I never imagined that I would one day sip a Negroni in the same place where, as a kid, I waited in line to mail my mom’s packages. The neighborhood post office of my childhood in Lamar Park, a quiet development of mostly one-story homes just across from Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi, has become the Post, a buzzy gastropubwith an industrial interior and an extensive craft cocktail list. The anchor of a once-sleepy shopping center, the Post is just one of the businesses being opened by a new generation of Corpus natives who are transforming historic buildings into restaurants, bars, and more. With this uptick in restoration, the Sparkling City by the Sea—the hometown of Selena and the birthplace of Whataburger—is starting to live up to its nickname.
Eat & Drink
Start the day on South Alameda Street, with avocado toast and a Chemex brew at my favorite indie coffee shop, Eleanor’s Coffee Bar and Market, opened by Corpus Christi native Jessica Gignac, in 2015. Ben Lomax—son of prominent local restaurateur Brad Lomax—and his wife, Lesley, have transformed a former Greyhound bus station into a new downtown patio bar, BUS, which opened in December. The family-friendly hot spot boasts lawn games, a rotating cast of food trucks, and an impressive list of beer, wine, and cocktails. A block over is another new patio bar, this one in a gas station from the thirties. With arched steel-and-glass doors and German biergarten–style tables, the Gold Fish was opened last year by local developer Robert Cooper, along with partners Jessica Gignac (of Eleanor’s) and Justin Gainan. For dinner, head to Lamar Park, to BKK Thai Kitchen and Bar, where executive chef Ben Hague, who grew up in Thailand and Saudi Arabia before settling in Corpus, makes savory curries and sushi.
See & Do
In Corpus, activities revolve around the water. My kids won’t leave the city without catching a dolphin show at the Texas State Aquarium. There’s still time to see Champ, the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle that was rescued in September and will live in the coral reef exhibit until it’s rehabilitated and released back into the wild. The Corpus Christi Marina serves as the headquarters for Water Dog, which holds floating yoga classes on paddleboards. A popular spot for international windsurfing competitions, Corpus is the best place in Texas to enjoy the sport; try a lesson from Worldwinds Windsurfing.
Until the 1914 former courthouse is restored and reincarnated as a luxury hotel, in 2020, book a room at the renovated Omni Hotel, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Just across from Cole Park is Villa La Casita, a two-bedroom Spanish-style bed-and-breakfast.