Waco needs more late-night dining options

AB Boyd | Cartoonist

How often have you been out with friends or been up studying late into the night and felt the urge to go out for some kind of food? Now, how often have you ventured out in search of late-night munchies and been disappointed by the selection offered in Waco? If this is a problem that consistently peeves you, you’re not alone.

For a college town, Waco suffers from a serious dearth of after-dark eats. Many a Baylor student have probably spent upwards of 45 minutes in the Whataburger drive through around midnight, and that’s just as much a testament to the lack of real selection around these parts as it is to Whataburger’s cult following. Blessed be Fuego and the taco trucks, for without them we would have little more than fast-food burgers and Taco Bell.

College students are out late all the time, and any restaurant that could step up to fill a niche beyond burgers and fries or bar food could capitalize on a huge number of potential customers who are currently funneled to a handful of restaurants.

Where is the Chinese food? Wouldn’t late-night BBQ be enticing? Waco’s Indian restaurant scene isn’t very large, but surely the cuisine would be a great candidate for late night food runs. Before Nightlight Donuts opened its new storefront across town, which also closes at 10 p.m., finding a donut shop open beyond the early evening was nearly impossible.

That isn’t even touching on the serious shortcomings of late-night dining on campus. Between construction and the untimely demolition of the 8th Street pedestrian bridge, leaving campus to get food is harder than ever. Penland is the only dining hall open later than 9 p.m. on weeknights, and closes at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Miss that window and don’t have a car to drive somewhere off campus? Good luck.

It’s disappointing and frustrating to be constrained to the same few options every time the late-night cravings hit. While its understandable that restaurants may not want to extend hours in the middle of a pandemic, things are going to go back to normal eventually (fingers crossed), and when they do, Waco’s late-night dining scene needs something new.