Coffee Shop Cafe

Amy Vargo serves customers at the Coffee Shop Cafe in McGregor in this 2011 file photo.

California-based El Pollo Loco, which touts itself as the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken chain, has announced it hopes to expand into the Waco market and open at least four locations.

It said in a press release it has secured a deal with Chicken Time Holdings to place 13 new franchised restaurants in Texas.

“As part of this new deal, the franchisee will open an additional three new restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, as well as expand the brand to Austin and Waco, with six and four restaurants, respectively,” according to the press release.

El Pollo Loco said in its promotional material it is “renowned for its masterfully citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken and handcrafted entrees using fresh ingredients inspired by Mexican recipes.”

It has more than 460 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

Dwyer Group program

The Waco-based Dwyer Group has launched a program called Neighborly that allows consumers to get information about the availability of home services, such as plumbing and electrical work, by going to

The Dwyer Group supports nearly 2,300 professional home service experts across 13 franchising brands in the United States. This new service will help consumers get in touch with these franchisees.

Consumers enter their ZIP code, select the service desired and are matched with local providers, according to a press release.

“In addition to finding assistance near their home, Neighborly also provides homeowners the ability to access their service history, delivers maintenance reminders specific to their home and shares tips and advice on its blog,” according to the press release.

“The launch of Neighborly is a game-changer for our industry,” Dwyer Group President and CEO Mike Bidwell said in the press release. “We’ve combined an entire home service community under one umbrella to better serve every homeowner.”

Dwyer Group brands include Aire Serv, Five Star Painting, Glass Doctor, Molly Maid, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric, Mr. Handyman, Mr. Rooter, Protect Painters, Rainbow International, Window Genie, the Grounds Guys and Portland Glass.

Coffee Shop Cafe

Donald Citrano’s Coffee Shop Cafe in McGregor again is receiving rave reviews, this time from Ride Texas magazine, a specialty publication of Texas Monthly.

The latest edition includes a feature titled “Ride to the Pie” that highlights the magazine’s choices for pie so good it is worth the drive. It includes a few paragraphs and photos devoted to Valerie Citrano’s homemade specialties, including peanut butter, pecan and buttermilk pies, all made from scratch.

This is not the first brush with notoriety for Donald and Valerie Citrano. The husband-and-wife team’s restaurant was chosen as one of the state’s best small-town cafes in a feature Texas Monthly published in December 2008.

Valerie said in an interview that her pies are selling so well she can’t keep the restaurant stocked, so she has temporarily discontinued selling whole pies in favor of slices.

She said the restaurant on Highway 84 is doing so well that the couple are planning an expansion in the coming months.

Xristo’s sets roots

Xristo’s Cafe, a popular food truck operating in the 200 block of University Parks Drive to offer Mediterranean food, has opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 810 LaSalle Ave.

It started operating about two weeks ago and maintains a schedule of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the drive-thru accepting orders until 9 p.m.

Anissa Garman, whose family owns and operates Xristo’s, said business has been brisk at the restaurant. Garman said the most popular item is the beef and lamb gyro on pita bread.

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