Under the expansive, blue Texas skies is a flat swath of land on which Waco, Texas sits. Unfortunately, the wide open spaces that should be drawing families in droves remain relatively desolate. For decades, Waco has had a reputation as a less-than-desirable town. With under 150,000 inhabitants and a list of scandals that would make anyone blush, this city in the heart of Texas was in desperate need of a makeover.
Unwittingly, one family made the restoration of this town their mission. They were the Gaines.
Small Gaines to Revitalize the Waco Image
Today, Joanna and Chip Gains are the stars of the HGTV show Fixer Upper, but for a decade, they were happily renovating and flipping Waco houses under the radar. Since their rise to fame, however, Waco has come to the forefront of many American homebuyers.
In fact, according to Texas Monthly, in March 2015 Waco properties on Realtor.com were viewed at four times the national average. Not only are the residential areas being given a makeover, but so is the city center. After having such success with their renovation of family homes, the Gaines family took on an even larger project called the Magnolia Market which they opened at the Silos in October 2015.
These days, the shopping center draws up to 35,000 people a week. That’s more than most of Waco’s other attractions—the Waco Mammoth National Monument, the Dr Pepper Museum, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum—combined.
Now the Gaines duo has another new project: Revitalizing the 100-year-old Elite Cafe that closed in 2016.
Hello, sweet summertime! We’ve missed you and your peachy days. Stop by Silos Baking Co., and try our new Peach Pie Cupcake! Featuring fresh peach puree mixed with a vanilla cake and peach cream cheese icing. While you're there, try the Banana Pudding cupcake – vanilla cake with banana buttercream icing and topped with a mini vanilla wafer! #SilosBakingCo #MagnoliaSilos
Situated in the center of a Waco traffic circle, the Elite Cafe holds decades of memories for almost every family in the city. It is such an important diner, in fact, that even decor expert Joanna Gains feels the weight of the renovation.
In her blog, she writes,
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.
They are hoping to see the fruits of their careful labor when they reopen the Elite Cafe at the end of the year, with a few changes in place.
The Elite Cafe will officially become Magnolia Table.
And on the menu?
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!
For now though, we must continue to wait. Likely the Gaines will announce the date of the grand opening as the summer rolls on.
In the meantime, we will just have to watch the renovations slowly take place and use our imagination about what the interior will reveal.