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If you’re like me and Kev, then first lunch and second lunch are the most important meals of the day. When I came to visit Waco over the summer, I didn’t know where any of the good lunch spots were (or even if there were any), so I just settled for ultra feast at the familiar Olive Garden. While their bread sticks were delicious and consumed by the handful, I now know that there are so many other tasty choices available for my greasy little fingers. So, as procrastination is hitting a all-time high over Spring Break, we have compiled the best dozen places to grab a bite to eat while visiting Baylor.

1. Jasper’s Bar-B-Que (105 Clifton Street)

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Don’t let the outside fool you! This little gem is the oldest barbecue joint in the city and the food inside is a testament to their longevity. If you’re lucky enough to be around on a Wednesday, their $10.99 AYCE ribs are not to be missed. The Waco Tornado is also a classic that is sure to leave any barbecue lover pleased and stuffed. Hours – Mon-Sat: 10am-2 pm

2. Xcristo’s Cafe (202 South University Parks Drive)

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The only food truck to make the list is also arguably the best (and most confusing to pronounce) in all of McLennan County. Their lamb and beef gyros are seriously “opalicious.” Xcristo’s lunch special includes your choice of gyro, a healthy dose of french fries, and a drink for a tidy $10. Hours – Tues-Sat: 11am-7pm

3. Twisted Root Burger Company (801 South 2nd Street)

Being one of the newest eateries to branch to the city from the northern metropolis known as Dallas, it is hard to miss this colorful building from I-35. And, quite frankly, you shouldn’t because it has perhaps the strangest menu in Waco. Depending on the season, you could order a burger made of camel, beaver, gator, or kangaroo (sorry, Pooh Bear). Hours – Everyday: 11am-10pm

4. Poppa Rollo’s Pizza (703 North Valley Mills Drive)

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Opened by a Bear alum in 1969, Poppa Rollo’s offers some of the best pizza and calzones in the area. Although a little bit further away from campus than some would like, this pizzeria is sure to satisfy even the toughest critics. Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

5. Torchy’s Tacos (801 South 5th Street)

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Another newcomer to Waco (from Austin) that has already become a hit. Even in a city littered with great taco trucks and restaurants, Torchy’s “damn good” tacos and green chili queso always seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. Also, try looking up their secret menu before ordering! Hours – Everyday: 8am-10pm

6. Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shoppe (105 South 5th Street)

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Schmaltz’s is truly “Waco born and bread.” Their artisan bread is handmade everyday and is the staple to this downtown lunch spot. You cannot go wrong with a large Schmaltz, which contains multiple kinds of cheeses and meats, but has a smaller price tag at $8. Hours – Mon-Fri: 10-3

7. Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers (1810 Herring Avenue)

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If you don’t like red meat and sweaty cooks, then Dubl-R may not be for you. But if you like great burgers at an affordable price, then welcome home!  The drive out there will take you through some of Waco’s less traveled neighborhoods, but their Triple-Triple (triple patty, triple cheese) will quickly have you running back for more. Hours Mon-Fri: 10-6, Sat: 10-2

8. Vitek’s BBQ (1600 Speight Avenue)

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Vitek’s, home of the world-famous GutPak. Having opened more than one hundred years ago, this Baylor favorite has long since mastered all of their fixings. In fact, just a few years ago, they were named the country’s number one college eatery. Yes, it’s that good! Hours – Mon: 10:30am-3pm, Tues-Thurs: 10:30am-6pm, Fri-Sat: 10:30am-9pm

9. Clay Pot (920 South Jack Kultgen Expressway)

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It’s hard to imagine that Waco’s only Vietnamese restaurant is also one of Baylor’s favorite places for lunch, but it’s no joke! Warning: you may find yourself addicted to Clay Pot’s traditional cuisine (and seating) after just one meal. It’s still oh so worth it. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

10. Shorty’s Pizza Shack (1712 South 12th Street)

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Shorty’s Pizza Shack is just a few blocks off of campus and therefore has some of the most affordable lunch specials in the area for us poor college students. In addition, they have a different special everyday, as well as a rotating slice board. Make sure to try a pizza pillow and take a sticker on your way out! Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

11. Baris’s (904 North Valley Mills Drive)

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Baris’s is really the only authentic Italian restaurant worth talking about in Waco. If I only knew of its great lunch specials and healthy portions before I went to the Olive Garden! You know you’re going to get an excellent meal every time because Mama Baris doesn’t except anything less for her loving patrons. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

12. Lulu Jane’s (406 West Elm Street)

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The only restaurant to make both our top breakfast and lunch lists is West Waco’s Lulu Jane’s. A daily special each day that is made from scratch, in-house, with the best ingredients is one of the many things that makes this place so appealing. Hours – Mon: 9am-3pm, Tues-Sat: 8am-3pm

So, schedule a tour and come see us soon! If only for the food…

By Matthew Doyen