David Hudson did not even want to mention the name of the restaurant that once occupied the building at South 11th Street and Ross Avenue — a place where he hopes to open a new restaurant called Flavor Shack in a few weeks to serve wings, burgers and chicken dishes.
Yes, he said, he is remodeling the old Fat Ho Burgers location that took its South Waco neighborhood by storm three years ago before flaming out and relocating to Waco Drive and Turner Street in East Waco.
Hudson, 37, a Waco attorney who also practices in Dallas, said he is spending about $40,000 to remodel the space into an eatery that will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week beginning in late June or early July.
He said he expects patronage from residents at nearby Kate Ross Homes and Baylor University students who might enjoy deep-fried burgers, stuffed grilled chicken, chicken and waffles, and “specialty meals.”
He will expand the menu to include a variety of meats and vegetables on “Soul Food Sundays.”
Hudson grew up in Waco and graduated from University High School. He earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Alabama, where his father, Wendell Hudson, played basketball as the first black athlete to receive a scholarship in any sport.
Wendell Hudson later was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Baylor and men’s and women’s basketball coach and athletic director at McLennan Community College — career moves that brought him to Waco.
“I wanted to open my first restaurant here, which is where I’m from, though I did have an opportunity to place my first restaurant in Dallas,” said David Hudson, whose long-term goal is to franchise the Flavor Shack concept.
He said he thinks the South Waco neighborhood has the foot traffic necessary to support his restaurant. He said the nearby Krispy Chicken at 601 S. 11th St. generates impressive walk-up trade.
“Fat Ho also had a lot of success at this location before it shut down for whatever reason,” Hudson said.
He has named Ronald Harris to manage the restaurant, which will seat about 75 and offer delivery on orders of $10 or more and takeout service. He said he also likely will pursue a license to sell beer and wine.
Harris reportedly gained experience working at The Elite Cafe and George’s Restaurant & Bar.
Kyle Citrano, who manages the George’s on Hewitt Drive and serves as president of the Waco Restaurant Association, touts Harris’ expertise.
“Ronald has worked with us in the kitchen and with catering,” Citrano said. “He knows everybody, it seems, and is a great people person.”
Hudson said he thinks Flavor Shack stands to benefit from continued restaurant, retail and multifamily housing development at the edge of downtown Waco near the Interstate 35 frontage road.
Land clearing for projects is moving toward Kate Ross Homes.
He knows the restaurant is occupying a location with a colorful past. International attention greeted the opening of Fat Ho Burgers in March 2011 because of its provocative name, and long lines clamored for “ho” burgers.
But owner Lakita Evans closed it six months later, citing ongoing drug issues in the surrounding area. In November of that year, she relocated Fat Ho to the RZS Food Mart at Waco Drive and Turner Street, and copyrighted the Fat Ho name.
A call to RZS last week revealed that Fat Ho no longer operates there and has not for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Sweet Nell’s Soul Food & More opened at South 11th Street and Ross Avenue in summer 2012 for a short run.