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Hotel 1928: Dining and Retail

by Magnolia
Published on December 14, 2023

Welcome to Hotel 1928’s dining spaces and retail shop—where you can sip, savor, or bring home something special to remember your stay.

Photo courtesy of Karem Shriners, Waco, TX.

Since the 1920s, this building has served as a gathering place, bringing people together from near and far. Meals were enjoyed during banquets and soirées inside the ballroom, formerly known as Crystal Ballroom, and county officials often dined in the dining room on the second floor.

Photo courtesy of Karem Shriners, Waco, TX.

The former dining room has since been converted into guest rooms, but the spaces were intentionally designed to honor historic integrity and remain compatible with the original building. Hotel 1928 houses two full-service restaurants, plus an all-day ​​café—each with the hope of continuing to bring people together around a table.

The Café

before

after

Past the reception area and retail space is a café that serves coffee, baked goods, and light bites. The same checkered terrazzo floor from the retail space continues here (the lighter color is a custom match to the original flooring) and vintage elements sourced from a local antique store, such as a telephone and clock, adorn the walls as art. In addition, a portrait of Roy E. Lane, one of the architects who helped complete the building (and the castle, too!), hangs next to the coffee bar.

To the right and left of the café is plenty seating space, where guests can play a game of cards or enjoy a cup of coffee. Large windows along the side wall flood the space with bright, natural light during the day, and custom-designed, Moorish-inspired light fixtures cast a warm glow in the evenings.

The Brasserie

before

after

On the first floor, the Brasserie offers a menu of Southern classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The space, which was formerly used for county offices, now features a bar and restaurant that seats up to 300 diners at a time.

A mix of original features were maintained in this space, including floor-to-ceiling windows that welcome in plenty of natural light and exposed structural beams that run across the ceiling.

The wood floors feature inlays of custom mosaic tile and patterned, vintage rugs placed in various seating areas in the bar. Throughout the dining area, you'll find large mirror wall panels with gold medallions, inspired by a restaurant Jo visited on a trip to New York City.

On one side of the restaurant, a custom-made wallpaper features a graphic landscape mural. Jo wanted a non-neutral color for the trim and beams, so she chose a blue-green paint that paired nicely with the green leather booths.

For seating, the restaurant features marble-topped tables paired with chairs custom-made from mixed materials—including green tweed upholstery, leather, brass, and wood. The built-in booths and benches are crafted from walnut with green leather upholstery.

Bertie's on the Rooftop

Up on the top floor, guests can enjoy seasonal dishes and indoor or outdoor seating with spectacular views of the city.

The design of this space went through many iterations, but Jo and the team ultimately landed on a feminine-forward look and feel with plenty pops of pink layered throughout, delicate details, and floral finishes.

American Restoration Tile on the floor plays off motif designs with two-tone greens, burgundy, and pinks. An arched built-in features a backsplash of handmade pink zellige tile.

Floral motifs are repeated throughout the space with cognac leather petal pendants, scalloped globe lights, and a floral fabric banquette bench. Found art pieces featuring cherry blossoms nod to a recent trip Jo took to Korea.

Outside, the team lowered and restructured the third-floor roof to support the addition of a terrace—and hide interventions behind the original roof line. Cozy rooftop seating with smokeless fire pits offer beautiful views of the Silos, ALICO Building, and McLennan County Courthouse.

The Retail Space

Just past the reception area on the main floor of the hotel is a retail space (formerly an office) with pieces for guests to commemorate their trip. Here are a few souvenirs among the assortment available for purchase: robes from the guest rooms, branded merchandise, and a custom-scented candle that can only be purchased at the hotel.

A newly laid, checkered terrazzo floor complements the original terrazzo flooring in the reception area and custom walnut cabinets and shelves line the walls. The antique cash register on the counter was sourced from an estate sale in Waco, Texas by our team.

Explore the Full Transformation

To watch this whole project come together, stream Fixer Upper: The Hotel on Magnolia Network, discovery+, or Max. Plus, read more about other spaces on the blog:

Behind the Design of Hotel 1928

Hotel 1928: Guest Rooms

Hotel 1928: Exterior and Common Spaces

Watch the show

Step back in time and stay a while! Book your stay at Hotel 1928Opens in new tab—and explore more of Chip and Jo's fixer upper projects here.


This project was made possible through tax credits funded by National Park Service and partnership with the following: AJ Capital Partners, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (Krista Weir, Janice Jones, Sophie Bidek, and Andrew Shimanski), The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, CP&Y, Armstrong-Douglass, Hendrix Consulting Engineers, Hospitality House, Pique Technologies, LLC, IMEG Corp., Ryan, and Fitzgerald’s.