By Brennen DiMarzo | Reporter
Among all the growth that Waco has experienced over the years, the one area that is continuing to expand is the variety of culturally distinct restaurants around the city.
Eduardo Garcia, owner of Lalo’s Coffee & Pastries, said he noticed the direction Waco is headed in and is on the same path with his shop dedicated to bringing authentic Hispanic culture to town.
“I think we are definitely headed in a more diverse direction,” Garcia said. “I think Waco is headed toward the same direction as Austin.”
When creating his business, Garcia said he wanted to create a space for native Wacoans and immigrants alike.
“I wanted it to be as diverse as possible,” Garcia said. “The reason I opened is because I want more people to have a diverse culture and have people experience our culture.”
Garcia said his shop is not only for coffee but candy and ice cream too. He said his intention was to let the people of Waco experience his culture through food.
“It is more than just a coffee shop, it’s culture,” Garcia said. “It is just a different atmosphere we have here.”
Another restaurant that is bringing their culture to Waco is Tru Jamaica, a Jamaican restaurant owned by Aniceto Charles Jr. and his mother Viva Charles, who is also the head chef.
Charles brought the restaurant from outside Washington, D.C. into the heart of Waco.
“The more culturally diverse we are, the more we are bound to each other,” Charles said. “The motto of Jamaica is out of many, one people.”
Charles said this motto is used as a sign that becoming united with different races and ethnicities is what is best for a community.
Waco has become more culturally diverse in recent years, according to datausa.io. The most recent numbers on the website are from the Census Bureau in 2018. Then, Waco’s population was 42.6 % White, 26.8% Hispanic and 21.2% Black or African American.
Regardless of the numbers, both restaurant owners said they feel that they have a good amount of diversity in their restaurants.
As the only Jamaican restaurant in Waco, Charles said he relies heavily on faith and word of mouth that the restaurant will succeed.
“I get a lot of seniors,” Charles said. “They come in and have some spice and get loved on by the staff, and then they go and tell all their friends about us.”
Both shop owners said the support for their restaurants has been incredible. They are happy they have been able to give the people of Waco a part of their culture for them to experience.