These local businesses have the best eats in town, and they're some of the places that I feel make Waco truly Waco.

I was born and raised in Waco, and just moved to the Temple area this year. One of the things I miss most is being close to my favorite local eateries that I definitely took for granted when living there.

I had COVID last week, and while I really didn't have much of an appetite, I kept thinking about all the delicious things I could eat in Waco when I got better. I'm good to go now, but these businesses still need help during this pandemic. If you're new to Waco, check out some of these places. There're even a few places on here that you may have never checked out, even if you've been here for a while.

This list is in no particular order because honestly it's just way easier this way.  I've worked at some of these places growing up, and I know a lot of the families that run these businesses, but don't worry that's not why they made the list. Actually, I might not even be particularly fond of some of the owners, but gosh dang-it do they make good food.

1)Krispy Chicken
2307 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

The absolute best chicken comes from Krispy Chicken, hands down! I don't know what they do to get their fried chicken so crispy, but it is AMAZING. I recommend the snack pack. You get two pieces of fried chicken, fries, and the softest and tastiest roll you ever had the privilege to munch. I'm not even a big jalapeño fan, but you absolutely have to ask for a few to eat with that crisp chicken skin. Oh, and don't forget to order a large coke, because only at Krispy Chicken does it have that back-in-the-day flavor.

2)Tom's Burgers
6818 Sanger Ave, Waco, TX 76710

You want an old fashioned burger done right? Tom's is the place to go! They have sweet potato fries that are oh so amazing too.

3)Happy Wok
1910 Park Lake Dr. Waco, TX 76708

Oh my gosh, I'm so hungry just thinking about their chinese food. Happy Wok has pork fried rice that is literally 5 stars! Another must try is their ragoons, the absolute best. Lots of people also thoroughly enjoy their tea, so be sure to grab some of that too.

4)Harold Waite Pancake and Steak House
941 Lake Air Dr, Waco, TX 76710

I have so many great memories here. This place just feels old fashioned, and Tom is going to welcome you at the door with the biggest smile. I always grab a hot chocolate, which they put way too much whip cream and chocolate chips on. Who am I kidding? There's no such thing as too much whip cream and chocolate chips! My favorite is one of their omlettes or their classic French toast.

5)Pablo's Taqueria
2624 N 18th St, Waco, TX 76708

Need a huge burrito? Look no further. This place is always popping and the parking lot will prove it. Do yourself a favor and call your order in ahead of time. My favorite thing to grab is a burrito with ground beef, beans, cheese, and bacon. Oo and some red sauce, with a classic mexican coke, yumm.

6)Moroso Wood Fired Pizzeria
4700 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX 76710

The owner's name is Dan, and he really is the most authentic guy you'll ever meet. Dan really takes the time to make sure everything is fresh from produce to cheese, to wine imported straight from Italy. The pizza is as big as the plate and is made right in front of you if you dine in. Try the Vesuvio, it has a great kick to it. If you have room for dessert than you definitely have to order the Affogato. Oh and they have brunch on Sundays too. The Nutella pizza will take you to brunch heaven!

7)Katie's Frozen Custard
602 S Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76711

Katie's says that custard is good for you, and I am not going to argue with that! The Texas Turtle is my all time fav. Vanilla custard with hot fudge, caramel, roasted nuts, and a cherry on top. Sounds healthy to me!

8)Ninfa's Mexican Restaurant
220 S 3rd St, Waco, TX 76701

Another place with oh so many memories. Now that I'm older the memories are fewer after a couple of Ninfa-ritas. Try their fried chimichanga, it is like no other! Every time I order a chimichanga from somewhere else I am sorely disappointed. The queso for the chimichanga is served in a cute little ramekin that's perfect for dipping.

9)Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers
1810 Herring Ave, Waco, TX 76708

Fat, juicy burgers served here! The bacon cheeseburger is what I usually order, and I'm always stuffed after eating one. Yet not too stuffed to pass up the chance to order a chocolate shake that is thicker than my Dachshund after dinner time.

10)Vitek's Market
1600 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706

BBQ Heaven. Period. Brisket, too die for. The gut pak? A monster of fritos, sausage, chopped brisket, cheese, and beans. Top it off with some pickles, onions, peppers, and a slice of bread and you are set!

11)La Fiesta Mexican Food Restaurant
3815 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76710

First get yourself some queso. Next order the maximum 2 Purple Margaritas, a couple Mexican martinis, and then wonder who put you to bed.

12)Bush's Chicken
1425 N New Rd, Waco, TX 76710

Yes there are Bush's in several places around Central Texas, but it didn't use to always be that way. Also don't let foreigners tell you that it's the same as Golden Chick, it is absolutely not. Drink the sweet tea and have no regrets. Yes it's instant diabetes in a cup, but gosh dang it we're in Texas for crying out loud.

13)Trujillos Comedor Y Cantina
2612 La Salle Ave, Waco, TX 76706

My true love, the big red margarita lives here. We've had so many encounters, and price is no issue. Nothing stands between the love we share.

14)Poppa Rollos Pizza
703 N Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76710

There's a sign inside that says something about heartburn, and it really cracks me up. When I was younger I didn't understand really, but I do now. Take your tums, unbuckle your belt and just get crazy. They are not sheisty about the toppings and 2 slices will have you stuffed, yet wanting more. Old time movies play in the dining room, and a secret brick wall will take you to the West Bank.

15)Captain Billy Whizzbangs
901 Lake Air Dr, Waco, TX 76710

Delicious burgers, and delicious shakes! That's what makes a true burger joint, and this place has 'em! Order up a bacon cheeseburger and let your taste buds enjoy the ride.

16)Georges Restaurant Bar & Catering
1925 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706

Home of the Big O! Yeah lots of alcohol is poured and good times are definitely had. George's best feat? The crazy wings. You may have had something similar with names like armadillo eggs, or eagle's wings, but they don't compare to the true original. Chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese and jalapeños. What a Texan's dreams are truly made of.

I feel a certain type of way about Waco tourism, but if you've come to visit, be sure to stop by one of these true gems and not just the Magnolia market. Let me know your favorite places in the Waco area, I might have missed something great. Bonus points if you can guess which of these places I've worked at!

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