Now a total tourist destination, Waco is booming. Millions of folks from around the world are flocking into the city for one reason or another — maybe they’re checking out Baylor University on a college visit or scoping out Magnolia Market, Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaineses’ cult-favorite decor store. Whatever their reasons, one thing’s for certain: they’ve all got to eat.
Waco’s food scene is an underrated part of its newfound popularity, which means that it’s easy to spend an entire day feasting on everything this city has to offer. Use this guide as a truly over-the-top, one-day itinerary of eats and drinks, and get ready to be pleasantly surprised by all the solid dining options Waco has to offer.
8 a.m. — Lattes at Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits
Waco has several great coffee shops, but if you can only hit one, make it Dichotomy. This caffeine purveyor boasts a truly inventive menu of drinks made with Waco-roasted Apex Coffee, including a spiced pear cappuccino and the 1885, a distinctive-yet-delicious blend of Dr Pepper and espresso that’s served over ice.
10 a.m. — Biscuits at Magnolia Table
Visiting Magnolia Table, the Gaineses’ restaurant just off I-35, is practically compulsory. If the wait isn’t too long — depending on the size of your party, expect a 30 minute to two hour wait on even pretty slow days — put your party’s name down on the list and sip a latte while waiting for a table, and when it arrives, dig into a stack of pancakes or skillet steel cut oatmeal served with honey, berries, and toasted pecans.
Otherwise, just hit the Take Away market for chicken salad croissant sandwiches and freshly squeezed lemonade or coffee. Here’s a full guide to dining at Magnolia Table, including delicious ways to actually enjoy the wait.
12 p.m. — Ice cream floats at the Dr Pepper Museum
This charming, slightly quirky museum devoted to the Lone Star State’s favorite soda is an essential item for any Texan’s bucket list. After learning about the history of Dr Pepper and scoping out the liquid laboratory, the real fun awaits at Frosty’s Soda Shop. Here, soda jerks mix up fresh Dr Peppers with seltzer water and the perfect amount of syrup. Enjoy it on its own, or pair with a couple scoops of Blue Bell ice cream for a truly Texan ice cream float.
2 p.m. — Grilled cheese and sweet tea in the Silo District
Even if the Magnolia Market madness doesn’t sound appealing, the food trucks parked in the Silo District are definitely worth a visit. Score Mason jars full of sweet tea, mac and cheese, and buttery grilled cheese sandwiches loaded with bacon, and hot dogs smothered in Dr Pepper chili. Sweet options include gelato and caramel apples. Check out a full list of the Silo District food trucks here.
7 p.m. — Dinner at Milo All Day
After (hopefully) taking a nap, visit this super stylish all-day eatery that could easily be one of the hottest restaurants in a city much larger than Waco. Start dinner with fried green tomatoes, then indulge in crispy catfish with deviled egg gribiche or the meaty butcher’s cut slathered in black garlic chimichurri.
10 p.m. — Nightcap at George’s
This beloved Waco bar has been a fixture (in one way or another) in the city since 1930, and it’s a quintessentially Waco way to end the evening. Newbies must order the “Big O,” an 18-ounce beer, or perhaps a “BalconO,” a potent mix of Waco-made Balcones bourbon, ginger beer, agave, lime, and lemon.