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A bistro interior with brown leather booths, leather chairs in a softer brown, white ceilings, brown wood floors, and lots of windows.
Welcome to the Brasserie at Hotel 1928, a new joint from Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Hotel 1928

15 Essential Waco Restaurants

Find barbecue that’s been a local favorite for decades, Chip and Joanna Gaines’s new Waco haunt, and so much more

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Welcome to the Brasserie at Hotel 1928, a new joint from Chip and Joanna Gaines.
| Hotel 1928

There’s no two ways about it: Waco’s dining scene is thriving. From casual cafes with a focus on local ingredients to quirky food trucks turning out top-notch Cambodian cuisine, the city is packed with plenty of interesting places to dine.

Whether heading off to college at Baylor University, shopping at Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Market, or just passing through, these 18 restaurants are essential Waco dining destinations. Ranging from beloved burger joints to trendy all-day eateries, succulent smoked meats to tacos, there’s so much more here to look forward to than meets the eye.

Is your favorite Waco eatery missing from this map? Drop us a line and let us know.

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Jasper's BBQ

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This East Waco barbecue joint has been a staple for decades, serving its first diners in 1919. Order smoked brisket and bologna by the pound, or consider the Waco Tornado, a giant pile of corn chips topped with chopped brisket, sausage, pinto beans, and cheese.

Kitok Restaurant

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This small Korean eatery absolutely isn’t putting on airs, and is perhaps the only place in Waco to find solid bulgogi, kalbi, funky kimchi, and a great double cheeseburger in the same place. The fries are absolutely all over Instagram.

D's Mediterranean Grill

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There’s so much more in Waco than just burgers and barbecue, and spots like D’s Mediterranean are proof. Keep it light with crunchy falafel, beef kebabs, and (of course) plenty of hummus. If greasy diner fare is what you seek, D’s also serves fried catfish, burgers, and chicken fried steak.

Cricket's Draft House & Grill

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This draft house and grill covers the spectrum. Want nachos topped with barbecue? Check. A kale Caesar salad? Yup, got it. Shrimp tacos, fish tacos, barbecue tacos? Of course. A club sandwich? Sure thing. It’s a classic Texas menu: huge with something for everyone.

DiamondBack's

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Sometimes a good old fashioned steakhouse is the only thing that will do. DiamondBack’s has that, plus wine flights, a brand new cocktail menu, sushi, and hatch green chile meatballs that will put hair on anyone’s chest.

Schmaltz's Sandwich Shoppe

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A Waco institution since 1975, Schmaltz’s has moved around a few times, but the sandwiches have always been the same. The bread at this no-frills spot is baked in-house, then piled high with pastrami, salami, corned beef, or deli meats.

The Brasserie at Hotel 1928

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All the Gaines-aholics have already been to Magnolia Table and braved the long waitlist, so great news: the couple’s new hotel has three restaurants to try. The Brasserie serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its menu is largely Southern American classics (think shrimp and grits, chicken fried steak, and pimento cheese) with a few Korean dishes added in as a nod to Joanna’s heritage.

Clay Pot Restaurant

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This cozy Vietnamese spot serves pho, vermicelli bowls, and other favorites, but the real star of the menu is the namesake clay pot dishes. Order up chicken curry or Stan’s clay pot, a unique bowl packed with veggies and protein awash in a creamy sauce and topped with cheese. Pair with a bubble tea for the perfect lunch.

Jake's Texas Tea House

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During breakfast, this service station-themed eatery serves up Southern breakfast classics a la carte. But when dinner rolls around, the tables at Jake’s become home to epic family-style spreads of chicken fried steak, creamed corn, green beans, rolls, and cornbread. Fortunately, there’s plenty of Texas-brewed beer to help wash it all down.

Maria Mezcaleria

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Hit this mezcaleria up for brunch daily until 3 p.m. or dinner from then until close. This buzzy spot has a load of mezcal-based cocktails, cheesy enchiladas, sopa de tortilla, and happy hour specials on apps.

The Blasian Asian

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This quirky spot serves up a small menu of Cambodian favorites, like yellow chicken curry, grilled pork sandwiches, and ridiculously crispy egg rolls in Union Hall. Order the lemongrass beef stir fry, and crank the heat level up to five for a seriously spicy lunch.

Milo All Day

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Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Milo All Day boasts a bright, locally influenced menu with tons of culinary creativity. Enjoy smoked pork chops with sweet potato mole and corn salsa, “Airline Chicken” with hopping john, or fried quail eggs.

Vitek's

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A favorite of locals and tourists alike, Vitek’s is a Waco institution. If the infamous Gut Pak, a massive pile of smoked meat, Fritos, cheese, beans, pickles, and barbecue sauce, is a little too overwhelming, a simple brisket sandwich will totally hit the spot.

Health Camp

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It might be a bit of a misnomer, but at least Health Camp’s burgers are good for the soul. This old-school spot serves up a perfectly greasy burger, tots, and fries, and the super-thick milkshakes are substantial enough to almost qualify as a meal.

Taqueria El Crucero

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Open for breakfast and lunch, Taqueria el Crucero is a solid stop for tacos, breakfast burritos, migas, and so much more, including options for vegetarians. Definitely try the queso, and order a jamaica (hibiscus) agua fresca.

Jasper's BBQ

This East Waco barbecue joint has been a staple for decades, serving its first diners in 1919. Order smoked brisket and bologna by the pound, or consider the Waco Tornado, a giant pile of corn chips topped with chopped brisket, sausage, pinto beans, and cheese.

Kitok Restaurant

This small Korean eatery absolutely isn’t putting on airs, and is perhaps the only place in Waco to find solid bulgogi, kalbi, funky kimchi, and a great double cheeseburger in the same place. The fries are absolutely all over Instagram.

D's Mediterranean Grill

There’s so much more in Waco than just burgers and barbecue, and spots like D’s Mediterranean are proof. Keep it light with crunchy falafel, beef kebabs, and (of course) plenty of hummus. If greasy diner fare is what you seek, D’s also serves fried catfish, burgers, and chicken fried steak.

Cricket's Draft House & Grill

This draft house and grill covers the spectrum. Want nachos topped with barbecue? Check. A kale Caesar salad? Yup, got it. Shrimp tacos, fish tacos, barbecue tacos? Of course. A club sandwich? Sure thing. It’s a classic Texas menu: huge with something for everyone.

DiamondBack's

Sometimes a good old fashioned steakhouse is the only thing that will do. DiamondBack’s has that, plus wine flights, a brand new cocktail menu, sushi, and hatch green chile meatballs that will put hair on anyone’s chest.

Schmaltz's Sandwich Shoppe

A Waco institution since 1975, Schmaltz’s has moved around a few times, but the sandwiches have always been the same. The bread at this no-frills spot is baked in-house, then piled high with pastrami, salami, corned beef, or deli meats.

The Brasserie at Hotel 1928

All the Gaines-aholics have already been to Magnolia Table and braved the long waitlist, so great news: the couple’s new hotel has three restaurants to try. The Brasserie serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its menu is largely Southern American classics (think shrimp and grits, chicken fried steak, and pimento cheese) with a few Korean dishes added in as a nod to Joanna’s heritage.

Clay Pot Restaurant

This cozy Vietnamese spot serves pho, vermicelli bowls, and other favorites, but the real star of the menu is the namesake clay pot dishes. Order up chicken curry or Stan’s clay pot, a unique bowl packed with veggies and protein awash in a creamy sauce and topped with cheese. Pair with a bubble tea for the perfect lunch.

Jake's Texas Tea House

During breakfast, this service station-themed eatery serves up Southern breakfast classics a la carte. But when dinner rolls around, the tables at Jake’s become home to epic family-style spreads of chicken fried steak, creamed corn, green beans, rolls, and cornbread. Fortunately, there’s plenty of Texas-brewed beer to help wash it all down.

Maria Mezcaleria

Hit this mezcaleria up for brunch daily until 3 p.m. or dinner from then until close. This buzzy spot has a load of mezcal-based cocktails, cheesy enchiladas, sopa de tortilla, and happy hour specials on apps.

The Blasian Asian

This quirky spot serves up a small menu of Cambodian favorites, like yellow chicken curry, grilled pork sandwiches, and ridiculously crispy egg rolls in Union Hall. Order the lemongrass beef stir fry, and crank the heat level up to five for a seriously spicy lunch.

Milo All Day

Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Milo All Day boasts a bright, locally influenced menu with tons of culinary creativity. Enjoy smoked pork chops with sweet potato mole and corn salsa, “Airline Chicken” with hopping john, or fried quail eggs.

Vitek's

A favorite of locals and tourists alike, Vitek’s is a Waco institution. If the infamous Gut Pak, a massive pile of smoked meat, Fritos, cheese, beans, pickles, and barbecue sauce, is a little too overwhelming, a simple brisket sandwich will totally hit the spot.

Health Camp

It might be a bit of a misnomer, but at least Health Camp’s burgers are good for the soul. This old-school spot serves up a perfectly greasy burger, tots, and fries, and the super-thick milkshakes are substantial enough to almost qualify as a meal.

Taqueria El Crucero

Open for breakfast and lunch, Taqueria el Crucero is a solid stop for tacos, breakfast burritos, migas, and so much more, including options for vegetarians. Definitely try the queso, and order a jamaica (hibiscus) agua fresca.

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