Travel With Bradley

Magnolia Market At the Silos – WACO, TX

If you are a fan of Joanna and Chip Gaines, hosts of the TV series, “Fixer Upper” you would have been thrilled to travel with us today.

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Breakfast was served at our San Antonio hotel before we started our journey towards Waco, TX.  

Waco has a sorted past.  You may recall the horrendous Branch Davidian tragedy and then there was a devasting tornado of many years ago that caused massive destruction.

The success of the tv series, “Fixer Upper” has put Waco on the map in a good way.  The Gaines now employee over 500 locals – if you are going to apply to work for them, one of their stipulations is you must live in the community of Waco.

Our first stop was at Magnolia Market at the Silos.  This complex is located a stones throw from the interstate highway.  Once you exit the highway you can see the Silos – so a prime location.  Joanna and Chip Gaines saw an opportunity and converted these  run down vacant buildings into a shopping/entertainment complex. Now thousands of visitors flock here.  We are visiting during shoulder season and the place was packed.

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For those that are flying like my group, much of what they sell won’t fit in our luggage but that didn’t stop most of us from buying a few wonderful souvenirs.

Unique food trucks make their home here too.  There were lines of hungry folks forming at many of them.  I purchased a ice tea from the Alabama Sweet Tea Company – it arrived served in a glass mason jar displaying their name – another souvenir.

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Alice, our hostess with the mostess,  kindly waited in a very long line so she could purchase the “must buy” cupcakes at the Silo Bakery for my passengers on my behalf.  They are so decadent and well worth waiting in line for.

If you watch the “Fixer Upper” television series you will be familiar with “Jimmy Don” who is Joanna’s “Go To Metal Guy”.  He recently opened a pop-up retail stand on the far end of the Silo parking lot.  I walked over to see what he had for sale.  I asked his staff if he stops by often and a second later, who climbs out of his pick-up truck and walks over to meet me – Jimmy Don, himself.   He shook my hand and said, “I’m Jimmy Don – its a pleasure to meet you”.  We chatted for a good 15 minutes.  

You may have watched the “Fixer Upper” television episode when Chip Gaines purchased a closed iconic Waco Restaurant.  He then renovated  it into a breakfast/lunch restaurant – oh course its been a huge success so getting a group reservation is impossible.

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My group therefore enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the #1 rated restaurant in Waco – its called Cafe Homestead.

Cafe Homestead is located on the outskirts of town.  They serve 135,000 patrons a year and with the influx of tourists due to the Gaines, they jumped on the bandwagon and expanded their restaurant to meet the extra demand.  

Our meal was so scrumptious – meats/poultry are raised on their organic farm, vegetables are grown and everything on their menu that can be home made is…. even their many flavors of ice cream – (try the pecan sorghum).   We’ve really enjoyed a number of excellent meals during our time away but this culinary experience was one of the very best.  

Next to this awesome restaurant is a unique looking barn that has been converted into a quality retail shop.  From the outside you would never think it was once a barn but once you walk in, its obvious that it once was – its beautiful.  There is also very impressive pottery and furniture stores next door – once again everything is made on site by local craftsmen.

 After lunch we were met by an informative local guide who toured us around the community of Waco.  The name of the television show, “Fixer Upper” describes this community very well.   Much of the town is in a depressed, need to be “Fixed Up” state.

As our local guide pointed out when you watch the show “Fixer Upper” they never show the neighborhood that these homes are located in.  On a positive note the community is benefiting greatly from the influx of tourism and investors have started to move in.

During our tour we stopped at Harp Design Co. (frequently featured on Fixer Upper) – they are soon opening up a new much larger location to accommodate the masses of tourists.  We also stopped at Joanna Gaines original retail store (before their television show).  It is seldom open so our guide was excited that it was today – she had never been in.  It features discounted retail items from the Magnolia Market at the Silos main store.

In Texas there is a wonderful chain called, “Buckees” – a massive store where you can purchase everything imaginable – their food items and BBQ is freshly prepared  –  SPOTLESS  restroom facilities large enough to accommodate a sports team plus many, many, many gas pumps.  They have opened 13 of these mega locations.  They compliment their much smaller convenience stores.  Over the next few years they are expanding to other States – if you spot one stop in – you will be SO impressed!

I was especially thrilled to visit country superstar, Blake Shelton’s home town of Tishomingo, Oklahoma and dine at his terrific restaurant called, Ole Red – which is named after one of his many hit songs.  His staff treated us so well and our delicious 3 course meal was a hit with all my passengers.

Our very comfortable overnight hotel was located in Ada, Oklahoma.

A long day but a terrific one!

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