My Thursday morning coffee venture took me to the new coffee shop located in the old elevator at The Praetorian. Bru has been roasting coffee for sale for several years and it recently opened up a coffee shop serving the people who work and live in the building at 6th Street and Franklin, as well as anyone else who wants to pop in for a beverage.
I had a cold brew that raised my eyebrows. I like my coffee in the morning, but I'm not particular about it. Still, the flavor caught my attention and I will be back. I would like to be more specific about it, but there are now so many coffee experts in town, that I don't want to embarass myself with a half-roasted description. I'll leave it at this: with three coffee shops/coffee roasters in about a five-block radius in downtown Waco, we have a legit coffee district.
And how's this for a bonus during my morning coffee run? The folks at Pokey O's, who bake their cookies in The Praetorian, brought out a batch of cookies that were a little too crumbled to use for ice cream sandwiches. So I enjoyed most of a free cappuccino chocolate chunk cookie.
Like most of you, I've been watching the Fixer Upper phenomenon a bit from afar even though I live in Waco and have several friends who have either been on the show or are connected to the Magnolia juggernaut in some manner or another. In the months since the opening of the Magnolia silos, we have seen the company grow from (according to my sources) around 40 employees to well over 400 employees. We have watched as they went from a company primarily centered around real estate, home design and remodeling, and home building with a little shop on Bosque to a massive company that does all of that plus a much bigger storefront, a furniture line, a backyard food court for local food trucks, a recent purchase of the historic Elite Cafe, and most recently a brand new bakery.
Back in the spring, the Trib reported that Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom has acquired a building permit for a location in Central Texas Marketplace. This came to my attention recently when a friend asked what Old Chicago was and why we were getting one.
I have a little experience with Old Chicago as it's a popular chain in the Midwest and I've found myself making frequent excursions into the heartland the last couple of years. When my dad and I stayed in Lincoln, Nebraska, during the 2014 College World Series, there was an Old Chicago restaurant across the street from our hotel in Lincoln's Haymarket District. We ate there once and then I returned to it to have a beer and watch the World Cup Final. As for my friend's query, it's actually a pizza and beer joint that originated in Colorado. I'm sure the creators had some sort of tie to Chicago, but that information wasn't readily available on the restaurant's website. And why are we getting one? Probably for the same reason we're getting a lot of things these days.
Speaking as a person who wears a Cubs hat and has adopted Chicago as my own personal big American city (i.e., I prefer it to New York or Los Angeles), I endorse just about anything with Chicago in the name. Except for Chicago the band. I think they're the epitome of lameness.
Therefore, I think Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom will be a fun new option to suggest in a group. However, it remains to be seen whether it will bring something unique to our restaurant scene that's not already well covered by Poppa Rollo's, Rosati's, Bubba's 33, BJ's Brewhouse, et al.
The first annual Deep in the Heart Film Festival (DitHFF), a two day, independent film event held in the heart of the Central Texas area, announced today its call for entries in all short film categories which include Comedy, Drama, Fantasy/Sci-fi, Family, Horror/Thriller, and Documentary.
If you've driven around town lately there is one thing you are bound to notice: Waco is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Right now all over downtown, the I35 corridor, and Valley Mills are scaffolding, aerial lifts, demolition equipment and other equipment for building on a scale that hasn't been seen in Waco in decades, if ever.
We took a drive around town and took a few pictures, and there were many more available. Several of the places being built are 2nd or 3rd locations of existing businesses in town, like Panera Bread, Raising Canes, and Whataburger-Baylor being rebuilt. Others like Old Chicago Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts will be new entries in the growing Waco market.
I stopped by Pinewood Roasters Tuesday morning to get a cappuccino (amazing coffee, btw), and while I was there one of the owners of Pinewood Roasters, JD Beard, introduced me to the owner of Alpha Omega Mediterranean Grill and Bakery, Dorothy Lentis. Pinewood Roasters and Alpha Omega share a location. She was busy making gelato for the day, so we didn't get to talk long. Knowing that they were making the gelato fresh in the store, I knew I needed to come back soon.
Ok, I admit it. We're a little late to this one. Genghis Grill has been open in the shopping center anchored by Gold's Gym and Academy Sports and Outdoors for a while now, but I just got around to trying the new Waco location. My wife and I decided to take our 3 kids there for lunch today, which worked out because my son needed a new fishing pole from Academy.
Waco has had murals for a long time, but the debut of the Wacotown mural in 2012 brought attention and excitement to this art form in and around downtown Waco. Now it seems like new murals are popping up all over the place. Either that, or we just didn't notice them before. Kind of like when you get a new car, and suddenly you start seeing that model everywhere. But I digress.
After a friend posted a picture of the Starry Night mural at 10th and Columbus on Facebook yesterday, my wife and I decided to take the kids on a bit of a scavenger hunt yesterday evening to see how many murals we could find and photograph, culminating in a trip to Hey Sugar for some ice cream and candy. Side note: the kids got a little bored with driving around town, but the treats at the end made up for it. Also, I've decided to try all of the root beers at Hey Sugar. Last night's entry, Sprecher, was fantastic. But I digress. Again.
Actually, let me digress one more time. We've sort of hinted at this on Facebook and Twitter, but we're working on something big here at WacoFork, and you're going to want to be a part of it. Help us out by signing up for our brand new newsletter (click here), and you'll be among the first to learn about what we're working on. We're really excited about it, and we think you will be too!
Today I got to spend some time with Dan Moroso, the founder and owner of the soon-to-open Moroso Wood Fired Pizzeria, and talk about his history and his vision for the restaurant and its location in an area he is calling Midtown. The restaurant is located in a very familiar setting as it occupies the former Bosque location of Cafe Cappuccino in Market Square.
The public is invited to visit the Battle of the Food Trucks event on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Killeen Community Center. Part of the proceeds from the 2nd Annual Battle of the Food Trucks hosted by HACCCT will be donated to the City of Killeen Fire Department.