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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Our Restaurant Update

June 20, 2017

Chip and I hope you are enjoying your summer and getting some good down time with family and friends. We wanted to write to catch you up on one of our biggest projects of the summer: getting our restaurant across the finish line! Opening a breakfast joint has always been something that Chip’s been interested in – and it’s been so fun to watch how excited he has been about the entire process.

People always say the restaurant business is a beast – and we believe that, we aren’t naive to the fact that this is all new to us – but we are genuinely thrilled that we get the opportunity to restore a Waco treasure into something new.

Magnolia Restaurant Update

After it closed its doors in 2016, we purchased the old Elite Cafe. It had been a Waco icon for nearly 100 years, and we couldn’t let a place with such a rich history be forgotten. Our family has so many great memories from Sunday brunches at the Elite, and judging by the walls on the inside of the building (which were lined with framed photos representing the restaurant’s past) I’m convinced that this place holds at least one memory for nearly everyone in Waco, Texas.

In light of all of that, we don’t take this renovation and restoration project lightly. We want everyone, whether you’re part of the building’s past or not, to walk in and instantly feel the rich history of it.

We’ve spent a good amount of time finalizing the design of the new restaurant- from carefully choosing finishes, textures, and paint colors, to designing the tables, chairs, and light fixtures. I love getting to bring all of the design details together. The building was actually recognized as a historic landmark about 20 years ago, which essentially ensures that aspects of the original character stay intact. Figuring out how to restore the building and seamlessly incorporate new and creative design elements into the mix while staying true to the original features has been one of my favorite parts of the design process.

And Chip is rocking and rolling on the construction side of things. Of course there have been a few setbacks along the way (as there are with every construction project), but we’re on the home stretch! We are setting our sights on opening at the end of this year. Fingers crossed, everyone.

Now for my favorite part of the whole project—the name! We want the name of our restaurant to convey the idea that all are welcome here. Our hope is that when you step into this place, you know that everyone has a seat at our table.

With that said, the name of our restaurant will be: Magnolia Table

And now for the menu…. this has been Chip’s favorite part. Ok, who am I kidding, it’s probably been mine too. I’m not complaining about eating a few extra bites of the homemade biscuits (and our crafted jams and butters) during all of this recipe perfecting. I joked that I had just about recovered from the sugar coma from the recipe development phase during the opening of Silos Baking Co., and now we’re starting all over again with Magnolia Table, but trust me, no one is complaining about that.

Magnolia Table will be serving breakfast, brunch & lunch, so in addition to Chip’s favorite breakfast items, you will also find his famous ham sandwich on the menu. A couple of the crowd favorites here at the office are the Farm eggs benedict, the Gaines Brothers Burger, and of course our homemade pies!

Chip and I truly can’t wait to share this place with y’all. We will occasionally share some updates on social media, so keep a lookout for pictures of the progress!

A brief history on the Elite Cafe, because legacies are worth sharing:

Historical facts were provided by an article “The Elite Cafe” by Amanda Sawyer on historyofwaco.org. Photos were provided by The Texas Collection, Baylor University.


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  • Sharon Collins
    7:28 pm, April 18, 2018
    So excited to say I will be enjoying breakfast at Magnolia Table on Joanna’s 40th Birthday 🎂!
    I am with 5 girlfriends from Maine, Illinois and California! We are currently in Austin and driving over tomorrow morning!
  • Bill Pitts
    5:25 pm, April 17, 2018
    We really love you guys and your Christian stand and honest, funny entertainment. GOD BLESS YOU MIGHTILY !!!
  • Sandra Allen
    4:24 pm, April 17, 2018
    Today is April 17,2018. This morning, three of us ladies traveling in a 26 foot motorhome, attempted to come to your restaurant for breakfast. We were aware of the limited parking so we headed to the Gander Mountain parking lot, assuming that we would be picked up by your shuttle as we had seen on the internet and also were told about the shuttle yesterday when we visited the Silos. We arrived at the parking lot at 7 AM and waited until 8 AM not ever seeing a shuttle bus appear. We were very disappointed that we were unable to get to the Magnolia Table. We ended up having a very nice breakfast at Cracker Barrel down Route 35. I know the restaurant is new but, I do not understand what happened to the shuttle that we were promised would show up and bring us over to Magnolia Table. We had traveled from upstate New York and Pennsylvania and were really looking forward to an entire "Fixer Upper" experience. We were unable to find a phone number on the menu copy we had from the internet and unable to contact the restaurant to question the shuttle's arrival.
  • Betty
    4:12 pm, April 17, 2018
    I had the laptop open and watching the Magnolia Table episode at the same time...wow! What a beautiful addition to Waco! We moved to Idaho from the Dallas area about 20 years ago but still have family in Austin. I can't wait for our next trip down I 35 on our way to visit and taking a side trip to all the fun "Magnolia" places...the Silos and bakery and now the restauraunt. They are all so fun and inviting. Congratulations and best wishes!
  • Patti
    3:58 pm, April 17, 2018
    If the depiction of this being Chip’s dream, then in all that’s fair (and loving), His name should have graced his restaurant; not Joanna’s desire to name it her way. Sorry, but there it is.
    “She who must be obeyed.”
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