The 10 Best Restaurants in Waco, Texas

Waco is known for being the home of many things—Dr. Pepper, the world’s largest Baptist university (Baylor), HGTV’s supercouple Chip and Joanna Gaines—and yet the food scene there is often overlooked. Which is a shame because, for such a relatively small Texan city, culinary gems abound. Whether you’re craving Vietnamese, Indian, Tex-Mex, Italian, or some of the best barbecue in the state, Waco has a well-rounded palate and several standout eateries.

01 of 10

Clay Pot

Bowl of bun thit nuong cha: vermicelli noodles with Grilled pork, pork egg roll, cucumber, and cilantro

Courtesy of Clay Pot 

Address
416 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701-2109, USA
Phone +1 254-756-2721

Waco’s only Vietnamese restaurant is also one of its all-around best restaurants. This cozy, intimate spot boasts delicious pho, spring rolls, vermicelli bowls, and other Vietnamese delicacies, but you'd be missing out if you didn't order one of their namesake clay pot dishes—a concoction of meats, mixed with broccoli, carrots, rice, and a sweet herb sauce. Plus, a meal at Clay Pot is as much of a visual feast as it is a culinary adventure. The tranquil patio space is anchored by a giant, dragon-shaped white marble fountain, and a colorful, 400-tile mural dominates one of the walls.

02 of 10

Lula Jane's

Address
406 Elm Ave, Waco, TX 76704, USA
Phone +1 254-366-0862

Lula Jane’s is the city’s first farm-to-table restaurant, and it’s always flooded with locals. Tucked away on Elm Avenue, in East Waco, this charming, light-filled cafe serves fragrant coffee and baked goods made from scratch, while the daily lunch special always features fresh veggies and herbs from the on-site garden. We dare you to try to resist their melt-in-your-mouth selection of desserts (think bacon-cheddar scones, buttermilk pie, bread pudding, and pound cake). Some of the desserts can even be made vegan upon request. Oh, and feel free to bring your pooch here; Lula Jane’s is one of the few restaurants in town that’s dog-friendly.

03 of 10

Stone Hearth Indian Cafe

Overhead shot of naan, rice and kebabs from Stone Hearth Indian Cafe

Courtesy of Stone Hearth Indian Cafe

Address
506 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701-2107, USA
Phone +1 254-339-1706

Located downtown, just a few blocks away from the Magnolia Market Silos, Stone Hearth Indian Cafe is a fast-casual joint that serves truly delectable Indian fare (which can be spiced according to your preference). Though it opened fairly recently, this Austin Avenue establishment instantly made its way into locals’ hearts and bellies. The lamb saag paneer is the best thing on the menu: It’s creamy, rich, and packed with flavor. Or, pick your own protein for tikka masala and other entrees; there are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, too.

04 of 10

Taqueria El Crucero

Address
2505 N Robinson Dr, Waco, TX 76706-3827, USA
Phone +1 254-662-3359

Need to get your tacos and burrito fix? Pay a visit to Taqueria El Crucero, an unassuming little family-owned restaurant that has fantastic breakfast burritos, migas, tacos, and more. Their legendary Oso burrito is stuffed with beans, rice, and chicken, and smothered in sour cream and salsa verde; it’s a must-try.  

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Vitek's

Opensided barn with orange picnic tables at Viteks BBQ

 Courtesy of Vitek's BBQ

Address
1600 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706, USA
Phone +1 254-752-7591

Sure, the Gut Pack from Vitek's isn’t exactly the most appetizing-sounding dish in the world, but it’s an undeniable part of Waco’s barbeque identity. The Gut Pack is a pile of beans, smoked sausage, barbeque, and cheese sitting high atop a plate of Fritos (it’s basically a very, very tricked-out Frito pie). It has to be seen to be believed. Of course, you could always go with a simple brisket sandwich instead, but where’s the fun in that?

06 of 10

Baris

Address
904 N Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76710, USA
Phone +1 254-772-2900

This casual, friendly diner has the best pizza in Waco, hands down. The culinary team at Baris uses only the freshest ingredients to make their famous gourmet pizzas, which are available by the slice or as whole pies, and are made from scratch as soon as you order them. The pasta dishes are outstanding, as well. In classic Waco fashion, there’s no beer or wine served here, but you can feel free to bring your own if you’d like.

07 of 10

Kitok

Address
1815 N 18th St, Waco, TX 76707-1511, USA
Phone +1 254-754-1801

Over the last 40 years, Kitok has gone from a no-name diner to a nationally known restaurant, beloved for its unique blend of American and Korean fare. The Liplocker is one of the best meals in Waco. It’s a heaping double cheeseburger served with deep-fried shoestrings of carrots, onions, potatoes, and parsley, all dipped in tempura batter. The burger is Kitok’s star attraction, heralded by the New York Times as one of the best burgers in Texas. High praise in a state that loves its beef more than life itself.

08 of 10

Magnolia Table

Empty black and white dining room at Magnolia Table in Waco

Courtesy of Magnolia Table 

Address
2132 S Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76706, USA
Phone +1 254-265-6859

Everyone knows you can’t go to Waco without doing something Chip and Joanna-related. The hosts of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper" are Waco royalty at this point and there are few corners left in the city untouched by the pair. Magnolia Table is their signature restaurant, and you don’t have to have seen "Fixer Upper" to be able to appreciate the food here, which is mostly classic Southern fare with a locally-sourced twist (many of the veggies come straight from Jo’s garden). Menu mainstays like Jo’s Buttermilk Biscuits and the Gaines Brothers Burger are offered in addition to seasonal favorites.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Tony DeMaria’s Bar-B-Que

Address
1000 Elm Ave, Waco, TX 76704, USA
Phone +1 254-755-8888

Since opening their doors in 1946, Tony DeMaria’s has been under the same family’s ownership, and today, it’s a veritable Waco institution (and a little bit of a hometown secret, thanks to its nondescript location off I-35). Many of DeMaria’s customers have been coming for the succulent strips of brisket and ribs for generations now. Just keep in mind that the restaurant closes early when they run out of meat, which is fairly often.

10 of 10

George's Restaurant

View of the Original George's Restaurant at sunset in Waco

Courtesy of George's Restaurant 

Address
1925 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706, USA
Phone +1 254-753-1421

A very popular haunt for Baylor students and local families, George’s is a Waco landmark that dates back to 1930. Huge chicken-fried steaks, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and other Southern staples are what’s on the menu. Gorge yourself silly, then wash it all down with a frosty mug of “Big O” beer, which almost certainly requires two hands to hold. George’s is usually jam-packed on weekends and football game days, but the wait is always worth it. 

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The 10 Best Restaurants in Waco, Texas