Wednesday, February 15, 2017




TEJUN RESTAURANT
711 N, Robinson Dr., Robinson, TX
  (903) 388-6035
tejunthetexascajun.com
 
  I visited them about two months ago shortly after the opened their new location.  I am giving them 4 stars because the food was good and they show potential to really grow and improve. I will visit again soon to see how they are doing.  Their new permanent location is bright, clean and roomy.  They can seat a decent amount of customers so if the popularity increases they should be able to serve large crowds.

Customers order from a menu posted on the wall near a window.  They call your number and you pick it up at the service counter.  My order came quickly.Currently the menu is limited to boiled shrimp, crab and lobster tails.  Crawfish will be a seasonal addition.

A small number of sides are available including corn on the cob and buttery boiled potatoes. The manager brought around some sautéed mushrooms that were tasty.  Rice, slaw and gumbo would be welcome additions.

The quality of the food was good. The shrimp boil has some spice.  Crab and lobster seemed fresh - not frozen. I got the feeling they were being careful not to do to much until they are ready. Probably a smart move.


2017 Best of Waco 
 It is time for a new list.  All of the thousands of people coming to Waco to visit Magnolia need to know where to eat.

MEXICAN
El Ranchito
2310 W Waco Dr
Waco, TX 76701

Despite the sketchy location this is the best Mexican food in Waco.  Great specials, plenty to drink and an earthy salsa that has great flavor. Repeated visits have convinced me to focus on the grilled meats. 

BURGERS  
Kitok's 
1815 N 18th St
Waco, TX 76707
A little out of the way but worth the trip.

CHAINS 

Waco is a chain restaurant town

Cheddar's

Turns out good meals at modest prices.  Very consistent.  There is almost always a wait.  The chicken pot pie and the stellar onion rings are my favorites. 

Longhorn Steakhouse
I prefer this one over the noise of Outback or the lines at Saltgrass.  They atmosphere is good and the beef choices are very good.  They rotate specials and sides frequently so there is always something new to try. 


STEAK 


135 Prime 


1201 Hewitt Dr 

Waco, TX 76712  

(254) 666-3100 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

2016 Best of Waco

It is time for a new list.  All of the thousands of people coming to Waco to visit Magnolia need to know where to eat.

MEXICAN
El Ranchito
2310 W Waco Dr
Waco, TX 76701

Despite the skectchy location this is the best Mexican food in Waco.  Great specials, plenty to drink and an earthy salsa that has great flavor. 

BURGERS  
Kitok's 
1815 N 18th St
Waco, TX 76707
A little out of the way but worth the trip.

CHAINS 

Waco is a chain restaurant town

Cheddar's

Turns out good meals at modest prices


Longhorn Steakhouse
I prefer this one over the noise of Outback or the lines at Saltgrass


STEAK 

135 Prime 

1201 Hewitt Dr 

Waco, TX 76712  

(254) 666-3100 

A very good choice for an evening of beef.

BARBEQUE

VITEK'S
1600 Speight Ave
Waco, TX 76706
(254) 752-7591
A complete redo in recent years has made this a very comfortable place to enjoy a plate of barbeque

 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

SORTA LIKA GREEK PLACE

Zoës Kitchen recently opened in Waco.  On the advice of friends, I was there on opening day and have returned once since.  The food I ordered at lunch came quickly and seemed fresh and tasty.  Zoës is a fast casual (aren't they all!) restaurant that serves a very Americanized Mediterranean dishes.  They claim to serve up Southern hospitality but the girl at the register said that was an up-sell.  I enjoyed the selections I made.  The Orzo Salad and the chicken breast were both very good.  You may have trouble staying under $10 but that is the price you pay for  fresh, wholesome, dishes. This place seems to be attracting a lot of student business.  It is something different that for Waco and that is a good thing.

If you like the Mediterranean flavors, 1924 Restaurant could be a good one to try or D's Mediterranean has some great kebabs and hummus. 
$ALTY AND DELICIOUS

I have long been a fan of Saltgrass Steakhouse. It seems to be one of the better chain restaurants. That shows in the training of the staff and the hospitality. Their arrival in Waco is most welcome. This is not an inexpensive place to dine but the quality of the food, service and ambiance made it feel like a good value. If you are on a bit of a budget, don't hesitate to split an entree. There is ample food for two people to share with the addition of another side or a signature salad. The wedge and the spinach are both very well prepared.

The Artichoke dip comes in two sizes (each large enough to split) with an accompaniment of thin tortilla chips. Somebody doesn't like artichokes? There is a thimble of salsa on board as an alternate dipper. My steak came out medium rare as ordered. This can be a real challenge at some restaurants but Saltgrass handled it perfectly. Decent crust outside and a warn red center. My sweet potato side was large, hot and delicious. As usual, the Waco first-month crush can cause some service problems but Saltgrass seems to be handling it without a stumble.


 My Favorite Steakhouses
1. 135 Prime
2. Diamondbacks
3. Saltgrass Steakhouse
4. Longhorn Steakhouse




Monday, October 12, 2015

Twisted Root in Waco

I waited a week to visit the new Twisted Root.  I have previously eaten at a TRoot in Dallas. Happy to see this or any new real restaurant come to Waco but my first experience was a disappointment.  Our party of 2 entered at about 1:10 PM and waited in a short line to place an order.  We ordered after 10 minutes and found a table to wait for our assigned name to be called.  You get a slip of paper with a celebrity name on it.  Michael Jackson!!!!

The tall ceiling building is a large open space that was formerly a theater. A large bar dominates the center of the room with various types of seating all around.  The interior is mostly concrete with several large projection TVs showing both live sports and taped music videos.  This is probably great for an evening at a bar but is a bit loud for a casual lunch.  Conversation was difficult.

About 20 minutes later, our two burgers were ready for pickup.  The meat was a little over cooked and dry.  I had bacon, tomatoes, a nice smear of goat cheese and a bit of chipotle on mine.  The side of onion rings were OK.

Plenty of nice condiments on the table although our ketchup was empty.  I quickly tried to swap with another empty table and scored on my third try.  For a $25 lunch, it would have been nice to eat on something other than a paper tray. We invested almost a full hour inside Twisted Root not counting the drive too and from.  Although it was not that crowded, the wait was a bit too long for a one hour lunch.

I took a look at their fountain and found Huh? Mr. Pibb.  This is Waco, Texas the home of a world famous soft drink beloved by a large % of the population. I can't imagine why. Surely this was some kind of oversight.  A clever sales ploy by the Coke supplier?  A product offered at a substantial discount?  A ISIS plot?  This needs to change before my next visit.

In short: Burgers OK; Sides OK; Service too slow; Atmosphere aggressive; Non Alcohol selection embarrassing!

Friday, January 09, 2015

 Best Bets in Waco 2015

2014 has come and gone as have a lot of Waco restaurants.  It is time to update this list of the best places to eat in Waco, Texas.  

 Dining in Waco is like the soft drink industry.  You can eat with relative certainty with the big guy chain restaurants or you can look for something distinctively different and out of the ordinary.   

All of the listed information is subject to change.  Be sure to call and check for hours of operation.  


Best Overall  Non-chain
135 Prime
1424
Stadium Club

Top Chains Restaurants (not BBQ or Mexican)
B.J's Brewhouse 
Cheddar's
Longhorn Steakhouse
Newk's
Panera Bread Company
Pei Wei

Top Barbeque  

Rudy's  
Vitek's 
Michna's 
Uncle Dan's

Asian  
Bangkok Royal (Thai) 
Pei Wei  
Fuji

Top Burgers
Kitok Restaurant
Jake's 
Cupps
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Cricket's

Top Tex/Mex
Tres
Don Carlos
Manny's
Chuy’s

Sandwich Shops
Panera 
Newk's
Schlotzsky's
Jason's Deli
Jimmy John's

Top Italian
Rosati's  
Papa Rollo's


Dickey's Rides Again


If their was ever a worst time to open a barbeque restaurant in town, I can't remember it. We already have plenty of good choices for smokey meat.  Vitek's is on a roll.  Rudy's is never empty.  Uncle Dan's and Michna's survive.  Why would Dickey's choose now to roll back into Waco?  A market where it crashed and burned a few years ago seems like a poor choice.  With beef prices through the roof, how do they plan to be competitive?  

I visited there new location on Bosque near Valley Mills and discovered the answer - they don't!  

I strolled into the new location which is smaller that the earlier facility.  After a quick review of the menu, I selected a BIG sandwich of sliced brisket with 2 sides - coleslaw and baked potato casserole.  The sandwich came on a very sturdy bun. Much appreciated.  Some of Dickey's competition have soft bun issues that render the meat and sauce into a soggy mess.  I asked for  some of the blackened brisket exterior on my sandwich.  I was rewarded by the meat man with a new brisket from the drawer below the counter.  As he placed it on the block and began removing the plastic wrap(!), I began to question my selection.  The texture of the beef was as you might expect of something that had spent some hours being smoked and then placed in a warmer for a longer period of time.  The meat was well past tender and had moved on to mushy. Wrapping brisket in plastic usually indicates that the product has been removed from the pit or smoker for a undetermined amount of time.

The previous Dickey's had allowed self service on the side dishes.  The new Dickey's portion controls the heck out of their sides.  Two to maybe three tablespoons of bland coleslaw and the same of the baked potato casserole.  I could find no evidence of a baked potato in the little tub that it came in.  There was potato but it seemed mashed or instant.  They scattered a few green onion pieces and some cheese on top. Not even a micro piece of baked potato peel was found.

I ordered a Big Yellow Cup soft drink for $2.50 and paid for my $12.50 lunch.  Moved on the the side bar and searched for Diet Dr Pepper (no luck) and a little sweet pickle relish (no chance). Only the three sauce choices were worthy of note.  The spicy is spicy, the original is very good and the sweet is just that.  

I can't imagine how this second generation franchise of a Dallas barbeque original will survive.

 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Best in Waco

Here is an updated list of where to eat in Waco, Texas. 

Dining in Waco is like the soft drink industry.  You can eat with relative certainty with the big guy chain restaurants or you can look for something distinctively different and out of the ordinary.  The food scene here in Waco is fairly static.  The opening of a new chain restaurant will cause a giant tidal wave of customers for the first few months but most small/family/chef owned operations struggle for attention and then disappear.  A few build a clientele and set themselves apart from the others by providing consistent quality or at least a reliable value.  Mexican, Burgers, Barbeque and Japanese Steakhouses dominate the landscape in Waco.  Steak and Italian can also be found in limited quantity and quality.  All of the listed information is subject to change.  Be sure to call and check for hours of operation.  


Best Overall 
135 Prime
Brazos Bar and Grill (Hotel Indigo)
1424
B.J's Brewhouse 
 
Top Chains Restaurants (not BBQ or Mexican)
B.J's Brewhouse 
Cheddar's
Chuy’s
Outback Steakhouse
Panera Bread Company
Pei Wei

Top Barbecue
Rudy's
Michna's
Uncle Dan's

Asian  
Bangkok Royal (Thai) 
Pei Wei 
Tokyo




Top Burgers
Kitok Restaurant
Jake's 
Cupps
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Top Tex/Mex
Tres
Don Carlos
Chuy’s

Top Italian
Rosati's

Best Pizza
Rosati's
Papa Rollo's
Double Dave's
 
Country Buffet
Raymond's (Lorena)
Park's (Bellmeade)