe in your Yosemite Sam-ish hands.
1. Goode Co. 5109 Kirby Dr
Each of the Goode Co., locations has something special. The one on 290 has a giant windmill. The one on I-10 is across from a taxidermy and wild game processing place so that it might literally be the most Texas place in the city. The restaurant on Kirby, though, sports an enormous disco ball armadillo that blazes in the sun. Good enough to earn the title of best sign in Houston.