A Delicious Fixer Upper: Chip and Jo's Magnolia Table Restaurant

Are you ready to see Magnolia Table? Take a photo tour of Chip and Joanna's latest, greatest venture — a vintage diner, restored, revived and ready to sparkle, Joanna Gaines style.

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

A Big Reveal for Some Very Special Clients

Gaines kids — Drake, Duke, Emmie and Ella — prepare to get their first looak at the newly completed Magnolia Table restaurant. The project revives and revitalizes a Waco landmark, the Elite Cafe.

There's Always a Seat at Magnolia Table

Waco's newest restaurateurs Chip and Joanna Gaines eagerly await hungry customers at Magnolia Table.

Have a Seat and Stay a While

Custom metal wall-art displays one of the welcoming slogans that capture the spirit of the new restaurant.

All In the Details

All In the Details

Essentials To-Go

One side of the restuarant is the designated Take-Away area, where customers can grab a quick sandwich, snack, pastry or beverage — and pick up some fresh flowers or a gift item.

Front Entrance, Detail

Before

The Magnolia Table is on the site of Waco's beloved Elite Cafe, the city's oldest restaurant and a bona fide Texas landmark.

After

The name may be new, and the decor updated, but Magnolia Table respects and the original restuarant's history as a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, and maintains a welcoming and classic feel.

Before

The original Elite Cafe dates back to its first incarnation established in 1919. The more recent structure dates to the 1940s and is regarded as one of the best surviving examples of the region's midcentury roadside architecture.

After

Chip and Jo wisely opted to keep the exterior true to its original form, maintaining the familiar profile that Waco natives have grown to love and cherish.

Before

After

Exterior enhancements include a raised roofline, lower profile awnings, new entry doors in natural wood finish, larger windows and fresh landscaping.

A Piece of History

The official historical  medallion and plaque, placed on the building in 1995, is located on the building exterior just to the right of the front entrance.

Take-Away Entry

Maintaining a separate entrance for to-go customers will help keep the main restaurant entrance and waiting area less croweded.

Courtyard, Before

Courtyard, After

A fresh exterior for the outdoor serving bar, bistro tables and new outdoor seating help make the courtyard an ideal spot for alfresco dining.

Courtyard, After

Covered Pavilion, After

One completely new addition is this outdoor pavilion providing shade and shelter in the courtyard area. The pergola structure features custom metal arches and decorative wood shutters.

Covered Pavilion, After

Prior to the renovation, this area was simply part of a parking lot.

Main Entrance, Before

As seen at the main entry area, the furnishings and features were somewhat dated, likely holdovers from a past renovation dating to the 1980s.

Main Entrance, After

In keeping with Joanna's carefully crafted design plan, the entrance, waiting area and dining rooms are all given a cleaner and brighter look. "We vaulted all the ceilings," said Joanna, "which is going to make this front dining room more dramatic and feel much bigger." A custom tile mural serves as a stylized welcome mat just inside the front door.

Main Entrance, Before

"It was important for us to honor the history of this place," said Joanna, "so we aren't changing the exterior too much, just updating it a bit. But inside, I really want to give it a fresh start with lots of crisp, clean black-and-white elements."

Main Entrance, After

"The design is just really classic, timeless, nostalgic," says Joanna. "Black-and-white with some wood tones. And then to top it all off, a lot of plants."

Main Entrance, Detail

Grab a menu while you wait.

Front Dining Room, Before

Front Dining Room, After

Larger windows that let in lots of natural daylight, and newly raised and vaulted ceilings, help transform the main the dining areas, providing them with a grander and more open feel. 

Before

After

The restaurant includes several distinct dining spaces, each with its own character but with design continuity throughout.

Before

After

This area features a roomy serving bar and an adjacent row of booths with bench seating. 

Before

As seen on FIxer Upper, the bar area inside the Elite Cafe. (Before)

After

The original logo of the Elite Cafe is faithfully reproduced as a key feature on the wall behind the serving bar.

Cup 'A Joe

House blend coffee is available for purchase in the gift area.

Before

After

Exposed wood beams and leather seating provide a warming counterpoint to the bright white walls and the black and white patterned tile.

Good Food, Good People

A custom mural emphasizes the restaurant's decidedly familial feel and welcoming character.

Before

After

As with many of Joanna's home design schemes, the restaurant's decor blends modern, industrial and classic elements and a clean, open feel "The restaurant's big to begin with," she said, "but I still wanted to vault the ceilings, add some larger windows throughout the space so that more natural light came in. I just really wanted it to make a bigger statement."

Before

After

Joanna worked with Becky Goss-Shepherd, Magnolia's director of food operations, on creating the restaurant's design, making certain that the final result was practical and efficient as well as striking and beautiful.

Restroom Entrance, After

Restroom, After

The bathrooms feature white subway tile, concrete countertops, large mirrors and the vintage-look industrial lighting found in the main dining areas.

Before

After

Drop ceilings were eliminated to give the space a more open and industrial look. 

Before

After

Statement chandeliers and modern styled metal-and-glass dividers, as well as a simple black-and-white palette, have all become part of Joanna's trademark style. All are well represented at Magnolia House. The framed art includes vintage menus from the original Elite Cafe.

Before

After

The back dining room is designed as a communal dining space with a fireplace and large tables intended to encourage interaction and help foster a sense of community. "So, the idea," says Joanna, "is that different groups of people who don't know each other can all sit together and share the table and, hopefully, get to know each other."

After

Removal of walls, vaulting the ceilings and other structural modifications required using steel beams to provide additional structural reinforcement.

Dining Room Detail

Dining Room Details

"I'm really liking the idea slatted backs with a leather seat," said Joanna, "and wood-top tables and black-and-white flooring."

Dining Room Details

Please Silence Your Cell Phones

In one particularly inspired detail, wall-mounted leather pouches are installed at booths and tables — offering an implied invitation to deposit cell-phones there to better facilitate conversation and an authentic dining experience.

Dining Room Details

Dining Room Details

Take-Away Goodness

For the take-out counter and boutique area, Joanna took inspiration from the look of a classic soda shop, with black-and-white tile floors and tall black cabinets. The "cafe" sign is a vintage piece dating to the 1940s that Joanna found at an antique fare.

Take-Away Goodness

Joanna worked out some of the restaurant recipes, including the homemade biscuits and jam, in her own kitchen.

Texas Pride

Behind the Scenes

Chip and Joanna place menus and do some of the final detailing prior to the reveal.

The Reveal

The Reveal

The Reveal

The Reveal

After

When you step into this space, it really has history. We wanted to pay homage to that.
—Joanna 

Now Serving

I just want to live here. I love just sitting in a booth and just looking ... I can't wait to see this thing filled with people gathering around a table and enjoying each other's community.
—Joanna Gaines

Now Serving

I've always wanted to own a restaurant. I've always wanted it to be a breakfast joint. So here we are.
— Chip Gaines

The Proprietors

Now It's Official

Chip and Joanna at the ribbon cutting attended by staff, special guests and members of the Waco Chamber of Commerce.

Finis

If you enjoyed this special Fixer Upper project, be sure to check out these:
"Sweet Surprise at the Magnolia Silos"
and
"The Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast"

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