When the Elite Café opened in downtown Waco nearly a century ago, the owners committed themselves to combining classic American fare with technological innovation. It was the first restaurant in town to use refrigeration as well as air conditioning. But the food was the primary draw, attracting even the attention of a young Elvis Presley when he was stationed at Fort Hood. While a lot has changed since the days when the King was a regular, the restaurant still sticks to the classic American recipes that have made it a Waco staple for decades.
Specialties include juicy burgers, fried tenderloin sandwiches, and build-your-own breakfast omelets served all day long. The chefs’ secret-recipe barbecue sauce—made with Dr. Pepper—is splashed across everything from ribs to wings. Burgers, meanwhile, arrive topped with chili, cheese, and Shiner Bock onion rings.
Roma’s Italian Restaurant compiles a roster of traditional, Italian-style dishes with pizza built on dough they make fresh daily. Pasta dishes drape eggplant, artichoke hearts, ricotta-stuffed tortellini, and fresh tomatoes with rich sauces ranging from zesty marinara to creamy alfredo. The pizza gurus scatter or stuff crusts with specialty combinations including the supreme, with four types of meat and green peppers, and the white pizza, which pairs ricotta with fresh tomatoes and garlic. For a meatier meal, patrons can bite into classic Italian entrees, such as chicken piccata dressed with a lemon-butter sauce, seafood marinara with shrimp and crabmeat, or tender veal parmigiana. Hunting parties track down their circular prey in a dining room where tan curtains admit rays of sunlight and framed pictures hang on crimson walls.