Feeding Our Nostalgia: A Sampling of Waco’s Favorite Former Restaurants, Via the BU Libraries Athletics Archive

Although the temperatures outside our offices here on campus don’t reflect it yet, the calendar says we’ve officially entered fall. And with its arrival come the requisite things we love about autumn like changing leaves, cooler days, and a tidal wave of foods flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon.

But nothing says “fall” on a university campus like the return of college football, and as our Baylor Bears are riding a 3-game winning streak this week, we thought it fitting to turn our attention to our Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive (BULAA) for inspiration for this week’s post.

And so it was that while perusing football programs from the 1930s-1980s, I stumbled upon a recurring theme: the ads for restaurants that don’t exist in Waco anymore. Be they beloved staples mourned to the present or mere one-time wonders barely remembered by anyone, they still took the time to invest in advertising space in programs for Baylor home football games, so their impact on our university was easily measure in terms of ad revenue and column inches – if only for a season.

We thought it might be fun to showcase a few of those ads and, as a bonus, add their locations to a custom Google map so you can see exactly where they were located “back in the day.” Longtime Wacoans may well remember dining at some of these establishments; likewise, newer residents (or those just passing through town) can gain a better understanding for our fair city’s historic culinary offerings.

Leslie’s Chicken Shack (from November 24, 1934 game vs. SMU)

Jack’s Café (from October 23, 1948 game vs. Texas A&M University)

Pat Rutherford’s (from November 11, 1950 game vs. University of Texas)

Taco Patio and Mr. Chuc Wagun (from November 12, 1977 game vs. Rice University)

The Water Works (from November 22, 1980 game vs. University of Texas)

This is just a sampling from the smorgasbord (sorry!) of eatery ads to be found in the football programs of the BULAA. We hope you’ll take time to look through the programs for your favorite Waco restaurants, and take a minute to leave us a comment on your fondest food memories. Bon appetit!

4 Comments
  1. When I completed my degree at Baylor in December of 1974, and was ready to go out into the world and find fame and fortune, my first job was playing the banjo at Water Works!

  2. Bob – thanks for the great story! Hope you’ve kept your banjo skills up to date, and thanks for enjoying our blog post. Feel free to spread it to all your fellow alums from ’74!

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