The city of Tomball’s oldest residential structure—the Hoffman House—will soon become home to a new chocolate craftory and barbecue restaurant.
Built in 1907 by owner Charles Frederick Hoffman, the house was constructed on Elm Street, which was previously known as Railroad Avenue. That same year, the city’s name was changed from Peck to Tomball, according to city records.
The house is under renovation to bring the building up to code before local chocolatier Tejas Chocolate moves in this fall. Bryan Hutson, attorney and owner of development company The Hutson Group, is completing the majority of the renovations and has researched the Hoffman family history in Tomball.
“The Hoffmans were [the biggest landowners in] Tomball for years,” Hutson said. “They owned the original general store, the original Charlie’s Saloon, the building where the first post office was located, the first private bank and the original funeral home.”
The family lived in the home through the 1930s. During that time, Hoffman served as the mayor of Tomball for two consecutive terms, according to city records. The Hoffman House functioned as residential property until it was sold to The Hutson Group in 2012.
Although the building is being redeveloped as commercial property, Hutson said he is committed to preserving the historic nature of the building rather than tearing it down and rebuilding it for a new business.
“The original footprint of the house is still intact. It’s the same house; we’ve torn down nothing,” Hutson said. “The major changes that we’ve done to make it a commercial building were done through additions—not through tearing down or changing the original house.”
Hutson said he also plans to keep many of the interior building details, including the original staircase and a carving of Hoffman’s signature that was uncovered during construction.
The new additions for the restaurant include a new wing for a commercial kitchen, a side porch and an outdoor barbecue pit. When complete, the building will include space where Tejas Chocolate can roast cacao beans, make chocolate bars and sell barbecue dishes and craft beer on-site.
Hutson said the timeline for opening the new restaurant has not been finalized due to the time it takes to complete the building without sacrificing the original structure.
“Restoring [the house] is the hardest part. Most developers would just rip it down and start over,” Hutson said. “But it’s a 100-year-old house; it could still be there for another 100 years.”