Eat local without compromising quality

By Mary Watson Vergnolle | Reporter

Globally, local establishments have struggled due to the effects of COVID-19. Around Baylor, students tend to gravitate towards a restaurant area off campus popularly known among many as the “Grease Pit” for their fast-food fix.

Baylor students frequently strengthen their connection to the Waco community through outreach programs, church involvement and recreation, so why not food too? Whether it’s a quick coffee or a delicious burger, there are many local spots that you can support, all while satisfying cravings and not compromising taste.

If you are looking for a local burger joint, some of my favorite substitutions for either In-and-Out or Freddy’s would be Whizzbang’s Hamburgers and Cupp’s Drive Inn. Both of these burger joints provide a drive-thru service and are popular among the Baylor and greater Waco community, priding themselves in their fresh, never frozen patties. These establishments also utilize local delivery services, and you won’t have to break the bank to try these.

When it comes to coffee shops, there are places beyond Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts that are able to provide the same speedy service and comfortable environment for all. Shops such as Fabled Bookshop & Cafe, as well as Common Grounds and Pinewood Roasters Coffee Bar, are all localities that were established by Baylor Alumni.

Common Grounds provides customers with a drive thru option, and both Pinewood and Fabled maintain a quiet environment suitable for studying. If coffee isn’t your thing, places like Pop’s Lemonade and Waco Cha serve sweeter options and can sometimes be found parked on Fountain Mall during the week.

Speaking of satisfying your sweet tooth, there are delicious alternatives to your favorite fast-food ice cream places that incorporate the same great service. Katie’s Frozen Custard and Heritage Creamery are local substitutions for an Andy’s concrete or sundae.

I have always appreciated that Waco had the same options that I found at home, such as Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A, but as a student seeking to find unique alternatives and support small businesses, I am grateful that there are so many up-and-coming vendors in the Waco community that can provide a local twist on classic cuisine.

I am continually impressed by the creativity in our community. From mac n’ cheese trucks to bookstore coffee shops, there is a Waco-born alternative for almost all of your favorites. Eating and shopping small can be both economically friendly and convenient for students and Wacoans alike.