Blue Bell

Blue Bell will return to the Waco area along with parts of North Central Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth.

Associated Press — Orlin Wagner, file

It won’t be long now, Blue Bell fans in Greater Waco. The Brenham -based creamery announced that its ice cream will return to area shelves Nov. 2, when Phase 2 of its restocking drive begins.

Waco will see the arrival of five flavors in half-gallon and pint sizes: Buttered Pecan, Cookies n’ Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla and The Great Divide.

Waco is getting its Blue Bell fix, along with areas of North Central Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth, and the Oklahoma cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing.

Blue Bell is slowly returning to normal delivery after a listeria outbreak that killed three people in Kansas and has sickened others. It has cleaned production facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.

“We are working as hard as we can to keep stores in Phase 1 stocked without jeopardizing the new quality and safety procedures we have implemented to ensure our products are safe and of the highest quality,” Dickson said.

Blue Bell is being made in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and Sylacauga, Alabama.

“We continue to make good progress and expect to begin production at our main plant in Brenham in the next few months,” Dickson said. “With our Broken Arrow plant now producing ice cream, we are confident we can build enough inventory to enter Phase 2 beginning Nov. 2.

“We do not have a date for other phases at this time. As soon as we know that we can properly service the customers in an area with an adequate supply of Blue Bell ice cream, we will move to the next phase.”

Restaurants open

Waco recently welcomed the openings of Saltgrass Steakhouse in Legends Crossing and Twisted Root Burgers in the remodeled Texas Playhouse Theater on Interstate 35 North, near University Parks Drive.

My wife, Claudell, and I went to Saltgrass Streakhouse on Tuesday, its second night of operation. We knew the line outside would be sizable because residents turn out in force whenever a new restaurant hits town. We agreed that if the wait was 45 minutes or less, we would stick around and watch people as we waited for our buzzer to go off, informing us a table awaited.

Once inside, we were glad we stuck around. The atmosphere was lively, but not so loud that we couldn’t enjoy our conversation. We quit counting after eight different people — servers and managers and assistant managers — asked about our meal and experience. We thoroughly enjoyed both.

Probably the highlight of our evening was my wife’s expression when her monstrous chicken-fried steak arrived, lapping over the edge of the plate. We needed two to-go boxes to carry home all she didn’t eat.

We look forward to checking out Twisted Root and sampling one of its exotic burgers. Emu, camel, ostrich, boar, rabbit or duck, anyone? The website says they are on the menu.

Proposition 7

Texas voters in November will decide on Proposition 7, which would allocate money from the state’s sales and use tax to the general highway fund for use in building and repairing roads.

People seeking to know more about the proposition can attend a highway fund briefing from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, 101 S. Third St. The speaker will be Jack Ladd of Move Texas Forward, a nonpartisan organization that educates Texans about the importance of funding transportation infrastructure.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar will stop in Waco as part of his Good for Texas tour. The chamber will host his visit from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday at its downtown headquarters. The public is invited.

Buffalo offerings

Waco has captured the attention of the buffalo in more ways than one.

Whataburger, with a new restaurant at Lake Air and Valley Mills drives, is breaking out the Buffalo sauce with the introduction of its new Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich, available for a limited time.

Also, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based sports restaurant chain called Buffalo Wings & Rings reportedly is considering a move into Waco. It has 60 locations, including Corpus Christi, San Antonio, New Braunfels and Round Rock.

“The brand has actually picked out Waco as a top market they want to bring a restaurant to within the next year or so,” a public relations official said.

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