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Is landmark restaurant's closure a bad sign for future of North Beach?

A look into the future of North Beach following closure of landmark restaurant
Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 23:38:47-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Thursday marked three weeks since the iconic Fajitaville restaurant on North Beach announced on its Facebook page that it was temporarily closed.

How temporary the closure will be, isn't clear.

Owner Lynn Frazier says he has several people interested in operating a business out of the restaurant's building.

But it's possible they will run into the same problem he did that forced him to close the popular tourist attraction — a lack of staffing.

"The way the government is handing out money and everything — people would just assume stay home and collect their paycheck than they would to go to work and collect their paycheck,” Frazier said.

Fajitaville's closure leaves North Beach with one fewer dining option, and Frazier says that's not the only issue facing that section of Corpus Christi.

Construction of the new Harbor Bridge requires frequent changes to how you drive into and out of North Beach.

And then there's the area's appearance.

"There is no maintenance there at all," Frazier said. "They don’t insist on people manicuring their property and making it look nice. It looks pretty junky."

The city council member who represents the district where North Beach is located, Billy Lerma, says attractions like the Texas State Aquarium and The USS Lexington draw 800,000 people to the area every year.

In hopes of increasing that already-impressive figure, Lerma says the city will make improvements like rebuilding public restrooms — a project he believes will start in August with a price tag of $2.5 million.

But he's hopeful that the city will work with investors, like Frazier, to develop bigger projects.

One such proposal is a North Beach Canal that could be similar to San Antonio's Riverwalk.

“I’m a big advocate of the North Beach navigable canal," Lerma said. "I ran my campaign on it, and I’m going to stick to it. That’s not dead."

Both he and Frazier agree that a major hold-up for that project has been how to ensure that the developer would be able to make a return on his or her investment.

Whether an investor and the city can come to terms and make the canal project a reality — only time will tell.

And whether Frazier is or is not that investor, he'd just like to see a North Beach with more activities and accommodations for families.

"They want to just mill around for a day or two out there and spend a vacation whether it’s a long weekend or whatever," Frazier said. "But there’s not a lot to do out there."

While some tourists share that opinion, at least one family — on a day-visit from San Antonio — were enjoying themselves on North Beach, Wednesday.

“It’s nice," John Morales said as his wife and children played in the sand and water. "We’ve got the beach to ourselves. It’s not very crowded. Water feels great. And the weather is amazing."