Xristo’s Cafe closes its doors due to increasing rent demands, pandemic

Xristo's Cafe closed its doors for the last time Monday. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Xristo’s Cafe, a restaurant on 810 La Salle Ave., closed Monday of this week due to increasing demands by property owners along with side effects of the pandemic.

COVID did play a role, but the main reason is that our landlords increased rent a few times during the pandemic,” Stephanie Ferris, one of the founders of the cafe, said. “That, coupled with rising cost of food and scarcity of some ingredients, inability to find and hire employees and decision to keep our dining room closed to protect our staff and family, is really what forced us to make the decision to close. When the current landlords bought the building right before the pandemic hit, they changed a lot of the expectations for us as tenants, in terms of building repairs and such. Then they raised the rent. Altogether, it was too much money to pay when we were not able to pull in the same amount of revenue due to the pandemic.”

The cafe’s website said it was founded “to provide people with the best food for their families.” Xristo’s Cafe was known for its Lebanese and Greek food, serving meze, breakfast, lunch and pastries.

Stephanie Ferris said the restaurant started as a food truck in 2013 and moved to the brick-and-mortar in 2017.

“My family loves to cook, so it had been a daydream of ours to have a restaurant and be able to share our culture and recipes with the Waco community,” Stephanie Ferris said.

Stephanie Ferris said her time at the restaurant was a wonderful experience.

“I am devastated about closing,” Stephanie Ferris said. “It isn’t something I envisioned or planned on happening. Since we’ve been open for so long, many of our employees and customers are like part of our family now. I have truly enjoyed sharing my family recipes and culture with the community and being able to go to a job that I love every day.”

Charis Ferris, Stephanie Ferris’s daughter, said the cafe’s closure brings her a mixture of emotions.

“It’s both sad and exciting,” Charis Ferris said. “We’re going to continue doing what we love, even if that doesn’t mean getting to reopen right away. The hardest part is hearing from the community how upsetting it is that we’re closing.”

Stephanie Ferris said she looks back on her times fondly and expressed her gratitude for her customers.

“Our family has truly enjoyed serving the Waco community for the past nine years,” Stephanie Ferris said. “We are so grateful for our customers. We would especially like to shout out the Baylor community for being such fantastic and consistent customers.

Charis Ferris said the restaurant was a family environment for anyone who walked in the doors, even for those who worked there.

“We all loved working together and receiving positive feedback from customers,” Charis Ferris said. “Beyond just people being excited to eat our food and try something new, we got a lot of reviews that talked about the environment and the little things, like how we wrote quotes on all the bags. Those were always very uplifting, and I enjoyed feeling like I could make someone’s day a little better.”

Regarding the possibility of relocation, Stephanie Ferris said they are looking at new spots for future endeavors.

“We will definitely post on social media if we are able to find one,” Stephanie Ferris said. “We appreciate everyone’s prayers that we are able to find a new spot.”

Loyal customers of Xristo’s Cafe will be keeping an eye on the cafe’s social media accounts for news of its relocation.