Video by Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter, Story by Julia Vergara | Staff Writer
Vitek’s BBQ “Gut Pak” ranked number 18 on Sport’s Illustrated’s list for America’s Best College Town Meals on Aug. 9.
Vitek’s has been a Waco favorite for many generations and has gained national attention for being the owner of one of America’s best college town meals.
The author of the article, Andy Staples, said that the Gut Pak is the “ultimate Frito Pie.”
According to the Vitek’s BBQ website, the Gut Pak is a “decadent combination of Frito’s corn chips, hand-chopped brisket, sausage, bean, pickles, onions and jalapenos piled high.”
Julie Vitek Keith, fourth generation owner of Vitek’s BBQ and daughter of the Gut Pak creator, said that the Gut Pak is different than other Frito pies because the recipe is authentic and everything is homemade—aside from the Frito’s and the cheddar cheese of course.
“The combination of flavors that goes into a Gut Pak is so unique,” Weatherford sophomore Tyler Skelton said. “You can’t find it anywhere else!”
According to Keith, if a restaurant has its own flavors that are unique to only their location, that’s what draws people back—because they like the combination of those flavors.
Keith said that her father created the Gut Pak as she was growing up and it has been amazing to watch the Gut Pak go from a local favorite to gaining national attention.
The Gut Pak has always been their most popular dish and that has not changed since the late eighties, Keith said.
“We have generations of customers that come because they went to school here and they have memories—now their kids are coming here,” Keith said.
Since the Sport’s Illustrated article came out, Vitek’s BBQ has seen a lot of positive conversation and feedback on social media, Keith said.
In addition to Sport’s Illustrated, the Gut Pak has also been named one of the “Best college eats,” according to a Bracket Battle on the Cooking Channel in 2013.
“We were humbled because we’re just a family business, we worked hard to try to make a good product,” Keith said. “We were excited that people recognized our hard work and loved our flavors.”
Keith said that Vitek’s BBQ did not have to market on the national level, they just stay local in Waco and people come seek them out.
As for the future, Keith said that she is in the process of rebranding Vitek’s. She is now looking to start online ordering and bringing back Vitek’s roots of being a market.