Chip and Joanna's Restaurant: Where Everyone Has a Seat at the Table

Order up! Chip and Joanna's new restaurant, Magnolia Table, is now open and serving breakfast daily. Get all the details in a new Fixer Upper special on HGTV.

Chip and Joanna Gaines in the newly rennovated Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (Portrait)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

We've said it before. Never underestimate the tenacity and boundless energy of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Seems they've always got a new project up their sleeves. The last two or three years have seen the opening their headquarters and market at Magnolia Silos, the adjoining bakery, the Magnolia House bed-and-breakfast and, most recently, the Hillcrest Estate. Add to that book deals, a magazine and a home product line. And then, of course, there's the fifth season of Fixer Upper, and the upcoming spinoff series, Fixer Upper: Behind the Design.

The front door to Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Time for a breather, you're thinking?  Think again. Chip, it seems, had always had a dream of owning and operating his own restaurant — more specifically, a genuine old-style breakfast joint. 

When the opportunity presented itself to purchase and restore Waco's beloved Elite Cafe, the city's oldest restaurant and a bona fide Texas historical landmark, the temptation was just overwhelming. Not surprisingly it became a bee in Chip's bonnet, and it didn't take too much arm-twisting to get Joanna fully onboard as well. 

So despite the conventional wisdom of the risks inherent in opening a new restaurant, here was yet another chance to take the proverbial plunge. The result is the newly opened Magnolia Table. In keeping with the Fixer Upper ethos, just think of it as a traditional diner with a modern twist — and an emphasis on community.

The renovated Magnolia Table has lots of large tables in the space to promote strangers sitting with one another for a meal, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The remodel took a full year. You can get the full story, and see the much-anticipated reveal, in the HGTV special premiering March 27, but here are a few appetizers to get you started.

Detail in the renovated Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The Elite Cafe, it turns out, is a place that Chip and Joanna had frequented as patrons. The older Gaines kids, in fact, will likely remember going there for pancake breakfasts. It's not only a long-time fixture on the Waco cityscape as a favorite local eatery, it's also a little slice of history.

Before

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

After

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

As seen on FIxer Upper, the vintage sign of the Elite Cafe in Waco, Texas. (Before)

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

The new sign at Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

According to the Texas Historical Commission plaque that now adorns the building, the Elite Cafe dates back originally to its first incarnation in 1919. The current structure dates to the 1940s and serves as one of the best surviving examples of the region's midcentury roadside architecture. Legend even has it that one Elvis Aaron Presley used to dine there while serving in the military and stationed at Fort Hood.

The offical historical medallion remains on the exterior of Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

Chip and Jo wisely opted to keep the exterior true to its original form, maintaining the familiar profile that Waco natives know so well.

A new sign in Magnolia Table pays homage to the restaurant's old name, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The interior gets a much-needed overhaul, however, with new vaulted ceilings, lots of large windows to let in plenty of natural light, black and white tile, simple clean lines, natural wood surfaces, fresh greenery and strategically selected vintage flourishes. This is, after all, a Joanna Gaines design.

One of my favorite things is watching people put their phones up and just really enjoying each other's company over a good meal. Doesn't get any better than that.
Chip Gaines

Detail in the renovated Magnolia Table, as seen on Fixer Upper. (After)

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The entrance and waiting area becomes a visual showplace, and visitors are welcomed with the slogan: "The Good Ol' Days Are Still to Come."  The restaurant's original logo is faithfully replicated in a wall display in a new take-away section for grab-and-go sandwiches, treats and beverages. 

Feel free to silence your cell phones and deposit here while dining.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Feel free to silence your cell phones and deposit here while dining.

Restaurant seating is a mix of classic diner-style booths with bench seating, quaint bistro tables and long communal dining tables. The latter, located in the community room, are intended specifically to encourage perhaps non-familiar patrons, whether local or visiting, to sit down and get to know one another. 

The Gaines kids prepare to be the first to see the final reveal at Magnolia Table.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The Gaines kids prepare to be the first to see the final reveal at Magnolia Table.

In one particularly inspired detail, wall-mounted leather pouches are installed at booths and tables — offering an implied invitation to deposit cell-phones therein to better facilitate the kind of conversation and dining experience people enjoyed in the pre-digital age. How's that for forward thinking?

The Fixer Upper Restaurant Special premieres March 27 at 9p|8c. Check here for additional air times, and check back here following the premiere to see the full before-and-after photo gallery — with all the trimmings — and find out about the new spinoff series, Fixer Upper: Behind the Design.

See the Photo Gallery:
A Delicious Fixer Upper

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