When Fixer Upper's Joanna and Chip Gaines bought the historic Elite Café in Waco, Texas back in May of 2016, no one quite knew what they would do with it.
We’ve all been dying to know which type of magic the Gaines would bring to the café, a landmark on Waco’s bustling traffic circle that closed down in February of 2016. The Fixer Upper stars’ Magnolia brand, which includes the Magnolia Market, a premium interior paint line, a bakery, and a quarterly home magazine, has already reshaped the culture and perception of Waco, Texas.
The Elite Café, which was originally opened in 1919, has catered to Elvis Presley when he was training at Fort Hood in the 1950s, and previously served steaks, burgers, and salads. It was a landmark for locals and passersby traveling from Austin to Dallas, most recognizable by a baby-blue ’56 Cadillac parked right out front.
When the Gaines bought the restaurant, they auctioned the contents to benefit Mission Waco’s Jubilee Food Market, and began doing what they do best: fixing it up.
Now, after months of waiting, Chip reveals the official plan for the restaurant.
“The Elite Café is going to be a breakfast joint,” Chip told Southern Living exclusively.
“I’ve always been a breakfast connoisseur. I always do a heavy, bigger breakfast, but Jo is the exact opposite. She was kind enough to come with me on this one, and we are going to do up a breakfast joint here in town.”
According to Chip, renovating the restaurant took a lot of “elbow grease,” but it was worth it.
“The restaurant itself is literally one big giant kitchen. When we first got in there, it was all the things you can imagine—dingy, musky. But if I took you in there today, you’d be like ‘Oh! This is so clean, everything smells so great.’ Those are a few benefits of a little bit of elbow grease and hard work on the front end."
As Chip's vision has come to fruition, he's garnered a lot more support.
"Now, everybody that comes in tells me how smart I was to have bought this property. Six months ago, I wasn’t getting as many encouragements. But the restaurant has some serious history that we’re going to tap into.”
The Café is expected to open in the summer of 2017. We can’t wait to visit.