Waco Ale Co.

Brett Stewart, a Houston resident from Waco, plans to open a brewery called Waco Ale Co. at 806 Austin Ave.

The city that has given the world an award-winning whiskey, courtesy of Balcones Distilling, is seeing a lineup of new breweries and other watering holes headed for downtown.

Recently, a Waco Ale sign popped up at 806 Austin Ave., where Brett Stewart plans to open a brewery and taproom in a 3,770-square-foot space, said Gregg Glime, the real estate agent who brokered the lease from Waco businessman Brian Ginsburg.

“He plans to brew there and also will have a wholesale and retail component,” Glime said. “I have tried the beer, and it’s very, very good.”

He said Stewart, from Waco but a resident of Houston in recent years, provided samples during a golf outing while in town to scout locations.

At Eighth Street and Jackson Avenue, a partnership from the Czech Republic continues to make progress toward opening a craft brewery, Czech bakery and restaurant, Glime said. He marketed the development as Jackson Station but said the business owners may change the name.

“They are finishing up their architectural plans and drawings now,” Glime said.

Sterling Architects and Mitchell Construction are involved, he said.

Nearby, at Eighth Street and Washington Avenue, a Central Texas family has announced plans for Southern Roots Brewery to serve suds and pizza and offer rooftop dining.

On Saturday, interior work was going on, and a hulking trash container parked outside was filling with scrap material.

Around the corner, at Sixth Street and Columbus Avenue, in a building that once housed a Studebaker dealership, Guess Family Barbecue has a sign up informing the public that a permit is being pursued from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Guess started as a food truck and is working on a sit-down restaurant there.

Last week, Kissing Tree Vineyards introduced Taste, its wine-tasting venue and upscale restaurant, during a grand opening at Eighth Street and Cleveland Avenue.

At Sixth Street and Washington Avenue, where part of the old Curry building has been transformed into a clothing shop called Pretty in Pink Flamingo Boutique, a sign proclaims the need for wait staff and a bartender. An upscale bar called Z’s at the Curry will open there, as the Tribune-Herald has reported.

This is not an exhaustive list, just a sampling of downtown’s changing flavor.

“When I visit other cities, I see the same thing,” Glime said. “It seems Waco had fallen so far behind in this area, it is making up for lost time. It is kind of a ‘more-the-merrier’ culture on display.”

Tourists and residents alike enjoy sampling beers and wines produced locally, said Megan Henderson, executive director of City Center Waco, a city-initiated planning nonprofit.

“And this is just getting started,” Glime said. “I’m very excited about at least a couple of others very interested in setting up shop downtown.”

7-Eleven location closed

The 7-Eleven convenience store on Waco’s traffic circle at the confluence of Valley Mills Drive, La Salle Avenue and Robinson Drive has closed. The gas pumps have been shut down, and plywood covers the entrance.

The property is a stone’s throw from Magnolia Table, the restaurant opened by Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame.

Any bets on how long it will remain vacant or unused?

P.F. Chang’s

A new P.F. Chang’s restaurant has opened on the small lake in Legends Crossing, a mixed-use development behind Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.

Exterior lighting casts reflections on the lake and spotlights a fountain.

Quite a scene, and the food wasn’t bad, either. The lettuce wraps appear on the list of appetizers but themselves could serve as a filling meal.

Not a plug, just a mention. And the new Walk-On’s nearby also was enjoying a packed house.

Local real estate agents Jimmy Banks and Lisa Monroe have done themselves proud in the pursuit of restaurants for Legends Crossing, including the latest commitment, Austin-based Hopdoddy Burger Bar.

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