AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Yellow City and its wide-open spaces have seen more changes throughout the years than can be counted, as a steady stream of new businesses and attractions pop up and those of past eras close.
MyHighPlains.com asked our audience about the closed-down places around Amarillo that they miss the most, to create a throwback list for the ages focused on the lost and local.
What do we miss the most? The Top 8 we hated to lose
Buffalo Nickel Family Fun Center
At home in the (also well-missed) Western Plaza mall alongside the nightclub Graham Central Station, the nickel arcade was a staple around Amarillo for decades. Unfortunately, along with its neighbors, the businesses closed down in the early 2000s with the ending of its mall.
There is no shortage of Amarillo locals who still have an appetite for the Char-Kel cheese fritters and frozen lemonade. Although the cheesy delights can still be found at restaurants like Furrbie’s, Amarillo’s heart still aches for that greasy, glittering gem of the 1980s and 1990s.
Club Fred and the Riviera Swim Club Water Slides
Located at I-27 and Bell and I-27 and Western, respectively, Amarillo locals recalled that Club Fred and the Riviera Swim Club offered the best water slides in town.
Although the store was a much-loved resource for books and media, all remaining Hastings stores were closed by the end of October 2016 when the company was liquidated.
The Midnight Rodeo in Amarillo closed in 2017 and announced its ending with a Facebook post that read, “Life is a party, and parties aren’t meant to last. Thanks for the support, Amarillo!”
The building was later sold to The Loft Church in August 2018. In June 2022, a long list of items and furniture from the Amarillo location was put up for auction from storage. Everything from bar tables, neon signs, amplifiers, lights, and a country record collection were up for grabs.
Among the many beloved, bygone pizza parlors around Amarillo, Shakey’s Pizza was noted by audience members as a staple for the city during the 1970s and 1980s. According to the franchise, it was initially created as a 1954 destination for pizza, beer, and ragtime music – and Amarillo locals insisted that it accomplished its mission of being a reliable spot for socializing, alongside its other sauce-wielding kin.
Once a mall for art galleries, the Sunset Center – or Arts in the Sunset – displaced a number of local artists with its closing in 2019. However, the Amarillo Art Institute and the Crouch Foundation have said plans and progress are underway for a renovation and redesign of the facility.
The Sad Monkey Railroad
The Sad Monkey Railroad toured with passengers on a 20-minute historical ride around Palo Duro Canyon for 41 years. Although it no longer runs, those wanting to reminisce can still visit the old engine in the city of Canyon.
The gone, but not forgotten
Whether they were well-known franchises or home-grown attractions, the MyHighPlains.com audience offered a long list of lost restaurants, arcades, skating rinks, drive-in theatres, and other local businesses.
- Amarillo Bowl
- Cattle Call BBQ
- Chevy’s Grill
- Colbert’s clothing store
- Country Barn Steakhouse
- Country Pride Restaurant
- Crazy Clive’s Arcade
- Crystal Confectionery
- Dolphin Swim Club
- Furrs Food Super Market
- Golden Spread Skate Rink
- Jubilee Skate Rink
- Judy’s Place
- Levine’s Department Store
- Myers Fried Chicken
- Paradise Too
- Paramount Recreation Club
- Paramount Theatre
- Pistol Pete’s Pizza
- Roadrunner Skate Rink
- Ruby Tequila’s Mexican Kitchen
- Scotty Golf
- SRO Nightclub
- Stanley’s Drive-In
- Sutphen’s BBQ Bar & Grill
- Texas Moon Palace (which is also a song by local-born musician Terry Stafford)
- The Frosty Mug Bar & Grill
- Toys R Us
- Twin Drive-In
- Western Plaza Mall
- White & Kirk Department Store
- Amarillo Family YMCA
Did your most-missed lost place make our list?
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