Thursday, November 25, 2010

Redos That Do Not

My recent trip to Tommy B's on Valley Mills and Bubba's on Hewitt Drive produced similar results. We now have two places that make only average greasy burgers but can produce a pretty good breakfast. Tommy's is a bit nicer. The redo of whatever previous restaurant occupied that space is a bit classier. This version of Bubba's seemed cramped in the former Quizno's. Focus on the breakfast offerings at each and you will get some value for the dollar. I was told that they were better that the Zeb's across the street but that is not the case.

The new Heitmiller's is now open in Lacy-Lakeview. Like the previous location, it is next to I-35. The crowds have produced some long lines and a good amount of wait time for a table. Maybe new ownership and a clean new start will restore some quality to this decaying giant.


After watching the renovation for months, A Cancun Mexican Restaurant opened in the former El Colorado space at 23rd and Waco Drive. I had sampled some of their food at a recent festival and found it worth a visit. Is it the best Mexican in Waco? No but it is an interesting lunch or dinner choice and a bit different than some others. Large plates! OK rice and well flavored beans were filling. I thought the shrimp cocktail was a good value. I will visit here again.


The new George's is now open on Hewitt Drive. While I am not a fan of George's, I will check out the new location as soon as the initial rush slows down.

The 4th Japanese steakhouse in Waco - Tokyo - is still not open. Considerable work is being done on the old TGIFriday's location.

Ground has been moved at a prime location near Panera. Could this be a new restaurant in Texas Central Marketplace?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Waco Eats News

Your sources of restaurant news will soon be diminished as the Waco Trib becomes a pay site this month. Not that they had too much restaurant news anyway. A few years ago they published a negative restaurant review about a place that had many loyal customers. These customers disagreed loud and long and probably threatened to not advertise. So no more reviews - just something called Nibbles that is like reprinting the telephone book.

The real restaurant news is in the Trib's Business Section. They tell you what is coming even if they don't tell you if it is good.

If you haven't noticed, there is a new Heitmiller's Steakhouse being built on I-35 near the Lakeshore Drive exit. There are almost as many Heitmiller's around Waco as Japanese steakhouses.

The Heitmiller's Family Steakhouse in Elm Mott is still there but is going to be removed when I-35 is expanded. This Heitmiller's was owned by K. K. and Donna Heitmiller until Jay Hinojosa bought the restaurant in 2007.

After operating his family's steakhouse for almost 20 years, Dale Heitmiller (recently deceased) opened his Original Outlaw Steakhouse & Saloon in 2008 in Hubbard, Texas.

This new Heitmiller's will be a great opportunity to upgrade the restaurant atmosphere, service and food making it the landmark restaurant it could be.

Another Japanese Steakhouse!

Waco now holds the record for most Japanese Steakhouses for a town of less that 150,000 located on the Brazos River. This unique honor is just what makes our town such a special place to live.

1. Shogun Japanese Restaurant
2. Fuji Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
3. Samurai Japanese Steakhouse
4. That Place Where Friday's Used to Be

And we have Teriyaki Park, although it is not really a steakhouse and the waiters can't juggle.

I actually enjoy this type of restaurant. I even visited Japan once to find out what this food was all about. They are generally a bit overpriced but are a great place to take the family for a special occasion with entertainment. Younger kids are easily fascinated by the hibachi cooking and older kids behave because of the knives.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

5 Guys That Know How to Fry

Five Guys Burgers and Fries arrived in town from the east coast and set up shop on Valley Mills Dr. between Pei Wei and Jason's Deli. Having eaten at a 5 Guys last year, I knew what to expect from this fast growing burger and potato palace (200 will open in 2010). They focus almost entirely on two items. Generously sized burgers and well prepared fried potatoes.

While not cheap, the burgers and fries are a good value. A single order of fries could easily be split between two or three people. The flexible menu of additions allows you to make any number of combination. The result is a burger that is just like you like it and probably a bit bigger that you need. Oh well somebody has to eat it.

I love the gimmick of building the room divider out of stacks of potatoes and proclaiming on a sign where today's fresh potatoes are from.

I am not ready to move their burger to the top spot on my Waco Eats Burger List but they are quickly making an impact. About my only complaint about 5 Guys, is a lack of Diet Dr Pepper on the fountain. This is something that its two neighbor chains listed above learned very quickly when they came to Waco.

GreeZy Bar and Grill

The Z Bar and Grill has taken the place of Basaberu on 6th St. It is an improvement over its predecessor and on a good day can turn out some acceptable food. The main flaw I have found on both my visits starts and ends in the deep fryer. What could be a signature dish- thick cut sweet potato fries - has consistently been limp and greasy when they arrived on the plate. Someone needs a lesson in how to properly deep fry the lifeless onion strings as well. While tasty and well seasoned, they came as a mass of soft onions sitting in a pool of fry oil. Both of these problems could have been solved by better temperature control.. The smaller matchstick potato fries came out in good shape.

One my first visit, the hamburger was large and delicious with a thick juicy patty and a trace of pink in the center. The second time around the patty was overcooked to about half its size - even though it was ordered medium. A chicken fried steak looked good but lost most of its shell immediately and suffered from too much cream gravy.

There is some promise here but more skill and consistency needs to come from the kitchen.

Although the striped booths and waitstaff shirts fit the theme, my veggie companion was offended by the actual zebra head at the entrance. He probably wasn't that happy about it either.