‘Fixer Upper’ Stars Chip And Joanna Gaines Restored A 100-Year-Old Restaurant


The Gaines family has become famous for providing viewers of their HGTV smash ‘Fixer Upper’ with the inspiration that they need to accomplish any task that is put in front of them. Fans of the show who wish to eat like the Gaines brood can now visit their brand new restaurant.

The mural depicts the Elite Cafe at its second location on the Waco Traffic Circle-which is basically a giant roundabout in the center of the city. The ‘circle’ is quite literally right in the “Heart o Texas”

The family resides in Waco, Texas and their Sunday tradition has always involved enjoying a meal at the local mainstay known as the Elite Cafe. The cafe has been a local landmark for nearly a century and is considered to be a popular institution by all residents of this sleepy Texas town.

In 1935, the Elite Cafe became the first restaurant to install air conditioning in Waco, and people waited for hours to experience “refrigerated air” for the very first time.

While the cafe was slated to close its doors just last year, the Gaines could not bear to see one of their favorite eateries fall by the wayside. The power couple decided that they would purchase the restaurant and reinvent the establishment to their liking.

The original location was actually in downtown Waco, and was so successful that the owners expanded to the Circle. The flagship location closed down in the 1960’s and the one on the Circle became the mainstay.

The cafe’s welcoming feeling was something that the Gaines wished to carry over when they established their new restaurant, which they have renamed (it is now called the Magnolia Table.) They wanted to maintain the personal feeling that the restaurant has cultivated and keep the community atmosphere alive.

Elvis Presley famously ate at the location on the Circle on his way to Fort Hood. This photo was taken in 1941.

According to Joanna: “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.”

Until the Elite’s closing in 2016, a baby blue 1958 Cadillac was displayed out front, becoming an icon. The Cadillac was auctioned off to raise money for a local initiative, Mission Waco.

As you might have imagined, the menu is already shaping up to be quite delicious. The ‘Fixer Upper’ couple is also not about to let a chance to spruce up the space pass them by and they plan on performing various renovations and updating the eatery’s interior before re-opening the doors.

As for the menu: “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!”

This restaurant is on the verge of becoming their greatest flip to date and we cannot wait to see the finished product. They know that the restaurant business is not an easy beast to conquer and they will need a little bit of elbow grease in order to avoid the pitfalls that strike down the dreams of so many others.


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