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Have we seen the Last of “The Great
    American Cantina?”

A River Oaks institution’s 43 year run likely will end with recent large Houston intown land purchase by St. John’s School.

Houston’s venerable honky tonk, Blanco’s, existence is in doubt due to the recent land purchase by St. John’s School. The 43 year old “Blanco’s Bar and Grill” will have a new landlord as will the River oaks Plant House and a parking lot leased by St.Luke’s United Methodist Church.

The 13 acres of prime real estate owned by H. Ben Taub will be sold with considerations by helping the institution by defraying some of the cost. Taub and his family have deep ties to Houston, with the Ben Taub Hospital and the University of Houston campus where his dad’s first ranch was located. The Cullen family, another prominent philanthropic Houston family, helped provide the money that started U of H.

Blanco’s, is owned by Karin Barnes and Barry Clark Debakey, the grandson of Michael Debakey, the famous heart surgeon. His father Barry Debakey, opened the cantina with Taub’s blessing in the 80’s. It was originally built as a daycare center and then became Hondo’s before changing to Blanco’s. The dilapidated building has hosted many parties and country acts throughout the years and has also been a popular tourist attraction. It has maintained a unique place in Houston folklore for many years.

St. John’s School with over 1,200 students, has been landlocked at their current location a few blocks away and will announce its intentions with a long range plan soon. It is doubtful they will include one of Houston’s most famous places - Blanco’s. For more on Blanco’s click on Last Great American Cantina.

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