Ten years ago, no one would have used the words “tourist destination” to describe the city of Waco. It’s long been known as the home of Baylor University and the birthplace of Dr Pepper, but it didn’t start attracting droves of people until the 2013 debut of Fixer Upper, the HGTV reality home improvement series starring Waco’s own home improvement duo Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Since then, Waco’s popularity has skyrocketed, and its marquee attraction right now is the Silo District, the epicenter of the Gaineses’ Waco empire. Home to the wildly popular home decor shop Magnolia Market, coffee shop Magnolia Press, and pastry haven Silos Baking Company, more than 2.5 million tourists flocked to the Silo District in 2018, and it’s now a bonafide must-stop for fans of the show and the farmhouse design aesthetic popularized by Joanna Gaines.
Heading to the Silo District for shopping, dining, and exploring? Here’s everything you need to know about dining near Magnolia Market.
Magnolia Press Coffee Company
Located right next door to Magnolia Market, Magnolia Press is the perfect spot to fuel up before braving the crowd inside. Sip a cup of the Gaineses’ signature pecan coffee or the 1905, a latte that’s flavored with toasted marshmallow and vanilla while enjoying sweet (chocolate cake, lemon-blueberry rolls) or savory (spinach-artichoke croissant) treats.
418 South 8th Street, Waco
Silos Baking Company
Don’t be shocked if there’s a line snaking out the door of this charming little pastry shop, renovated by Joanna and seen during the fourth season of Fixer Upper. If it is crowded, don’t fret — an extremely friendly Magnolia employee will bring by a menu card and stubby little pencil with which patrons can select their desired pastries.
On that menu, find cookies, croissants, and more, including a vanilla cupcake named after Joanna’s beloved shiplap wall paneling, and the Chocolatier, a rich chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream. On the savory side, there’s the Prize Pig, a crumbly biscuit loaded with cheese and bits of bacon. After making your choices, hand over the card to the cashier and your order will be wrapped up at a truly lightning-fast pace.
601 Webster Avenue, Waco
Clustered around an Astroturf courtyard that overlooks the famed grain silos that inspired the name of the Silo District, Magnolia Market boasts a really solid selection of food trucks and plenty of picnic tables for dining al fresco. Scope out a guide to the Market’s most common food trucks below, and note that these mobile eateries do swap out from time to time, and may not be parked at Magnolia Market on the day of your visit.
- Magnolia Table — Offering a (very) truncated menu of dishes on the Magnolia Table menu, this truck operated by the Gaineses serves croissant chicken salad sandwiches, breakfast tacos, and more of the duo’s favorite eats.
- Cheddar Box — The menu is simple at this permanent, cheese-obsessed Silo District spot. Dig into one of two grilled cheese sandwich options — a plain cheddar, and the Boss, a bacon-stuffed sandwich with gouda and basil — paired with a cup of tomato-basil soup, or feast on a twelve-ounce cup of gooey mac and cheese.
- Captain Billy Whizzbang’s — Boasting the “best burgers in Waco,” Captain Billy Whizzbang’s has been a fixture of the city’s dining scene since 1977. Its signature offering is the Whizz-Pig, a half-bacon, half-beef cheeseburger that pairs best with crunchy onion rings.
- Club Sandwich — Sandwiches are shockingly absent on the menu at this oddly named Asian fusion food truck. Instead, build-your-own rice bowls are the star of the show. Start off building a bowl with a base of steamed rice and crisp fresh veggies, then pile on chicken bulgogi, lemongrass pork, tofu, or braised beef before finishing the bowl off with blackberry chipotle sauce or sriracha ranch.
- 900 Degrees — Both traditional and inventively topped pizzas are on the menu at this mobile pizzeria. Order the Carnivore, topped with bacon, sausage, and pepperoni, or build a DIY pie with tons of veggies and garlic butter.
- Gelato Mio — Stop by and sample the wares at this teeny gelateria, which boasts flavors like salted caramel, pumpkin, and peppermint.
- Alabama Sweet Tea Company — Plunk down $8 at this permanent tea stand and be rewarded with a quart mason jar filled with sweet, unsweet, or half-sweet, half-unsweet tea.
- H.O.T. Dog House — At this truck, order all-beef hot dogs wrapped in bacon, slathered in cheese and Dr Pepper chili, or grilled up plain. Fritos chili pie is also a solid option here.
- Little Brisket — An offshoot of Waco’s famed Guess Family Barbecue, this smoke-scented truck serves a tight menu of options from chopped brisket sandwiches to avocado toast, as well as a breakfast sandwich topped with pulled pork, scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, and turkey.
- Caramel Cart — During the summer, this shop slings fluffy, frosty snow cones. When it’s cold outside, though, it transforms into a destination for caramel-dipped apples, s’mores, and more sticky-sweet snacks.
- Luna Juice Bar — Need something light after all that pastry? Hit this truck for veggie-and-fruit-packed smoothies, juices, and acai bowls.
All food trucks are located directly behind Magnolia Market at 601 Webster Avenue
Word(s) of Advice
- Eat first, shop last. The crowds are extremely heavy inside Magnolia Market, especially on the weekends. Nobody wants to be lugging around giant metal signs or heavy kitchen goods through the throngs of fans at Magnolia Market, which means it’s a good idea to hit the food trucks first, then spend $500 on throw pillows and candles.
- Look elsewhere for a cocktail. Like Magnolia Table, none of the food trucks or Gaines-operated venues in the Silo District sell alcohol. Instead, head to one of these 6 essential Waco drinking destinations that are just a short drive away.