13 Best Restaurants in Waco Texas

Waco, Texas, is a small college town in the center of Texas that has only recently morphed into a city with a (newly) booming culinary scene. The restaurants in Waco have slowly been gaining recognition even outside Waco borders.

As the hometown of the famous Fixer Upper couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Waco's restaurant landscape has seen a HUGE transformation in recent years.

While the popular Magnolia Table, owned by the Gaines family, has drawn visitors from all over, the city offers a pretty impressive variety of other diverse dining experiences that are worth knowing about.

From authentic Tex-Mex to award-winning central Texas BBQ, burger joints, steakhouses, and pizza spots, Waco's culinary scene can cater to pretty much any palate and preference.

Milo's All Day

Of course, the best restaurants in Waco offer more than just delicious meals; dining at restaurants is about so much more than just the food!

Waco restaurants provide an opportunity to experience the essence of this Texas city. A restaurant should provide an interesting place to dine, a hospitable staff, and (duh) exceptional food. After all, that's why we spend our money eating out - it should be a fun experience! 

In this guide, you'll be able to find some of the best restaurants that have contributed to Waco's reputation as a growing food destination.

Whether you're a local looking for your next favorite spot or a visitor seeking a memorable meal, Waco's restaurant scene is a fun one. Here are the best restaurants in Waco, Texas. 

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The Best Restaurants in Waco, TX

1. Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shop

Schmaltz's Sandwich Shop in Waco

When you're looking for a quick local lunch stop, Schmaltz's Sandwich Shop is a the place to go. Shmaltz's has been around since 1975 and they have the best sandwiches in Waco!

This old-school shop started at Baylor University where it became popular with the students, and later they opened this branch in Downtown Waco.

Schmaltz's prides itself on offering a wide selection of sandwiches, each prepared with high-quality ingredients. And you can taste the difference! 

Psst: Schmaltz's is quite popular during the lunch rush. Expect a bit of a wait, so if you’re in a hurry, definitely call ahead and place your order in advance! Otherwise plan on waiting about 20 minutes for your sandwich. 

The shop primarily serves lunch. There are a few crowd favorites, but you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything on the menu!

If you want a rec, though, one of the best things on the menu is The Schmaltz Sandwich made with mozzarella, cheddar & parmesan cheese, ham, salami, lunch meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, mustard, and garlic butter, served on their homemade bread. A tip: order double the meat, because the bread is pretty bread-y and they don't put a lot of meat on it. Double the protein helps to balance out the flavors. 

Speaking of their homemade bread: it's delicious! It's a round, flat bun with a soft, doughy texture and a few sesame seeds sprinkled on top. It's what makes a Shmaltz sandwich a Shmaltz sandwich. 

Waco locals visit again and again, but it’s also a great spot for visitors who are driving through Waco on I35 and need a spot to stop for lunch.


WEBSITE | 4445, 1412 N Valley Mills Dr #136, Waco, TX 76710

2. Guess Family BBQ

Best Restaurants in Waco-03

Ranked in the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas by Texas Monthly in 2021, Guess Family BBQ is a barbecue haven that embodies the true spirit of Texas barbecue. This family-owned and operated bbq pit has been serving up mouthwatering smoked meats to locals and visitors for years.

Guess Family BBQ is a traditional barbecue joint with a commitment to preserving the art of slow-smoked meat. So yes, that means you'll find all the expected classics here.

Sliced brisket is the star of the show (this is Texas, after all!), housemade chipotle cheddar sausage, pork ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, and a half smoked chicken rounding out the menu.

Their sides are a testament to Texas tradition, too. Texas BBQ restaurants love to take favorites like beans, mac n cheese, and grits, and put their own spin on them. Guess Family BBQ does this by offering the most scrumptious green chile mac and cheese, cheddar grits, and beans with burnt ends. Delish.

It's not uncommon to find lines forming, especially during the weekends. If you don’t want to get stuck in a line, you can order ahead for takeout.

The ambiance at Guess Family BBQ is down-to-earth and inviting, with picnic tables and a rustic atmosphere. There are a few TV screens that are typically showing sports, a pool table, and a bar with lots of options for cocktails and beers on draft. It's a family-friendly space with plenty of big tables where you can gather with your group and enjoy some of the best BBQ in Waco.

WEBSITE | 2803 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76710

3. Milo All Day

Milo's All Day

Good luck getting a Sunday morning brunch table here without a reservation...this place is packed on the weekends! Milo All Day is a bright, modern restaurant with all-day American eats.

There's an emphasis on southern-inspired cuisine, although it's not your typical "southern food" that you might expect. Milo serves a fusion of casual and upscale eats. 

Apart from the beautiful interior (seriously - so pretty!), their commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and a passion for craft cooking puts Milo on this guide to the best restaurants in Austin. The quality of ingredients is evident!

And the, of course, it's simply one of the most adorable restaurants in Waco. It’s bright and airy and comfortable with lots of white walls, exposed ceiling, and live plants. There's a big covered outdoor patio that's nice on a pretty afternoon. 

As previously mentioned, this popular spot is known for its brunch, which can get quite crowded during the weekends. While a weekend brunch is SO good, don’t sleep on their weekday lunch menu. 

The restaurant features an eclectic menu with items that showcase a range of southern flavors. Some of the most popular menu items include the Mad Burger served with 44 Farms beef, chimichurri aioli, cheddar, and house-made pickles on a seeded challah bun, served with parmesan fries. For dinner, the crispy brussels sprouts and smoked pork chop with sweet potato mole are two must-order items.

With its scrumptious southern menu, contemporary interior, light-filled atmosphere, and all-day dining options, Milo All Day is the perfect spot to stop by at any time of the day. Whether you're looking for a lazy brunch, a fun lunch spot in Waco, or a cute dinner spot for date night, this is one of the best Waco restaurants for any occasion.

WEBSITE | 1020 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

4. Pivovar

Pivovar Waco-29

You might have seen this place on the guide to the best craft breweries in Waco, but Pivovar is actually a full-blown Czech restaurant, too! It's a sit-down restaurant that feels a little bit upscale (great for a nice dinner out), but it's still family-friendly with crayons and kids menus, if necessary.

Pivovar is a Czech brewery, hotel, beer garden, spa, and restaurant. Diners will get to enjoy a view of their gorgeous brewery while they're eating. The entire restaurant space, actually is quite beautiful! It has a European feel to it, with dark wood, leather seating, and lots of copper tones.

The food is traditional Czech cuisine, which means there are plenty of Polish, Hungarian, and German influences.

You can expect to find lots of housemade sausages, schnitzels, curry-wurst, and short ribs. There are reuban sandwiches and Czech fried cheese and beer-battered onion rings and all sorts of delicious, crave-able starters and entrees.

And if you're having trouble selling the idea of curry-wurst to a 3-year-old, they also have cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, and fries on the menu.

The true highlight of Pivovar is their authentic Czech beer lineup. Be sure to start with a flight of their delicious beers if you dine at Pivovar!

WEBSITE | 320 S 8th St, Waco, TX 76701

5. Vitek’s

Best Restaurants in Waco Texas

Vitek's, a Waco, Texas iconic barbecue and burger joint, has been serving up mouthwatering dishes to locals and visitors for over a century! Vitek's is steeped in history and tradition, making it a must-visit destination for those who want a taste of Waco's culinary heritage.

This legendary eatery is renowned for its blend of two classic American food genres: barbecue and burgers. Vitek's isn't just a restaurant; it's a piece of Waco's history that has stood the test of time.

Vitek's is primarily a lunch destination, but it’s open for dinner on the weekends. The "Gut Pak" is the star attraction and a must-try for any visitor. This signature dish is a messy and wonderful jumble of Fritos, bread, beans, sausage, cheese, pickles, onions, and jalapeños, all smothered in barbecue sauce. It's a uniquely Texan creation that's oh-so- satisfying and delicious.

Other popular menu items include their classic BBQ sandwiches, burgers, and mouthwatering sides like loaded mac n cheese.

WEBSITE | 1600 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706

6. Slow Rise Slice House

Best Restaurants in Waco-09

Slow Rise Slice House is a Waco institution. It's a no-frills counter service restaurant that's very popular among college students for its delicious pizzas, low prices, and quick ordering system.

But it's also a great place for adults and families! They have waterfront dining, a good draft beer and cocktail list, and a friendly staff.

Slow Rise makes their NY-style pies through the process of allowing the dough to ferment and "slow rise," resulting in a deep flavor and big, foldable slices with a crispy edge.

They're open 7 days a week, which makes this an easy choice when you're thinking, "where should I eat in Waco?" and you really don't want to have to think too long about it.

Starters include pizzeria classics like meatballs, wings, and chips & queso. (Because #Texas.) There are a few standard salads on the menu, and delicious fried mac n cheese appetizer. (Ask for extra ranch!)

Pizzas are available by the slice, which is nice if you're dining solo and don't want to have a bunch of leftovers. But...this pizza is really tasty, and leftovers are never a bad idea! Whole pizzas are available in a wider variety of flavor options.

There are two locations, but if you want to dine by the water, opt for the N. MLK Jr Blvd location.

WEBSITE | 1620 N M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Waco, TX 76704

7. Alpha Omega Grill and Bakery

Alpha Omega Bakery in Waco Texas

Alpha Omega Grill and Bakery is a bit of a hidden gem in Waco, Texas. (That is, among tourists - locals know it very well!) It’s a Greek restaurant that combines the best of Mediterranean cuisine with classic bakery items.

Their menu combines the flavors of Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean regions, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and made-from-scratch dishes. And it is truly SO inexpensive! You could easily fill up for under $10 at Alpha Omega.

The restaurant has all-day dining available, from brunch to lunch and dinner. One of the most popular menu items is the delicious ribeye gyro, made with grilled ribeye with onions, bell peppers, and white wine mushroom sauce, wrapped with fries & tomatoes. And don’t miss their classic pork gyro, which is another best seller.

The ambiance at Alpha Omega is cozy and inviting, with a European-inspired interior. It's a fast-casual restaurant, so you'll order at the counter and then take a seat and wait for your name to be called.

Looking for dessert? The bakery section features a nice selection of freshly baked goods, including bread, pastries, and baklava.

WEBSITE | 929 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

8. Magnolia Table

Magnolia Table

You might have read about this restaurant in our guide to Magnolia Market, and it’s certainly worth a visit next time you’re in Waco.

Magnolia Table is a charming farmhouse restaurant that embodies the essence of the Magnolia brand created by Chip and Joanna Gaines. This warm and inviting eatery offers a unique dining experience inspired by the Gaines's love for family, community, and delicious food.

Magnolia Table is a breakfast and lunch restaurant. They serve fresh, home-cooked meals in a relaxed and beautiful atmosphere. Their goal is to make you feel at home while you enjoy food with friends and family!

A little tip for you: Magnolia Table is known for its breakfast and brunch, and it gets absolutely packed around 9 and 10 am…especially on the weekends! You should definitely make a reservation for this Waco restaurant. If you forgot, just plan on getting there early-ish to beat the breakfast crowd.

The menu features a variety of farm-to-table crowd-pleasers. One of the most iconic lunch items is their pimento grilled cheese sandwich with tomato basil soup. And if you’re stopping by for breakfast, you must try the Breakfast Sandwich which has layered thick-cut bacon, havarti cheese, arugula, tomato, fried egg and garlic aioli spread served with a side of breakfast potatoes.

The vibe at Magnolia Table is a reflection of the Gaines's signature farmhouse style. It has that classic warm and inviting decor that makes you to feel right at home.

Whether you're a fan of their design empire or simply looking for a delicious and heartwarming meal, Magnolia Table is one of the best restaurants in Waco for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. {Photo: Magnolia Table}

WEBSITE | 2132 S Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76706

9. Jasper’s BBQ

Best Restaurants in Waco Texas

Jasper's BBQ is a must-visit Waco restaurant for barbecue enthusiasts. At more than a century old, this rustic restaurant is rooted in tradition. 

It all started at the corner of Clifton Street and Elm Avenue in 1919. Since then Jasper's has been serving mouthwatering barbecue in the city. It's truly a part of Waco's history! 

Jasper's BBQ specializes in classic Texas barbecue. They serve from 10 am to 2 pm only, so it's a good destination for a smoky, savory lunch meal.

Now, let's talk about their star attraction – the brisket. Jasper's is known for its tender, slow-smoked meats that practically melt in your mouth.

The most popular menu items include their lunch plates with your choice of meat & two sides. Take your pick from their sliced brisket, chopped brisket, smoked sausage, ring bologna, smoked chicken breast, and pork spare ribs.

Pair these with classic Texas sides like pinto beans, potato salad, coleslaw, or a bag of chips, and you're in for a true Texan treat.

If you're super hungry and want to try a bit of everything, order the "Taste of Jasper's" sample platter that includes two pork spare ribs, a smoked sausage link, a smoked bologna ring, chopped brisket, a slice of brisket, and a fountain drink. 

The restaurant's warm and inviting atmosphere, complete with wooden décor and a welcoming staff, adds to the overall experience. Whether you're a local or just passing through Waco, Jasper's BBQ is a must-visit destination for anyone craving authentic Texas barbecue.

WEBSITE |  105 Clifton St, Waco, TX 76704

10. Moroso Wood Fired Pizza

Best Restaurants in Waco Texas

Moroso Wood Fired Pizza, nestled in the heart of Waco, Texas, is THE place to get pizza in Waco. This Italian pizzeria is renowned for its wood-fired Neapolitan pizza (which is quite different from the NY-style pies you can get at Slow Rise Slice House, mentioned earlier.) 

Moroso Wood Fired Pizza takes the art of pizza-making seriously. They're dedicated to using simple, high-quality ingredients and traditional wood-fired ovens.

The restaurant serves dinner, so this is more of a sit-down dinner spot for a nice meal rather than a quick pizza lunch spot.

If it’s your first time, the Classico is a crowd favorite, served with san marzano tomatos, smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, caramelized onion, chilis, basil, and oregano.

Another delicious one is the Contadino pizza which has tomatos, Italian sausage, crispy pancetta, sopressata, pepperoni, and fresh mozzarella. They also offer small plates, entrees, salads, pasta and more.

The ambiance at Moroso is cozy, with wood floors and dim lighting. There's open kitchen showcasing the wood-fired oven, which is where the pizzas are expertly crafted. It's a nice place to gather with friends or enjoy a romantic dinner.

WEBSITE | 4700 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX 76710

11. Health Camp

Health Camp

Health Camp, a beloved institution in Waco, Texas, and no...it isn’t actually healthy. Don’t be fooled by the name, but DO plan to stop by! It's an iconic drive-in restaurant that has been delighting locals and visitors for decades. This classic eatery offers a nostalgic dining experience that transports guests back in time

They’ve been serving up classic American comfort food since 1948. Health Camp proudly states that it's "not a diet place," emphasizing its dedication to delicious, no-frills, and indulgent fare.

Health Camp serves lunch and dinner, and their menu is packed with all your classic diner favorites. Among the most popular menu items is the Health Burger, a true crowd-pleaser. They offer a couple different burger combos served with fries or onion rings and a drink.

Of course, you can’t visit Health Camp without getting a milkshake to pair with your burger. They come in so many flavors, from the classics (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry) to the more absurd (pumpkin pie, coconut cheesecake, s’mores).

WEBSITE | 2601 Circle Rd, Waco, TX 76706

12. Cricket’s Draft House and Grill

Crickett's Grill


Cricket's Draft House and Grill is a popular Waco restaurant that has classic delicious pub food and the largest selection of beer in Waco. This spot is known for its warm ambiance, an extensive selection of draft beers, and a hearty grill menu.

Cricket's is one of those quintessential American sports bars and grills. If you want a simple spot for classic pub food + plenty of screens for live sports, this is your spot.

The restaurant is famous for its friendly service and vibrant atmosphere. It's an awesome place for a casual gathering with friends.

Cricket's serves both lunch and dinner, and on weekends, you can get brunch to kickstart your day.

Try their mouthwatering burgers, loaded with a range of toppings and served with crispy fries. Their chicken wings, available in various flavors, are another hit.

If you're craving a healthier option, the salads are fresh and pretty big. And of course, their extensive draft beer selection is their crown jewel.

Whether you're a sports enthusiast looking for a great spot to Waco to watch the gam a game or simply looking for a great meal in a casual atmosphere, Cricket's Draft House and Grill is a great restaurant choice in Waco.

WEBSITE | 211 Mary Ave, Waco, TX 76701 

13. Jake’s Texas Tea House

Best Restaurants in Waco Texas

Jake's Texas Tea House is a charming little eatery that celebrates Texan cuisine. This restaurant, with a touch of down-home southern charm and retro style that will take you back to the ’50s, is a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike.

Jake's Texas Tea House is an American restaurant that offers a unique twist on Texan comfort food. The restaurant prides itself on using locally sourced and high-quality ingredients.

One thing to note is that they only serve brunch and lunch, plus a family-style meal every Sunday. Don’t plan on dinner here! 

A must-try item if it’s your first time at Jake's? Their hubcap burgers! They have a lot of flavors/toppings available, but they all feature handmade patties served on fresh bakery buns. Try the “Diesel” with jalapeno and poblano, or the indulgent “Cadillac Melt” with bacon, sauteed onions, pepper jack, and poblanos on grilled jalapeno bread.

Photo Credit: Scott Y, Yelp

WEBSITE | 613 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701