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18 Essential Waco Restaurants

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

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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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.

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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If you’d like a monster-sized plate of nachos (yes please) or a crunchy and satisfying buttermilk chicken tender Cobb salad, this is the spot. The Brussels sprouts, served charred with a chile lime vinaigrette and Rice Krispies, may be the most inventive treatment in town.

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.

Clay Pot Restaurant

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This cozy Vietnamese spot serves up 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.

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.

Silos Baking Co.

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Owned by Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, this sweet little bakery serves up pastries that are perfect for eating whilst walking around Magnolia Market. Bonus: there’s even a vanilla cupcake named after shiplap.

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. At lunch, enjoy biscuit sandwiches stuffed with sweet tea brined fried chicken, or swing by for dinner and feast on steak frites or a grilled pork chop served with peaches and grits.

Cupp's Drive Inn

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Open since 1947, Cupp’s is the spot for a classic cheeseburger with a side of tots. Breakfast is also on offer, including a budget-friendly breakfast special of two eggs, toast, and hash browns that will only set you back $7.

Guess Family Barbecue

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This top-rated barbecue joint slings barky brisket, smoked turkey, and chipotle-cheddar sausage by the pound, and a slew of stellar sides (think cheesy grits and green chile mac and cheese) are worthy of setting aside a little stomach space.

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.

George's Restaurant & Catering

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A popular haunt for Baylor students, George’s serves up giant, 18-ounce margaritas (or beers) alongside Southern comfort food. Dig into burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and an equally large brownie sundae served in one of its “Big O” glasses.

Franklin Avenue Mac House

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The world absolutely needed a restaurant devoted to macaroni and cheese, and Franklin Avenue Mac House rises to the challenge with aplomb. The mac and cheese here is loaded withe everything from brisket and horseradish-pecan cheddar to bacon and gouda. If that sounds a little too rich, go (slightly) lighter with a roasted corn and avocado salad spiked with grilled cheese croutons.

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.

Magnolia Table

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Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Table is always packed full of fans of all things Magnolia. Expect a wait, but stick around to enjoy a pre-lunch latte or pastry until a table is ready. When it’s time to sit down, dig into fluffy buttermilk pancakes or avocado toast on bread from Waco’s own Heritage Bakery.

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.

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

If you’d like a monster-sized plate of nachos (yes please) or a crunchy and satisfying buttermilk chicken tender Cobb salad, this is the spot. The Brussels sprouts, served charred with a chile lime vinaigrette and Rice Krispies, may be the most inventive treatment in town.

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.

Clay Pot Restaurant

This cozy Vietnamese spot serves up 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.

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.

Silos Baking Co.

Owned by Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, this sweet little bakery serves up pastries that are perfect for eating whilst walking around Magnolia Market. Bonus: there’s even a vanilla cupcake named after shiplap.

Milo All Day

Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Milo All Day boasts a bright, locally influenced menu with tons of culinary creativity. At lunch, enjoy biscuit sandwiches stuffed with sweet tea brined fried chicken, or swing by for dinner and feast on steak frites or a grilled pork chop served with peaches and grits.

Cupp's Drive Inn

Open since 1947, Cupp’s is the spot for a classic cheeseburger with a side of tots. Breakfast is also on offer, including a budget-friendly breakfast special of two eggs, toast, and hash browns that will only set you back $7.

Guess Family Barbecue

This top-rated barbecue joint slings barky brisket, smoked turkey, and chipotle-cheddar sausage by the pound, and a slew of stellar sides (think cheesy grits and green chile mac and cheese) are worthy of setting aside a little stomach space.

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.

George's Restaurant & Catering

A popular haunt for Baylor students, George’s serves up giant, 18-ounce margaritas (or beers) alongside Southern comfort food. Dig into burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and an equally large brownie sundae served in one of its “Big O” glasses.

Franklin Avenue Mac House

The world absolutely needed a restaurant devoted to macaroni and cheese, and Franklin Avenue Mac House rises to the challenge with aplomb. The mac and cheese here is loaded withe everything from brisket and horseradish-pecan cheddar to bacon and gouda. If that sounds a little too rich, go (slightly) lighter with a roasted corn and avocado salad spiked with grilled cheese croutons.

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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.

Magnolia Table

Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Table is always packed full of fans of all things Magnolia. Expect a wait, but stick around to enjoy a pre-lunch latte or pastry until a table is ready. When it’s time to sit down, dig into fluffy buttermilk pancakes or avocado toast on bread from Waco’s own Heritage Bakery.

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.

Related Maps