Nexus Esports, at 600 Columbus Ave., is a downtown project supported by the downtown Tax Increment Financing Zone board, a special-use taxing district.

The Baylor University-area Dancing Bear Pub, 1117 Speight Ave., will add gourmet food dishes to its lineup of craft beers.

Owner Paxton Dove has teamed with old friend and chef Brandon Bailey. The two met years ago when Dove served on the board of the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. In the absence of food vendors, Dove discovered Bailey, and they collaborated to form Green Kitchens, Dove said in an email to the Tribune-Herald.

“GK was a great experience that led to countless beer dinners and early mornings at the market,” he wrote.

The two talked often about opening what Dove described as a progressive restaurant, “but Chef Bailey moved away and I moved on.”

“In May, I started thinking about beer dinners and decided I needed to bring them back,” Dove said. “I called Chef Bailey and pitched my wild plan to buy a food trailer and begin a new chapter in Dancing Bear Pub’s history. His wife approved and now we rejoin forces. We bought the food trailer 2 weeks ago and have received our permits and licenses as of Tuesday. We are starting today with a grand opening and plan a Grand Opening Oct. 11.”

The team plans to rotate its menu as Dancing Bear Pub rotates its beer and wine selection, Dove said. Wine and beer pairing dinners will start soon.

The menu provided by Dove includes a $15 charcuterie that features “a carefully curated selection of meat, cheese and thoughtful accompaniments.” Then there is the $6 Pot O’ Pickles, the $10 Duckfatfries, the $7 elote, the $7 fried cauliflower, the $8 avocado toast(ada), the $10 KFC Wings, the $10 Chesapeake Krab Roll, the $15 DBP Burger and the $15 Hanger Steak.

Downtown soundstage

The Nexus Esports gaming center at Sixth Street and Columbus Avenue has partnered with Texas Music Cafe to install a $10,000 soundstage and TV studio.

“As a result, Nexus will soon begin live broadcasting their gaming competitions to an expanded audience,” a Texas Music Cafe press release states.

Texas Music Cafe broke the stage in Aug. 31 with a concert featuring Tough on Fridays. Another Texas Music Cafe concert, this one featuring Manifest Destiny’s Child, is set to be recorded there Oct. 19.

“It is TMC’s desire to see this new well equipped stage used by other Waco creatives while creating employment opportunities for artists, technicians, producers, and musicians, including internship opportunities for Baylor, MCC and TSTC students,” Executive Producer Chris Ermoian said.

He said Texas Music Cafe is in the midst of trying to fill 30 positions.

“If ever there was a time for the downtown Waco arts community to work together to include, encourage and employ all aspects of artistry into a single collective display of talent, that time is now,” Ermoian said.

Texas Music Cafe adds Waco emphasis to web programs

He said the series, now 22-years-old, continues to pursue sponsorships by local businesses “and will always find a way to include businesses who want to be featured alongside talented celebrity musicians.”

Sales tax revenue up

After months of enduring sluggish spending in Greater Waco, retailers and restaurants caught a break. Sales tax rebates from the Texas Comptroller’s Office were up by double digits across the community in September, the last month of the fiscal year for the majority of area municipalities.

Waco received a $3.46 million rebate this month, nearly $400,000 more than the check it received in September last year, a 12.6% increase. Rebates received in September reflect sales in July and reported in August.

For the calendar year, Waco has received rebates totaling $30.6 million, about 1.9% more than the same period last year, reflecting the less-than-robust spending trends locally oulined by monthly reports prepared by Amarillo-based economist Karr Ingham.

Waco receives 1.5 cents on every dollar spent on goods, services, food and drink subject to the state sales tax. McLennan County receives half of a cent on each dollar, while the state of Texas collects 6.25 cents.

The more people spend locally, the more in rebates local governments receive. Rebate percentages were up all over Greater Waco, led by Woodway, 32%; Crawford, 25%; Bruceville-Eddy, 21%; Lacy Lakeview, 19.6%; Bellmead, 15%; Mart, 14.5%; Robinson, 13.6%; Hewitt, 12.9%; McGregor, 11%; West, 7.7%; and Beverly Hills, 3%, according to the Comptroller’s Office.

Only Lorena in the immediate area suffered a decline, 2.3%.

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