Is Waco’s new Jake’s Texas Tea House worth the bite for the buck?

By Debra Gonzalez
A&E Editor

After reading about Jake’s Texas Tea House in our Welcome Back issue, I was excited to try it out. This weekend I did just that.

I walked in and loved the ambiance. It had a ’50s feel to it with aqua and red and white booths, vintage Americana décor and the catchy old music everyone loves at a sock hop.

We sat down and the hostess explained it was a family style dinner, where all sides are served as a “community” plate, and you serve yourself. Sides were unlimited.

My excitement grew with this and I glanced at the menu. It was a “Restaurant: Impossible” style menu: very short and simple. To my disappointment, there weren’t very many choices (about a page worth), but I knew I wanted the chicken fried steak and that was one of my options.

Entrées came with a “table side” salad. The Caesar-like salad consisted of a bowl of lettuce with which they add bacon, green onions, parmesan cheese and croutons. I’m not sure if our waitress was just being stingy, but we each ended up with about half a plate of salad.

Their complimentary bread was not offered to us. We had to ask for it.

With the food, arrived more disappointment. Half of the “family style” sides were obviously from a can, and all of them lacked any type of flavor.

My chicken fried steak was tough and also lacked flavor. My fiancé ordered the pork chop. It was very thin, flavorless and could barely be cut with a knife.

I feel that the prices were far too high for what they offered. $13.99 for a chicken fried steak that was 90 percent “chicken fried” and 10 percent steak and $12.99 for an inedible pork chop was ridiculous. I’m not sure who they’re trying to target with pricing like this, but it’s most likely not Wacoans.

About halfway through our meal, a couple of women walked in and were sat at the booth behind us. I could slightly hear the discontentment in their voices as they talked about the menu, and listened to them complain to the waitress.

They received their food and were so disappointed, they turned around to us and asked if we were having a good dining experience, to which we replied that we weren’t.

The women then got up, without touching (or paying for) their food, and left.

At the end of our meal, our waitress thanked us for being so patient. Unfortunately, I’m not so patient that I’ll ever return to Jake’s Texas Tea House again.

I give it five stars for the décor and concept but two stars for everything else.