A Foodie’s Guide on what to do in Waco!
SO here is the deal… if you have read my blog, you know I am a true foodie through and through. I don’t go more than 2 hours without thinking about food or where to eat or how to eat or what to cook! So when I travel, I EAT… and when I eat, I eat GOOD! This week I traveled with my family to Texas and we decided to basically do a full road trip all over Texas. One of the places we visited was Waco.
All About Waco
Waco has such a rich history. I knew about some of the more devastating events that have taken place in Waco, but the deep rooted farming history is absolutely amazing! Unfortunately when you research Waco, the first things that pop up are the Waco Siege. To be honest, this town is so much more than that. I see exactly what Joanna Gaines saw in this cute and historic farm town… potential! She definitely picked a beautiful spot for Magnolia Market! In downtown Waco, you can visibly see rich history in the old historic buildings. Thousands of farmers driving thousands of cattle have once traveled through the heart of this historic town, stopping in Waco to get feed & food for trade. Waco was an extremely important trade and commerce city in Texas’ economy. Since this time in the late 1800’s, Waco has also been an area for Cotton production during World War II. Shortly after World War II, a large tornado came through the downtown area and destroyed the heart of the city. This caused destruction for many years. It wasn’t until many years later, in 1978, that The Urban Renewal Project began to revamp the city into what it is today. Seriously, this city is beautiful and historic. If you haven’t visited before, it’s a must.
When we first arrived in Waco we decided to explore to find dinner and we thought we were lost [in a farming industrial area], and then soon we found Waco’s delicious food scene. The best food in Waco is right around the Silo’s and Magnolia Market. Out and around the downtown area there are tons of delicious and trendy/fun eating spots inside Magnolia & outside Magnolia! I am going to dive into a bunch of them here!
First let’s talk Magnolia & All It’s Glory
Okay… the question you’ve all been wondering… is Magnolia all that it’s cracked up to be? Yes. However, it is EXTREMELY BUSY. The amazing business concept of Chip & Joanna is definitely visible everywhere you walk. It is set up to be a money making machine, so if you have this in mind when you walk in… you will really enjoy walking around and enjoying nice weather, beautiful scenery, shopping for what you can, and sipping on a sweet tea [from the Alabama Sweet Tea Food Truck]. Obviously Magnolia is a tourist attraction, but man is it gorgeous! Joanna really thought of all the things when putting this place together. When we got there, we went straight inside the Market to shop and look around. The line for this was only about 5 minutes and then we went right in, walked around, got some souvenirs & cute decor, and we checked out. In and out in about 30 minutes. One thing that was going on inside the Market was the March Markdown! It was a discount table full of awesome items that were marked down by $5-$10. It was great! I got a TON of food props here for super cheap and marked down prices! Another thing to note, is that military, medical personnel, first responders, and TEACHERS get 10% off in every single store or restaurant all over Magnolia! This was seriously the coolest discount I have seen. As a teacher, I definitely appreciated that! Overall Magnolia Market was great! After this we walked around and looked at some of the smaller shops around the Magnolia grounds. All of the shops were great, and there is definitely something for everyone. Magnolia is way larger that I had originally thought in my head. NOW… onto the FOOD!! One thing awesome about Magnolia, is the food truck choices. They have turned the courtyard area into a giant food truck park, which is super trendy and fun! Basically there is something for everyone food wise. There was asian food, a drink bar, hot dogs, grilled cheese, BBQ, and so much more. Literally something for every person in your family. I will talk more about my favorite food truck Club Sandwich, later in this post! After lunch, we moseyed on over to Magnolia Home to look at the furniture set ups and explore. Again Joanna, I applaud you. Such an entrepreneur! Magnolia home is like dream house set up goals! After this, we headed over to Silo’s Bakery, which was heavenly. The Lemon Lavender Cupcake was wonderfully done, as well as the other three flavors we tried: Strawberries & Cream, Toasted Coconut, & Silobration. One thing to note about the bakery, is that you will wait in line for 30-45 minutes. We decided to do this on our way out of Magnolia. I would definitely have this in mind when you are going to Magnolia. The better option may be to get there right as it opens. This is totally preference, but I am sure you will wait some time for sure. It is totally worth it!
Best Food Truck
In my opinion, the best food truck I have ever had, not just in Waco… I mean EVER… is Club Sandwich. It is not at all what it sounds to be. No sandwiches at all, instead delicious Asian Inspired Rice or Cabbage Bowls. You get a choice of protein, your choice of cabbage, rice, or 1/2 rice & 1/2 cabbage, and then your choice of sauce. If you are in need of a healthy & delicious lunch, their cabbage bowl with chicken, sriracha ranch & cilantro lime sauce is amazing! The owner, Youngdae, is happy to help you try any protein or sauce before ordering to ensure you get the bowl of your dreams! He was so helpful to us in deciding exactly what we all wanted! I seriously couldn’t rave about this food truck & Youngdae enough. I say it all the time, but restaurants and food trucks that specialize in 4-5 really good menu items or options do so much better than restaurants with 1000 things on the menu! Club Sandwich is the perfect example of a few things done RIGHT! It was absolutely incredible! I highly recommend grabbing a bowl as you are enjoying your day inside Magnolia.
Best Downtown Restaurant
Hecho en Waco was absolutely AMAZING! Now, let me be clear… Yes, this is a fun/trendy restaurant within walking distance to Magnolia, but it is also authentic and unique as well. To start off your meal, they bring out a vibrant & spicy salsa that was incredible. They also bring out a bean dip that is killer! I couldn’t stop eating it. I also ordered a delicious, but fairly standard margarita on the rocks. A delicious appetizer is the Queso Panela. It is a block cheese, submerged in their house tomatillo sauce & topped with tomatoes. They serve it with their house tortillas & man is it delicious! For dinner, I had the Carne Asada, which was wonderful & full of smokey flavor! My step-dad ordered the Enchilada de Mole & it was some of the best Mole I have ever had in my life. Seriously, if you are looking for a more authentic & fun restaurant in and around the downtown area, this is the spot.
Other Great Restaurants
Di Campli’s Italian Ristorante was absolutely incredible Italian food! This honestly was such a fun little place! It is family owned & operated, and you can tell they put their heart and soul into this place. They have a killer patio if you like eating outside. They also have great wines & cocktails that pair wonderfully with their handmade pastas & sauces! We ordered two of their amazing appetizers: Suppli’ & the Carpaccio. These were both phenomenal starters; the Suppli’ was a deep fried mash potato ball sitting in pomodoro sauce; the Carpaccio was delicious marinated beef tenderloin with a horseradish cream sauce. For dinner, I enjoyed the Pappardelle, which was nothing short of incredible. This was a braised short rib, carrots, and peas over the famous ribbon-style pasta. We all enjoyed one of their amazing pasta dishes from the menu & they were all delicious! This is definitely a must try spot!
Obviously, this wouldn’t be a fair post without talking about Magnolia Table. We did go here for brunch, and I will say… make sure you have reservations. We waited 45 minutes with reservations! So keep that in mind. When you wait, you can order any of their juices or coffees at the walk-up outdoor bar area. Overall, this was also a great experience. The homemade biscuits are good, but the strawberry butter on them is very good! The coolest thing to me about Magnolia Table was their fresh pressed juices. I had the sweet greens juice & it was crispy, sweet, & refreshing. My step-dad had the fresh veg juice & it was slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and extremely fresh (hence the name)! I had the Farm Eggs Benedict & it was very tasty! Overall a great eat, but be prepared to wait a minute.