By Avery Ballmann | Guest Contributor
Union Hall on Franklin Avenue is a glorified food court in the best way possible. It’s a maze of thriving local businesses located in one convenient building. When my boyfriend and I couldn’t decide where to eat, we knew Union Hall had something that would satisfy our differing tastes.
While parking for Union Hall is a bit small and is usually full, that’s how you know you’re at a good establishment. We parked and toured each food stand inside. The best part of Union Hall is the immense amount of options it offers. My boyfriend and I settled on Zuke’s Tea Bar for our drink, The Blasian Asian for the main course and Dough Re Mi for dessert.
At Zuke’s Tea Bar, they have a multitude of options including black, green and chai teas served iced or hot. They were offering free samples, and the man who took my order was very nice and helped me narrow down what drink to get. I had an iced green tea with a peach flavor add-in. I have to say I wish it was a bit sweeter, however, when he asked what sweetness level I preferred I said “not too sweet,” so I know for future reference. I would rate the tea a 3/5. Nonetheless, it was very refreshing and I definitely want to keep exploring their menu especially when the hot summer days hit.
For dinner, my boyfriend picked the orange chicken at The Blasian Asian. We subbed out the white rice for their garlic fried rice because we couldn’t resist it, even though it was $2 extra. We were able to split this entree quite easily and we were blown away by the real orange flavor in the sauce and the crunchy bits of fried rice. The Blasian Asian’s quality of food and taste is delicious and unique, but their pricing is a bit expensive. The entree was $12 with the charge for the fried rice and no drink, but this can be looked past if you’re on a budget and don’t mind splitting. I would rate this meal a 5/5. Overall, I loved the food and the quality of the meal. I would definitely recommend this place if you love trying new ethnic foods.
Originally, dessert was not on our radar, but the way Union Hall is set up, the tables are in the middle of all the restaurants. We happened to be sitting right behind Dough Re Mi, which is an edible cookie dough restaurant.
I think they could tell my boyfriend and I are college students because we practically inhaled our dinner — it was significantly better than dining hall food. Fortunately, they guessed correctly and informed us that students get half off on Wednesdays.
We were easily persuaded into getting cookie dough and they offered free samples, so they made a good sale off of us.
I chose to get the chocolate chip cookie dough in a single scoop, which was $5, but since I had my student ID it was only $2.50. The single scoop was so huge, I split it with my boyfriend and we barely made a dent before we got too full. The cookie dough was so creamy and the crunch of the chocolate chips combined with no fear of getting a foodborne illness made the experience very enjoyable. The workers were so kind to us and made our remaining cookie dough to-go since we couldn’t finish it. I would rate the cookie dough a 5/5.
The beauty of Union Hall is that small businesses have a place to land and grow their store, such as how The Blasian Asian used to be a food truck and now it has a storefront. Union Hall is a great place to take a big group or people with differing taste buds because there really is an option for everyone.
Don’t be afraid to venture out into the small businesses of Waco. You surely won’t be disappointed.