If you don’t already know, I live in a little town called Waco, TX. I moved to Waco in the fall of 2010 after graduating high school to attend Baylor University. At that time, we were pretty much known for Baylor and David Koresh, but thanks to a little show called Fixer Upper on HGTV, Waco has been growing and developing a lot more. The Magnolia Silos were opened downtown in 2015, which helped with an already growing movement of restoring downtown. It’s really fun when I get messages from friends who are coming to Waco to check out the silos, asking where good places to go in Waco are. I decided to put some information on my blog to help out any visitors, as well as get current Wacoans to check out some local places!
- There are 2 great things about Alpha Omega – the food and Pinewood Coffee. The food is Mediterranean style. I don’t actually have a favorite meal here, because every time I go there is a weekly special that sounds amazing, and that’s normally what I go for. I’ve heard the gyros are great, though I have not eaten them myself. They have really good desserts, including a selection of gelato.
- To the left of the register is the coffee bar. Pinewood has amazing coffee, especially for those who are really into coffee. It was started by some local guys and it has gained quite the following. The baristas are really friendly and desire to create a welcoming experience. Most of their options are very coffee centered, so if you like sweeter drinks (read: drinks that don’t actually taste like coffee), you probably would have a more difficult time finding something you enjoy.
- 929 Franklin Avenue, open 10:30am-2pm & 5pm-9pm, closed on Sundays, but Pinewood is open from 7am-5pm
- Baris is an Italian restaurant, named after Bari herself, who will more than likely be the one who rings you up at the register at the end of your time there. If you want anything classic Italian, then Baris is definitely where you want to go. My favorite here is the tortellini with pink sauce (Alfredo + marinara sauces mixed together), but really anything with pink sauce will not lead you astray. Parking here can be a struggle, so just keep that in mind. If you’re not into tight spaces or potential parallel parking, maybe have someone else drive (it’s possible that I abandoned ship once and made a friend parallel park for me due to my lack of skills).
- 904 N Valley Mills Dr, open 11am-10pm most days, closed on Mondays (I think?)
- Moroso is one of Waco’s newest restaurants, and it is an absolute gem. It is owned by one of the nicest people on the planet, whose family is Italian. They use the best of the best ingredients, and it is very apparent in their food. The design of the restaurant is really appealing, if you’re into trendy restaurant design. They mostly serve pizzas, and you will not be disappointed. There is really an option for everyone. They also serve sandwiches at lunch, and usually have a special pasta dish available. They have a great selection of wine and beer, as well as phenomenal desserts. The affogato is amazing – Texas pecan sea salt gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it. My favorite pizza is the cipolla, which has gorgonzola cream sauce, thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, pancetta, rosemary, and olive oil. They’ve also started serving brunch on Sundays – I have not been, but I can only imagine it being delightful
- 4700 Bosque Blvd, open 11am-2pm Sundays, closed Mondays, lunch 11am-2pm on Tuesday-Saturday, and dinner 5pm-9pm Tuesday-Thursday, open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday
- The restaurant inside Hotel Indigo is actually called Brazos Bar & Bistro, but if you asked any local Wacoan where that is, they will be very confused. Going to eat at a hotel might seem strange, but it is not uncommon here. I particularly enjoy going here for breakfast (you will find that I’m obsessed with breakfast). My favorite for breakfast is the crepe florentine, but they also had a chicken biscuit with lavender honey as a special and it was one of the best meals I’ve had. Their mimosas are also wonderful, and they have a great bar selection as well. For lunch or dinner, the stuffed avocado, potato skins, their cheese board, and the chicken verde flatbread are the most note worthy for me.
- 211 Clay Avenue, open 4:30am-12am every day
- If you want good, inexpensive breakfast food, look no further. Cafe Capp is an amazing breakfast venue that has multiple locations (they all serve the same food). Beware of how large the pancakes are – I made the mistake of ordering 3 my first time I was there and there was no way I was ever going to eat all of it. I love their breakfast quesadilla, the chocolate chip pecan pancakes are my favorite, their breakfast croissant is great, their home fries are super good, their omelets are also great. It’s hard to go wrong here.
- 100 N 6th Street, 903 Hewitt Dr, or 1101 Richland Dr. Open 6am-2pm Monday-Saturday, 7:30am-2pm on Sunday
- Bangkok is one of the only Asian food restaurants in Waco. They serve great Thai food (as evidenced by their name). You can get pretty much any standard Thai dish here. I always get the pad see ew and have converted many to my ways. Bangkok is not known for the best service, so if you’re in a rush, I wouldn’t recommend going here.
- 215 S University Parks Dr, open 11am-3pm and 5-10pm, closed on Sundays
- Lolita’s is a family owned, hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, and it is all things wonderful. There was a time in my life where I thought about their breakfast tacos far too often. They are really inexpensive and there has to be something in them that is kind of like drugs, they are SO. GOOD. Their potato, egg, and cheese tacos – unparalleled. My all time fav. That’s all I ever get, how could I ever go astray from this? They also have a dish called the elephante – it’s probably good but I will most likely never find out because I clearly have a problem. They have really quick call ahead service, as well as a drive-thru if you’re looking for something fast.
- 1911 Franklin Ave, open 6am-2pm Monday-Friday, opens at 7 on Saturday and 8 on Sunday. Closed Mondays
- I don’t think this is technically in “Waco” city limits, but it’s really not that far and I think it’s worth the drive. Cafe Homestead is the restaurant portion of Homestead Heritage. Homestead is “an agrarian and craft based intentional Christian community.” I quoted their website because I do a terrible job of describing it. Their food is very fresh, organic, and amazing. Homestead is definitely more of an experience, but you can just grab a bite to eat if you want. They sell their ingredients, as well as their homemade ice cream, in one of the stores on their property, which I think is a great touch. I really enjoy their quesadillas because you can taste how fresh the ingredients are. For breakfast (here we are again with breakfast), their Brazos Valley Cheese omelette is absolutely amazing, especially if you’re a cheese connoisseur.
- 608 Dry Creek Rd, open 10am-6pm Monday-Friday, opens at 7am on Saturdays, closed Sundays
- This is an honorable mention for me because I actually don’t like BBQ. But if you do, this is where you have to go. It’s been featured by ESPN, it’s been on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, is continually in the ranks for best BBQ in Texas, and their dish “The Gut Pak” was voted “Best College Eat in America.” It’s basically like a crazy Frito pie. I’m sure their other BBQ dishes are also great. Just trying to help you out.
- 1600 Speight Ave, open 10:30am-3pm Tuesday-Thursday, closes at 9 on Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday
- Fuji is a standard hibachi style Asian restaurant. You can eat either at the hibachi table, or just eat in the main dining area. Nothing too special here, other than that it’s dang good. Hibachi chicken is always a fav, and they load you up on veggies which I really appreciate.
- 5901 W Waco Dr, open 11am-2:30pm for lunch Monday-Friday, dinner 4:30pm-9:30pm Monday-Thursday, open until 10:30pm on Fridays, and serving dinner all day 11:30am-10:30pm on Saturday, or 11:30am-9:30pm on Sundays
- Mad Hasher is a newer food truck to Waco. It’s breakfast themed so obviously I love it. As the name tells you, their hashes are their speciality, and I love them. My favorite is the green thumb – it’s potatoes with all different kinds of local veggies on them, veggies I don’t even know the name of, SO MANY VEGGIES. It’s held together with feta, jalapeño ranch dressing (I always get it on the side because I’m a sissy), and guacamole pico. They also have sandwiches and waffles and usually some sort of special that they just baked that morning and wanted to share. You can customize pretty much everything and all the food has clever names, which I appreciate
- Usually located at 210 S University Parks Dr, but can sometimes be located elsewhere. Their Instagram is helpful in locating them. Open 10am-10pm Tuesday-Thursday, closes at 11pm on Friday, open 9am-11pm on Saturdays, and 9am-3pm on Sundays
- 2 words. Grilled. Cheese. The people who own Cheddar Box are amazing, their food is amazing, it’s all amazing. They are also located at Magnolia’s Silos, which is just a fun experience all around. My favorite is the Boss on gluten free bread (the only GF bread I’ve ever enjoyed), they use local ingredients, and they also serve macaroni and cheese which is also so good – Big Jim is my favorite. During the summer, they had a watermelon + mint salad, which was just a really nice option. Also, if you are a local Wacoan, their grilled cheese are only $5 for you on Wednesdays, but make sure you tell them you’re from Waco (if this is true. If it’s not true, please don’t spoil this for the rest of us, it is our reward for fighting our way to the Silos).
- 601 Webster Ave (sometimes also found at the Farmer’s Market), open 11am-5pm Monday-Thursday, opens at 10am Friday-Saturday, closed Sunday
I figured I’d throw these in if you want something familiar, or if you’re from out of town and don’t happen to have these chains in your area. I will not try to act like I just eat local all the time.
- Tex-Mex at it’s finest. Good luck if you try to come here on the weekend, there is almost always a wait. I love their enchiladas with deluxe tomatillo sauce, and they have really great rice, in my opinion. They also had a blackberry margarita during the summer, and it was seriously amazing. Their margarita’s in general are definitely worth your time (swirl for life).
- 5501 Legend Lake Pwky, open 11am-10pm Sunday-Thursday, closes at 11pm Friday-Saturday
- I’m slightly obsessed with the guacamole at Torchy’s. Maybe not slightly (my friends are reading this shaking their heads at my understatement). Torchy’s has really great tacos. Their taco of the month is always worth checking out, their breakfast tacos are good (who’s surprised that I mentioned that at this point), they have great margaritas, and a really great selection of sodas. I don’t like soda, so this is a big deal for me. There is also a lot of seating, which is helpful because they’re really popular. If you like good tacos, you can’t go wrong here.
- 801 S 5th St, open 7am-10pm Monday-Thursday, open until 11pm on Friday, and 8am-11pm Saturday, 8am-10pm on Sundays
- Mediterranean food. Their chicken-kabobs are my absolute favorite, their basil hummus is really good, and they also have really great chicken roll-ups. The rice pilaf is my favorite side, but most of their sides are really great. Zoe’s also does great catering, if you ever have a need to cater something…
- 1810 S Valley Mills Dr, open 11am-9pm daily
- Twisted Root has amazing burgers with clever names. My favorite is the Happy Pilgrim, which is a turkey burger with the most amazing goat cheese, kale pesto, and mixed greens. You can pick any of the options and substitute the burger for your favorite kind – they usually have exotic options as well. They also have salads, really good fries, and you definitely do not want to miss their milk shakes. The s’mores one is my favorite, and you can also get boozy milk shakes if you’re into that kind of thing.
- 801 S 2nd St, open 11am-10pm Sunday-Thursday, open until 11pm Friday and Saturday
CONFESSION: I went to Lolita’s and got breakfast tacos after writing this. If anything, at least I inspire myself