After living in Waco, TX for five years, I wanted to share some of my favorite restaurants in Waco. Whether I am traveling or at home, I love trying local restaurants everywhere I am. During my time at Baylor, we ate at the same places it seems, but since I got a job there after I graduated, I was able to explore much more.
Note: Since this post was written in 2016, Waco’s restaurant scene has grown immensely due to the popularity of Magnolia and Fixer Upper. Even though I have moved away, I would love to hear about your favorite restaurants in Waco in the comments for my next visit back. Here are some local gems for your next trip to Waco!
Best Waco Breakfast & Coffee Shops
Cafe Cappuccino– “Cafe Capp”
Literally a MUST if you are in town. The pancakes are incredible. The lattes are scrumptious. The food is fabulous. Basically anything on the menu is good unless you get something boring like toast and cereal. Definitely split the pancake because they are HUGE! Try not to go on a Sunday after game-days unless you want to wait for a very long time. This is hands down one of the best breakfast restaurants in Waco!
Mattison’s picks: Cassie Omelet | Gingerbread Pancake | Breakfast Quesadilla
This is a cute little coffee shop with homemade pastries, breads, and fabulous quiche. It is very quaint and the menu constantly changes. Go to their website for daily specials.
Mattison’s picks: Vanilla Latte and whatever delicious pastry sounds good that day!
Right next to Baylor campus and a great spot to sit and catch up with friends or cozy up and read a book. Common Grounds is a student favorite to study and hang out. They have a select menu of pastries but it is mainly just coffee, tea, and espresso beverages.
Mattison’s picks: No Bull (hot or cold) | Iced Rock N’ Roll
OMJ- “Oh My Juice”
Waco’s only local fresh pressed juice shop. Grab a healthy snack, lunch, or smoothie from OMJ while you are shopping downtown or just for a great afternoon pick me up. They are also at the Waco Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
Donuts are obviously not the healthiest but they sure are delicious for the occasional splurge! There are multiple Shipley locations in the Waco area. They have great coffee, donuts, and kolaches.
Mattison’s picks: Ham & Cheese Kolache | Cherry Glazed Donut | Steaming cup of coffee
Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits
The only coffee shop in downtown Waco and it is such a cool place. They have an awesome rooftop to meet up with friends for coffee. Also this place doubles as a coffee bar and full spirit bar. Awesome concept right?
Brunch or Lunch Restaurants in Waco
The Hippodrome is such an iconic part of downtown Waco and I am so thrilled that they have started doing a Sunday Brunch. Not many people know about this fab local find and it is a fantastic option for Football weekends after the Baylor games on Saturday nights to meet up with the fam for Sunday Brunch.
Mattison’s picks: Stuffed Pancakes | Three Amigos (tacos) | Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
One of the cutest places in Waco. Definitely a must for a girls lunch with friends or a lunch date with mom! The soup of the day is always something new and always wonderful. It is located within the shops at Sironia which is full of little boutiqes for a fun afternoon of dining and shopping. Restaurant is only open from 11:00-2:30 for lunch. Shops are open until 6 PM. Oh and they have homemade desserts daily. I love this place!
Mattison’s picks: The Sironia Trio w/ Chicken Salad Sandwich, Spinach Salad, and the Soup of the Day | Splurge for some Coconut Cream Cake
Cupp’s Drive In
This local treasure is located near Baylor campus and a total hidden secret. If you’re wanting a classic diner burger and fries, this is the place to go. The inside is very small, but the food is delicious. They also have a great american breakfast that I get to go sometimes. I highly recommend Cupp’s for breakfast or lunch!
Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shoppe
Another Waco Original that has fabulous sandwiches. They are open for lunch only and closed on sundays! Get the “Schmaltz” it’s their signature sandwich and so yummy!
Lunch & Dinner Restaurants in Waco
Shorty’s Pizza Shack
BEST PIZZA IN WACO!!! I probably go here once a week. I love eating local and this place is a Waco original. Be prepared to be surrounded by college students if you go Thurs-Sat. They have daily specials and a daily slice board where you can order by the slice. Their pizza is great but personally I love their pizza pillows and they have amazing homemade ranch… P.S. It’s so cheap!!!
Mattison’s picks: Spinach & Garlic Pizza Pillow | Wings | Fried Mushrooms | Dos XX Pitcher | Chocolate Knots
This is a Waco Original and a favorite to all in town. George’s has daily food and drink specials that you can find on their website above. It is always packed on the weekend so if you can snag a seat during the week, that is your best bet. EVERYTHING on the menu is good! They have a great variety from chicken fried steak to fajitas to fried catfish.
Yall… This place is awesome. SO cheap and SO good! The combination fajitas for one is plenty of food for two people! Their queso is very good and the fajitas are delish!
One of Downtown Waco’s newest additions and it’s AWESOME! It is a two story BBQ and American restaurant and full bar. They have an awesome Happy Hour and incredible food. Upstairs they have some video games and a shuffle board table and TV’s with kind of a bar feel. Their salads are huge and the mac & cheese is amazing.
A Waco original and home of the best bar-b-que in town. They are known for the “gut pack” which is like a frito pie but with a combination of brisket, sausage, pulled pork and bbq sauce over fritos! It’s soooo goood! Enjoy!
Best Italian in Waco. Hands down… Definitely get some garlic bread, it will melt in your mouth. Anything on the menu will be delicious. This place is BYOB also and they will chill and serve your wine or beer for you throughout your meal. Awesome!!
Located right off Interstate 35 next to Gander Mtn. This is a great new addition to Waco! It is a sports bar with a more extensive menu than just burger and wings. It will be a great hit during football season! See my happy hour page for Bubba’s drink specials.
Klassy Glass Wine Bar & Bistro
This is one of my favorite spots downtown for lunch or dinner. It is a great spot to meet girlfriends for a glass of wine and healthy dinner, or a great date night. The atmosphere had great city vibes and I love the food and the prices are great!
Mattison’s pick: Roasted Red Pepper & Gouda Soup with a Spinach Salad | Diseno Malbec
Desserts in Waco
The Bakery at the Silos
I’m sure you have heard of Magnolia Market from the HGTV show “Fixer Upper”. The bakery that they have added to the Silos is such a great addition to Waco. The “Shiplap” cupcake is out of this world!! They are big enough to share, or get a few and try different flavors.
Pokey O’s Food Truck
Ever have the craving for cookies and ice cream at the same time? Pokey O’s has the best Ice Cream Sandwiches stuffed between two warm cookies.
Waco’s newest ice cream shop located right next to Baylor Campus and Common Grounds. Check them out for some fabulous flavors.
Katie’s Frozen Custard
The famous Katie’s is a Waco original. I absolutely love their pumpkin pie custard that they have every fall.
Thank you so much for checking out the post. I would love to hear what are your favorite Waco Restaurants. If you are just passing through for a weekend trip, or if you’re a local Waco, I hope you found something new you can’t wait to try out for your next meal. I am so thankful for my time living in Waco during my time at Baylor and for my first job out of college. Stick around and check out the rest of the blog while you’re here.
You may also like other city guides from New York City, Chattanooga, Park City, Charleston, or Columbia.
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Thanks for all the great ideas. If you like to visit a good craft brewery Bare Arms brewing company was a very pleasant surprise after the drive from Houston. All their beers were nice but my favorite was the Apple pi which is seasonal. They had it on tap at Crickets which is great for a late night dinner or snack.
Hey Marcie! I actually just discovered Bare Arms as well and it is fantastic. Thank you so much for the tip! I’ll have to update the article since Waco is constantly growing and getting more great places. I hope you had an awesome visit to Waco.
D’s Mediterranean Grill and Clay Pot need to be added. You should also add the food trucks on University Parks. I thought I read something in the Trib about Manny’s closing.
Thank you for your suggestions. I have actually not eaten from those places in order to recommend them, but I’ll have to check them out.
Health Camp is a good place to eat. we were in Waco and stumbled across this place. the burger and shake along with the malts were fabulous and the price wasn’t bad either., it was definitely worth going in there
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I love a good burger!
Perfect places for Valentine’s Day celebration.
How could you forget about schmaltz sandwich shoppe!! It’s iconic to waco Texas!!
Hey Madison! I could never forget about them! They’re in the post under brunch & lunch! You must have scrolled past it 🙂