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Best places in Waco?

I can't find a recent Waco topic, so here goes.

What's everyone else's favorite spots? Anything off the beaten path to try? Anywhere new open up?

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  1. From Austin, we met friends from DFW area in Waco for Father's Day. We had a good, traditional southern lunch at the Elite Cafe (famous for visits from Elvis). I have not had a chicken fried steak in several years so I ordered it as it just seemed the thing to do. It was the best I may have ever had. The gravy was flavorful and the breading held up well on the HUGE CFS. I believe that everyone in our party walked away happy. Afterwards, we went to Buzzard Billy's for a couple of drinks on the Brazos River. That place is a Razoo's type restaurant with a loud and happening bar.

    1. Timely topic as I will be in Waco for three days in July visiting family. Haven't lived there in 20+ years but do visit every couple. Is Kitok's still there? Still remember their rice & bulgogi. Good to hear about the chicken fried steak at Elite Cafe. Will keep that in mind. I was actually thinking of going to Babe's in Carrollton after reading about it on the board the last week.

      Spots I usually hit with the kids are Uncle Dan's, Ninfas, Schmaltz & Diamond Back for special occasions. I got the best cherry pie one year from some tiny specialty gift shop in downtown but was gone on my next visit. Where's the best place to get pies besides Marie Callendar's? Also, any other places even for one dish?

      One memorable meal in Waco last year: Took the kids to Dairy Queen & enjoyed their basic burger. Just not the same in California:-( It was just kind of cool to take the kids there for a burger & ice cream. Somehow, it just seems more down home, friendly, less chainish than going to a McDonalds. Aah, nostalgic memories I guess:-)


      3 Replies
      1. re: ceekskat

        In the same general area as Buzzard Billy's, one will find Cricket's. Of the two, I prefer Cricket's. Their burgers are a staple when I visit Waco.

        If there are shoppers in your group, there are stores upstairs a few doors down from Cricket's. That's also a staple when I go to Waco.

        1. re: onatrip

          Buzzard Billy's actually moved across the river from downtown now--where Dock's used to be in that building next to 35 that's built over the river. Just tried the new location and it's pretty good--the portions are huge, too.

          Big fan of Cricket's, too. Their quesadillas and CFS are divine...not to mention the beer selection.

          And yes, Dairy Queens here rock. I can't find a Dude (burger with chicken-fried steak) out of state. That's my favorite thing at DQ. :o)

        2. re: ceekskat

          Kitok's is still there. Looooove me one of their burgers.

          Buzzard Billy's moved across the river to Dock's old location--the one next to I-35 that hangs over the river. Just tried the new location and it's pretty good. The portions are huuuuge.

          Marie Callander's isn't even here anymore. Went out of business. I think the Cameron Trading Company? or one of the antique places downtown sells homemade pies, though. Haven't tried it myself, but that's the only pie place I can think of in Waco.

          (Oh, and the Dude--DQ's chicken-fried steak burger--is my favorite thing there. I can't find it out of state and that makes me very, very sad.)

        3. Bush's Chicken is the place for chicken tenders... fast and awesome sweet tea..

          1. Steph,

            You troll around here also? You know it's Jorge's on the Brazos, no?


            1 Reply
            1. re: J.R.

              Haha, yep--just found it the other day when I was looking for somewhere new to take my folks in town.

              And yes, I do enjoy the George's. A lot.

            2. Yum to Schmaltz's. My sister always wants to go there when she is in from DE. I also LOVE the Cathay House, the best Chinese food. My parents are big fans of Heitmillers off I-35 just north of Waco. I'm not a big steak lover so I think it is just ok (also they are renovating it now and the inside is kinda a mess). I love Rosa's. I know it is a chain, but it is delicious.

              1. Bangkok Royale at University-Parks and Franklin. Choo-chee duck, seafood dishes and Pad Thai are fresh and delicious.

                D's Mediterranean Grill, Fifteenth and Colcord. Lebanese family offers falafel, gyros, tabouli, spanekopeta, domathes, etc.

                Tony DeMaria's Barbecue and Jasper's Barbecue, both on Elm Street. Good basic barbecue, with a common lineage.

                Green Room Grille: Fine dining at Eighth and Austin. Steaks, seafood, creme brulee, etc.

                Dubl-R Burgers, Lyle and 19th. Greasy burgers and onion rings. Contender for best burger, along with Kitok and Health Camp.

                Dancing Bear Pub/Food for Thought: Speight and 12th. Lots of craft beers on tap, knowledgeable staff, good pizza and burritos from cafe next door.

                El Siete Mares (Dutton and 20th): Verucruz-style seafood. Ceviche and Shrimp a la diablo are favorites.

                Rosati's: Authentic Chicago Pizza; first franchise in Texas. Coming soon to Waco's new town square.

                2 Replies
                1. re: xavieronassis

                  Go to Kitock's (sp?) on 17th for a burger and oriental fries...it's a Korean place, but the bugers are the best!

                  1. re: xavieronassis

                    Here's another vote for Bangkok Royale. I haven't been there in a couple of years but the last time I did, thought it was very good.

                    And I'm glad to see it get a mention.

                    In fact, just posted in another Waco thread that there are several good Asian restaurants in the Waco area, like there are in towns surrounding every US military base. Glad I read this recommendation for Bangkok Royale, as I had kind of forgotten about it.

                  2. I try to make a point to stop at the Elite Cafe when I am driving from Dallas to Austin.

                    1. As a long-time resident of the Waco Area I believe that Waco is FULL of great food, but you must get away from the I-35 and Baylor areas to find it - with the exception of Buzzard Billy's at its new location right on the river at I-35. I'll start with Buzzard Billy's Armadillo Bar and Grillo. Super Cajun/Creole fare. The best Bananas Foster in town and great Chicken "Alfredeaux" .

                      For burgers, Captain Billy's (901 Lake Air Dr.) or Double-R Burgers (1810 Herring Ave.) - owned and operated by brothers.

                      For BBQ, Jasper's (105 Clifton St.) if you want the REAL thing - meat hand rubbed with spices and then slow cooked over a hot bed - but it's not quite the same atmosphere since they covered the dirt floor with concrete. Your choices on the menu are an "order" or a "half order." Then there is Uncle Dan's BBQ. Actually quite famous - they ship anywhere in the world in 24 hours. (And you may even see Dan behind the counter - 1001 Lake Air Dr.)

                      For fine dining, the newest ritz is called The Green Room - downtown across from the historic Hippodrome Theater. Also "1424", at (you guessed it) 1424 Washington Ave. The White Chocolate Bread Pudding is heaven!

                      For high-dollar and high class fare try Diamond Back's downtown at the The River Square Center on Franklin Ave. near the river. (It will take 3 or more people to get-on-the-outside-of the Chocolate Sack, as my granddad would have said.)

                      Also at the River Square Center you will find some great Sushi at Teriyaki Park. And two doors down is what I think is the best kept secret in Waco - Bangkok Royale. The peanut dressing on the salad is only the beginning of a delightful palate party. In the same shopping/dining center is Cricket's Grille with a fun atmosphere, American fare and a wall of imported beer taps. (But that's all I would know about that - I think they should pour all it back in the horse, myself.) Across the street at Heritage Square is a great little deli, the Olive Branch Bakery.

                      Often voted the best Mexican food in Central Texas is a local favorite, La Fiesta (Franklin Ave. at Valley Mills) - but it is not traditional American-Mex or Tex-Mex - it is closer to the real thing. So also is Lolita's - super breakfast and great menu items for lunch also. (Lolita operates her establishment at 1911 Franklin Ave.) If you want the truest, real Mexican cuisine, there is a good spot on Waco Dr. at 17th, El Charro Tapapio. It helps here if you speak Spanish. (Go to Rosa's or Taco Cabana for Tex-Mex.)

                      Rosati's and Poppa Rollo are the best places in town for Pizza. Rosati'a is in Hewitt on the main drag in from of Walmart. Poppa Rollo is at 703 N. Valley Mills.

                      And then there are always the common chain restaurants, but then you can eat at those when you are back at home, right?

                      1. Pizza--terrific thin crust at Poppa Rollo's on Valley Mills Drive.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: oscar lawrence

                          Been doing the back room at Rollo's since the early-80 when in college. I don 't know what it is about the place, (probably good -ole -times syndrome), but I really lke it. Still go most times when in town for games ect.

                          1. re: J.R.

                            Baris right across the street also has good pizza and calzones