Season those French fries with tears and don’t let your wails keep you from throwing back a chocolate Frosty. The Wendy’s in the Texas Union on the University of Texas at Austin campus is closing Thursday, according to the UT Unions social media accounts.
We are sad 😪 to announce that today is the last day that Wendy’s 🍔🍟 will be open in the #TexasUnion. However, you can still visit Wendy’s at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new ✨ vendor as quickly as possible! pic.twitter.com/l9XCKcLk0R
“We are sad to announce that today is the last day that Wendy’s will be open in the #TexasUnion,” read a tweet and an Instagram post both posted Thursday afternoon. “However, you can still visit Wendy’s at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new vendor as quickly as possible!”
Wendy’s has been a longtime fixture in the university’s student union. The fast food spot gained some fame in the UT community and beyond from its most famous employee, Ishmael Mohammed Jr., aka “Junior the Wendy’s Guy,” who was known for his lightning-fast order-taking skills. He was “the Rachmaninoff of the register, holding the record for taking the most orders and sales within a 30-minute span, 246 orders for $1,035 — or one order every 7.3 seconds,” according to a 2014 American-Statesman story. Mohammed, who died in 2016, was also the subject of short documentary in 2006. Nikolas Ray Eller was sentenced last year to two years in jail for delivering a punch that killed the popular fast food cashier.
Fans of the the CW’s criminally short-lived teen detective series “Veronica Mars” are well aware that the show took place in the radically divided Neptune, Calif., a town where all that separated the elite socialites from the seedy criminals was a murky gray line of questionable morality.
But, as Entertainment Weekly has revealed, the show wasn’t always set in California. In fact, “Veronica Mars” wasn’t even originally imagined as a TV show. At first, it was going to be a Young Adult novel set right here in Austin at Westlake High School, and the titular character later became Veronica’s dad, Keith.
First things first: If you haven’t already seen “Veronica Mars,” you’re missing out. The plot centered around Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), a high school student who moonlighted as a private eye for her father Keith. Keith was a former sheriff who opened up his own detective agency when he failed to get re-elected after he accused a Neptune socialite of murdering his own daughter (and Veronica’s best friend).
“Veronica Mars” was full of noir, camp, crime, quippy teens and lots of high school mysteries to solve. It also went to some pretty dark places in its examinations of class, race, wealth, sex and morality. The show was cancelled after three seasons, but a crowd-funded film was released in 2014 after a fourth season pilot was ordered by a network but never aired. Since the film’s release, series creator Rob Thomas has partnered with Austin author Jennifer Graham to write two books continuing the story of the plucky sleuth.
Anyway, Thomas originally intended for the story to be told as a young adult novel. He started a draft, “Untitled Teen Detective,” in 1996. That draft was shared with Entertainment Weekly this week for its “Hollywood’s Greatest Untold Stories” issue.
Thomas set “Untitled Teen Detective” in Austin. His story revolved around Keith Mars, teenage detective. Keith became a detective after his father quit a promising career with the Austin Police Department to open up a private investigation agency. Like in the TV show, there is no mother figure in the picture. Also like in the show, the titular young detective starts out by catching the parents of his wealthy Westlake High School classmates in after-hours trysts at seedy motels.
Another Texas twist: Keith pines for a popular girl who’s said to be dating a University of Texas football player.
But perhaps the biggest Austin element to the “Veronica Mars”-that-almost-was is a still-unsolved mystery that’s only hinted at. In the original draft, Keith discovers that the reason his dad left the police force is because he knowingly sent the wrong men to Death Row for involvement in Austin’s “Chocolate Shop Murders case,” a name which bears a striking resemblance to the real-life, still-unsolved Austin yogurt shop murders from 1991.
Years later, when Thomas took ideas from the draft into a spec script he sold to UPN (now The CW), Keith Mars became the disgraced law enforcement father figure, the main character became Veronica, and the main plot centered on a different kid of murder.
All of the Texas setting came natural to Thomas. He grew up in Texas, graduating from San Marcos High school in 1983. His father was a vice-principal at Westlake until the early 1990s, and Thomas attended Texas Christian University on a football scholarship before transferring to UT and graduating in 1987. Thomas was working as a high school teacher at John H. Reagan High School in Austin when he wrote the first draft of “Untitled Teen Detective,” and many characters in “Veronica Mars” were named for Austinites he met or musicians he played with. The music of several Austin bands also played in the show.
Alas, the Texas version of “Veronica Mars” is not the version that made it to the small screen. Maybe someday, if Netflix reboots the series (one can only hope) a mystery might take Veronica all the way to Austin.
Hundreds of University of Texas students flooded the campus’ Main Mall on Tuesday for a chance to win tickets to the Grammys from Ellen Degeneres. The catch? The student with the best Beyoncé costume gets the golden ticket.
The segment aired on The Ellen Show Wednesday, featuring several finalists clad in their best Queen Bey looks. In the clip, one of Degeneres’ correspondents shows off a few of the best outfits (mostly donned by UT students from Houston, Beyoncé’s hometown) and then Degeneres presents the students with a challenge: Recreate Beyoncé’s now-iconic pregnancy announcement Instagram photo from last week.
The winner was Katy native and UT sophomore Collin Wang, who chose not to recreate the Instagram photo but instead one of the other photos Beyoncé posted to her website after the viral announcement, featuring her underwater wrapped in flowy fabric.
Degeneres commended Wang for his creativity, awarding him the grand prize of Grammy tickets, and recognized McKenzie Jones of Austin, Katie Lewis of Dallas, Victoria Vecchio of Houston and Alexa Vecchio of Austin with runner-up prizes: $500 gift cards to Best Buy.
When Ellen Degeneres announced late Monday afternoon on Twitter that her crew would be showing up to the University of Texas on Tuesday, everyone was wondering what antics the talk-show host would create.
Turns out, her crew’s visit had to do with Beyoncé and the Grammys. DeGeneres promised tickets to the music awards show to the best Beyoncé-clad students at the Main Mall.
Hey @UTAustin! If you've ever wanted to go to the #Grammys, get your Beyonce costume together. Right now.
This week was a busy one for University of Texas students – Friday was the last day of classes, finals are approaching and many are spending Sunday with their mothers. We took to the University of Texas of campus to ask people #WhyMom.
Freshman psychology major Daniel Spomer said he is thankful for his mother’s support, especially by letting him pursue the degree of his choice.
Weslie Onsando, a graduate student originally from Kenya, is studying film production at UT. Onsando admires her mother’s selflessness.
Freshman advertising major Matthew Johnson wanted to thank his mother Michelle for her constant support.
Graduating senior Areesha Ajani loves her mother’s strength and the example she sets for her. Ajani is a corporate communications major who will be working for Aon Consulting in Houston.
Andrew Bain, 21, will graduate in two weeks and head to medical school in Houston. Bain said his mother’s supportive nature is what he loves most about her.
Timothy Cole is a senior linebacker for the University of Texas football team. Cole wanted to thank his mother for her patience throughout his life. Cole is planning to attend graduate school to study advertising in the fall.