As many of you know, I’m a HUGE fan of everything Chip and Jo Gaines. I love watching Fixer Upper, and don’t get me started on the Silos Baking Co. and Magnolia. I know I’m simply confirming the fact that I’m 100% white girl, but I can’t help but love me some cotton stems, shiplap walls and barn doors. ; ) The coolest thing to me, though, is that my best friend Caley used to work for Magnolia so I feel like I had a person on the “inside” for years. She and I share our mutual love for all things Chip and Jo (yes, even though she is from Waco and sees their stuff everywhere), so you better believe we weren’t about to miss out on trying Magnolia Table as soon as we could.
So Magnolia Table… Where to begin?
The restaurant was originally called “Elite Cafe”, which was a Waco favorite for decades, serving good food, providing a friendly atmosphere and yes, the first refrigerated air in town. My grandma actually told me about how she and my grandpa would always stop at Elite Cafe on their way through Waco when they were first married. How cool is that?
Then, after closing and reopening a few times, the Fixer Upper team purchased the restaurant in 2016 and renovations began. It had its grand opening in late March (although it officially opened in February), and has been packed ever since.
One of my favorite parts about Magnolia Table was the fact that the renovations teams throughout the years have tried to maintain the original feel of the place. A historical marker was placed at the Elite Cafe in 1996 commemorating its contributions to the city, and you could tell that there was a sense of nostalgia mixed in with the new at Magnolia Table. Joanna said she wanted to keep that in mind when decorating the cafe, and I love that they used some of their antique logos and menus for decoration! Caley and I even saw an old match box from the mid 1900s framed in the bathroom. So cool!
Now for all the deets on Magnolia Table. ; )
Honestly I was more excited about trying the food than anything else. I’d heard so much about it, and if it lived up to the cupcakes and pastries at the Silos Baking Co., I knew we’d be in for a treat. Turns out I was wrong.
The food was even better than I imagined.
And no, that’s not just prego-me talking.
Caley and I ordered the biscuits and strawberry butter to share (because, how can you not?) and I’m serious. Those were the best biscuits I’ve ever had. They were light, buttery and well, heavenly. I promptly declared “these are life changing biscuits” and I haven’t gone a day without thinking about them. But then… That may also be the pregnancy talking. We’ll see. ; )
In my post earlier this week about my top five cookbooks you need in your kitchen, I mentioned the Magnolia Table Cookbook partly because helloooo #ilovechipandjo but also because they have the biscuit recipe in there. I. Can’t. Wait.
As for the rest of the menu, it was SO hard to pick what we wanted to eat for lunch! Everything sounded amazing and I wish I could have said “one of each please” to fulfill that lifelong dream of mine. Instead, Caley decided on the Pimento Cheese Sandwich and I got the Simple Greens + Roasted Chicken Salad. (You can check out the full menu here!). The next time I’m there, I want to give one of those burgers a try, or maybe get something from their breakfast menu. Ahh I don’t know! Maybe I’ll decide by then.
Side note about the pimento cheese- I have never been a fan of it, BUT the sandwich they served at Magnolia Table looked so delicious I almost would have ordered it. You could tell it was freshly made, and that griddled sourdough looked delicious. Caley even said she’s usually not a big pimento cheese person, but had heard so many great things about their sandwich that she had to try it. Turns out it lived up to the hype!
Now my salad… It was piled high with greens, chicken, marinated asparagus, candied pecans, cranberries and sharp cheddar cheese. And it was so. freaking. good. The house vinaigrette was amazing, and I left happy and satisfied! It was also nice to pair something light with those biscuits because #moderation. Ha! I wish I could make a salad that great at home, but I know it just wouldn’t be the same!
So long story short: The food is better than I imagined. And I can’t wait to go back!
This is another huge factor when checking out a new restaurant, because no matter how good the food is, your experience there can make or break it. And like all the Gaineses businesses, they made sure your experience there was the best it could be. The hostesses were polite and helpful. They had people greeting you at the doors and helping you find the right place to go. The server was friendly and upbeat. And everyone had a smile on their face.
Basically you go in there and feel loved on, which is one of the things I love the most about their businesses.
However, just like their other businesses, the wait was insane. I know it’s partly because we went only two weeks after the had their grand opening, but holy moly I didn’t expect to have a 3 1/2 hour wait to be seated! Thankfully we weren’t in a rush that day, so after receiving our text message with the constantly updating wait time (which was SO NICE to have) we headed out to go shopping as we waited. And it was so perfect!
Best of all, when we still had over an hour to go, I got a text saying our table was ready so we booked it to the restaurant and were taken straight to our seats. It felt like we really hadn’t been waiting, since we got to shop around and hang out while waiting on our table.
Was it worth the wait? In my mind, yes! But I know for some people, no restaurant is worth waiting that long. Basically, don’t come to Magnolia Table hungry, and keep in mind that it will probably be a while before you can get a seat so have some other things planned to fill that time! Also, don’t show up anytime past 1PM to get your name on the wait list because even though they don’t close till 3, they do shut down the line to ensure the restaurant can still close at a decent time.
Like all the things Jo Gaines decorates, Magnolia Table was absolutely gorgeous. The restaurant was decorated in bold whites and blacks, with touches of flowers and greenery all around. They had the restaurant motto “Where Everyone Has a Seat at the Table” painted above the front door, and in metal letters along one of the walls. Behind the coffee counter, there was a tribute to the original Elite Cafe and I loved seeing that!
Between the high ceilings, giant windows and open concept, the whole restaurant was inviting and fun to be in. Something I loved about Magnolia Table was all the big, communal tables they had around the place. It went right along with the restaurant’s motto, and promoted the sense of community and family that the Gaines family values.
There was also an outdoor patio with a cute little coffee bar and bistro where you could sit and munch on some goodies while waiting for your table inside. The covered section was so cute, and the perfect place to hang out on a beautiful spring day like the one we were having. On the other side of the restaurant they added a Take Away marketplace where you could buy sandwiches, or even take home a tub of strawberry butter, pimento cheese or potato salad. (It took everything in me to not grab that strawberry butter and run!) They also had t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other odds and ends for sale that were, of course, oh so cute.
Basically, you could live there and be happy forever. ; )
If you are ever in Waco and have some time to kill, you NEED to check out Magnolia Table! I loved our experience there, and the food was absolutely incredible. The only con was the wait time, but we also knew to expect that, so having to fill our time with shopping around Waco was no big deal at all! And if you can’t make it to the restaurant, definitely preorder the Magnolia Table Cookbook because it has a lot of the recipes in there that you can get at the actual place, and let’s be real. You need those biscuits in your life. You can thank me later.
And just for fun, enjoy a picture of me and Caley with our pups in the bluebonnets!
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
Would you like to eat at Magnolia Table?
What would you order if you went there?