So by now, you’ve probably seen no shortage of drool-inducing photos of the former Elite Cafe. But are we surprised? The Magnolia Midas touch BROUGHT THAT PLACE TO LIFE BABY. It is because of this restoration that our beloved historic building will, in fact, vivaciously reach its 100-year mark.
They truly did a great job thinking through each step to ensure that you get the best Magnolia Table experience, and we are very glad to see it being so well received.
The restaurant is currently in its soft opening phase, meaning things are subject to change and we will adjust this article accordingly after the grand opening later this month. But for now, here are the top things you need to know before you head to the Magnolia Table.
Go on a Tuesday
This is by far your best opportunity for getting a seat quickly. When we went at 6 am on a Tuesday morning, we were anticipating to wait in line. Instead, we casually walked in and about 5 different members of the friendly (and perfectly matching in all denim) staff eagerly decided amongst themselves which table we’d get to sit at.
What’s on the Menu
After gaining significant weight for this article we can confidently say that the food is, in fact, worth the hype.
Things to note: a good majority of the produce used is actually grown locally, the beef they use is local and, most importantly, the bacon is not flimsy—it’s thick-cut, peppercorn bacon that’s crispy and that is how all bacon should be.
+ The biscuits are Jo’s recipe and are truly delicious. You can order them with either gravy or strawberry butter, and while the gravy was wonderful, the strawberry butter was outstanding.
+ The “Lemon Lavender” donuts are our favorite way to start the meal because they’re light, fresh and oh-so-delicious. They come in cake “donut hole” style and they go fast. That lemon drizzle is no joke.
+ The Hashbrown Tots are divine, there’s no other way to put it. We almost feel disrespectful referring to them as a “tot” because it downplays the intention that went into them. They also come as a side with some of the meals, so make sure you can at least steal one from someone at the table if you don’t get them as an appetizer.
+ The pancakes are by far our favorite item on the menu. Don’t be fooled by their simplistic nature. They’re the kind of pancakes that taste like a recipe that’s been passed down from your great great grandmother. They’re as big as your face, golden brown and you will not leave the Table hungry after eating them. And, our favorite little trick we found, you can order the “Pancake Breakfast” OR you can literally get anything on the menu and get a pancake on the side. Ingenious.
+ The Farm Eggs Benedict is hearty and delicious—it’s a southern take on the classic breakfast menu item using Jo’s biscuits as the base. We recommend you take a bite of someone’s pancake for this one as opposed to ordering your own on the side because, trust us, you won’t be able to finish it all.
+ If you’re wanting a lighter breakfast, they offer two health-conscious items: The “Kind” breakfast featuring eggs, fresh greens and toast, and the skillet oatmeal. Both are extremely satisfying and prevent you from waddling out the door.
+ The Avocado Toast is receiving all the attention right now, and we’d like to go ahead and hop on that praise train. You think it’d be simple, but oh no. We’re not sure what they do to it, but we know we can not re-create it. It’s made with garlic aioli, red pepper and salt flakes—and magic. That is all. We highly recommend.
+ Typically when you get a burger, you’re left with a lot of bun and not enough beef. That is certainly not the case with the burgers at the Table. The patty is so large, it is practically consuming the bun, and we applaud it.
+ The real dark horse of the menu is “Aunt Mikey’s Turkey Sandwich.” This sandwich is a mile high and is packed to the brim with the best ingredients—turkey, cheese, cucumber, cream cheese and tomatoes—all on olive oil toasted “wheat berry bread” (we don’t know what that is but we know we like it and it tasted good.) This sandwich did not disappoint.
+ We’d never had pimento cheese ourselves, and while we were mildly intrigued by the idea we didn’t know if we could order it out-right. Luckily a friend did, and we snagged a nibble….and immediately felt guilty for judging a sandwich by its name. It was, actually, delicious. If you like warm, cheesy sandwiches, give it a go.
+ Chip’s Ham Sandwich was more sophisticated than we anticipated, but yet still relatable. If you like ham, you’ll love this. We get the impression they like most things “thick cut” because they did not go slim on the ham. It was a large slice topped with eggs and cheese between a croissant, and it was everything we’d hoped it would be.
From the Garden
If you saw the Garden Episode of Fixer Upper, you know that they actually set up a garden on their farm to grow some of the produce for the Table. If you’re a super fan wanting to eat something that came straight from the Magnolia Farm Dirt, or you’re simply looking for a lighter meal option, order the following:
+ Soups: Their soup selections are based on what is growing seasonally in the garden so you can be sure that you’re eating fresh goods.
+ Salad: Things like Water Melon Radishes and carrots make their debut on top of leafy greens and not only do they make your salad look pretty, but only having to travel so few miles we think they taste much better than your average vegetable.
+ THE LEMON PIE. We don’t know what we were expecting, but we did not expect to be so blown away. This is not a slice of pie to be shared, it is to be ordered for yourself and enjoyed with every bite. Truly. So, so good.
+ So if you take those previously referred to donut-holes and replace the lemon lavender with cinnamon sugar and warm, chocolate dipping sauce, it’s a wonderful dessert. Technically you’re supposed to share this one, but we won’t judge you if you don’t.
+ They also serve a selection of pastries from the Bakery, so if you haven’t had their Silo cookie yet, now’s your chance.
+ The Juice flight is the best way to get to sample that gorgeous selection of juices found on the menu. We think the best way to demonstrate the kind of restaurant Magnolia Table is would be to order a Juice Flight and an order of Biscuits and Strawberry Butter. Perfect.
+ So this one is kind of hard to explain, so here we go. The house tea is from “Alabam Sweet Tea,” who just made a permanent location on the Silos grounds because they’re so dadgum good. But, that doesn’t mean they only make sweet tea. You can get sweet OR unsweet “Alabama Sweet Tea” and we highly recommend that you try it out.
+ When first heard rumors of a “Lavender Latte” we were skeptical but curious. Well, after sampling it we are now big, big fans.It is the perfect iced coffee beverage to get on a warm spring day or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Keep an eye out for the historical references
Because of the respect they hold for the historical significance of Elite Cafe, they paid some serious homage to our beloved restaurant. Take note of what is framed on the walls. Everything from the original design of the matchboxes to an original menu can be found framed and honored on the walls of Magnolia Table, and we really do appreciate that.
But in addition to the framed memorabilia, they also included some OG Elite items on the menu! A pimento cheese sandwich doesn’t necessarily fit within the typical mold of what you’d expect at a Magnolia brunch place, but they put it on the menu and in the Take-Away section because it was an original Elite menu item. We think that kind of detail should be appreciated (and the sandwich is pretty dang good if we do say so ourselves.)
Also in the Take-Away, you can find their house roast, Elite House Coffee. The house coffee comes in regular, decaf and Pecan and is a specially roasted for the restaurant. Our favorite is pecan because it’s not the kind of perfume pecan that taste like an added-in flavor, but instead it tastes like the coffee beans were roasted with a pile of wonderfully toasted pecans.
And, naturally, we are particularly partial to the tiled in “Waco, TX” that we foresee being included in many a shoe shot.
So yes, on busy days there will inevitably be a wait time, but don’t let that stop you from trying to get yourself a seat! It’s inevitable for a popular restaurant, and the fact that we have one in Waco is a step in the right direction for our city (and, think of all the hardworking waiters and waitresses in our economy who are making BANK because of a restaurant like this.) Here’s how to take on the wait:
+ The majority of the wait actually happens while you’re in line before you put your name on the list. Once your name is on the list, the process moves pretty quickly.
+ Obviously the busiest times are going to be during the height of mealtime, so times like 7 am, 9 am, 11 am and 2 pm tend to have the shortest wait. Surprisingly, on the busy days, 6 am is the busiest time slot and then 7:15 (after, admittedly, we started to leave and witnessed this first hand) the line goes down significantly. Don’t overanalyze it, just go for it.
+ So here’s the thing, Magnolia knew there would be a wait and didn’t want the process to be boring so there are little ways to make the most of it. While you’re in line, go get coffee on the patio (more on that later) check out the Take-Away section and make conversation with the kind people who monitor the door.
Parking + The Circle
+ You don’t actually have to take on the circle to get there. We repeat YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE ON THE CIRCLE. Come in by Valley Mills or the Northbound I35 Ramp and take the frontage road by Rudy’s! Don’t sweat it, follow the signs and weave your way around without ever having to make the treck around The Circle.
+ Wacoans, this is very important to note: If you do take the circle, the original entrance is blocked off so you have to take the Humane Society exit to get off the circle. BUT if you miss it, don’t slam your breaks, don’t panic, don’t swerve—calmly follow the signs to enter through the frontage road entrance. Easy peasy.
+ They set aside additional parking along the road across from the Humane Society, so if you can’t find any in the immediate lot, check over there before panic sets in.
+ Rumor has it, a shuttle system is on the way! They’re testing it out now, but similar to the Silo District Trolley, this will increase their span of free parking.
Table Talk + Phone Pouches
If you read the Magnolia Blogs or anything about their story, you know that the Gaines family really values the community that happens around “the Table” (hence, Magnolia Table) and they brought this value to their restaurant. Once you’re seated, you’ll notice what appears to be decorative leather pockets. But those aren’t merely for decoration, friends. Oh no. Those are for your phones.
And, coincidently, when you try to put your phone in the pockets you’ll notice a small pack of questions in the form of “Table Talk” cards.
The combination of the Table Talk cards and the pouches are meant to work together to create an environment where you’re focused on the people you’re with, and not your phone. We thought this was quite honestly a very nice touch to include.
Logistically speaking, this is pretty well separated from the restaurant—meaning that as hard as you try, you can’t sneak into the restaurant through the Take-Away section. But, you can still snag an iconic photo of the restaurant from this and no one has to know. To be honest this may be one of our favorite details they thought of.
Realistically, when events like Spring at the Silos and Silobration happen, the probability of getting to sit down for a meal at Magnolia Table will be slim if you’re not willing to put in the wait time. But, don’t worry, they thought of this. This Take-Away section is filled with to-go items like the Chicken Salad and Pimento Cheese, so even when the wait is quite long, you can still get a taste of the experience. And, even though the two areas aren’t connected, they’re separated by a big ‘ol window that lets you still take a photo of the inside, as seen here:
Pies de resistance—The Patio
This is, undoubtedly, our favorite part of the restaurant.
It feels like you’re are in southern California with the stucco exterior, terra cotta roof, string lights and black and white wicker chairs. It’s extremely photogenic so we’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Don’t miss this area! Even if you can’t get a table, you’ll get plenty of FOMO inducing photos to post on the gram.
We are so pumped this place is now open for business. Not only is it great to see our Elite Cafe loved, restored and booming with customers, but we can’t wait to see what happens next down La Salle.
So in the words of Chip Gaines, “Come and Get it.”