Almost one in three Waco residents is Hispanic or Latino, a fact reflected in the food and groceries being offered in a several new or planned businesses.
A trip along Valley Mills Drive, for example, reveals the pending arrival of a Supermercados Teloloapan location, joining 11 others in Houston, its home base, and two in Fort Worth. It will open soon, according to signs posted in English and Spanish, and electricians were making progress Friday.
It is in the 800 block of North Valley Mills Drive, between O’Reilly Auto Parts/Oakley’s Texas Bar and Grill and National Tire and Battery.
The Houston headquarters could not provide a definitive date for its unveiling, but images of menu and product offerings look enticing. The Waco location will have a meat market, and will carry marinated chicken, baked goods, a taco-preparation area, cheeses, fresh produce, candies, spices and traditional grocery items, according to the company website, which features a logo with cartoonish steer posing as a grill master.
The regional chain reportedly was founded in 1994 by Clemente Ayala, a native of Teloloapan, Mexico, whose first location occupied 800 square feet.
Elsewhere, other reflections of Hispanic/Latino/Tex-Mex influence are making their presence felt, according to press releases and phone interviews.
El Paso Mexican Grill recently opened on Franklin Avenue, near New Road and the Lowe’s home improvement store, in the former Buffalo Wild Wings building owned by Waco restaurateur Sammy Citrano.
A Hispanic-owned grocery chain, Poco Loco Supermercado, announced in September it would remodel and occupy the 37,000-square-foot building at Bosque Boulevard and North 25th Street that served as home to several Latino-centric groceries before going vacant five years ago.
Despite those plans, the building has appeared lifeless in recent months. But Waco City Councilman Dillon Meek, whose district includes the supermarket site, said he has received assurances the project remains afloat. A person who identified himself as the manager of a Poco Loco location in Austin echoed that news, saying local residents should notice activity by March.
Fort Worth chef Tim Love has partnered with Pilot Flying J travel centers across Texas and New Mexico to introduce breakfast tacos by the end of this month.
“Known for his signature Urban Western cuisine, Love has developed food items specifically for Pilot Flying J’s Southwest region locations, focusing on the flavors and specialties that represent the region’s fare,” a press release states.
His breakfast tacos will come in two types: sausage, egg and cheese; and potato, egg and cheese, according to the press release. Gourmet salsa concocted by Doug Renfro and Renfro Foods will be available.
Love, according to promotional material, has ties to Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Austin, Fort Worth and Knoxville, Tennessee.
Greater Waco has Pilot or Flying J-branded travel centers at New Road and Interstate 35 and at 8055 North Interstate 35 in Robinson.
Waco Auto Glass
Waco Auto Glass has been repairing windshields at 1100 Franklin Ave. for more than 40 years, but a local whiskey-maker has sent it packing.
Award-winning Balcones Distilling, 225 S. 11th St., reportedly has bought the building, though it has not yet announced plans for the site. Waco Auto Glass, meanwhile, has relocated to 921 Enterprise Blvd., south of the new Walmart superstore at I-35 and Sun Valley Boulevard, reachable via I-35 exit 325, office manager Tina Roberts said in a phone interview.
Balcones, which offers tours, tastings, whiskey and novelty items in its gift shop, is celebrating 10 years of turning heads with its product, having relocated from humble beginnings under the 17th Street overpass to a remodeled Texas Fireproof Storage building it filled with distilling hardware from abroad.
The company now turns out 350,000 liters of product annually, according to a feature in Forbes magazine celebrating Balcones’ achievements.
Michael Rodriguez, who hails from California but has spent time in Texas, has been hired as chief financial officer for all things Magnolia, including Magnolia Market; Magnolia Table; the Magnolia-affiliated warehouse and seller of product overruns on Bosque Boulevard; Magnolia publications, including periodicals and books authored by Chip and Joanna Gaines; and the many events Magnolia hosts and sponsors, Rodriguez said Thursday.
He was among several business leaders who met at First National Bank of Central Texas to hear a report on the Greater Waco economy.
Rodriguez, who had a family member attend Baylor University, received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Stanford University. He previously held executive positions at GenomeDX Biosciences, Crossover Health, Epic Sciences and Clarient Diagnostic Services, according to online biographical information.
Here’s doubting Silobration, shiplap or Magnolia souvenirs will stump him.
I-35 land buys
Much has been discussed about the widening of Interstate 35 through Waco from six to eight lanes, with many exit and overpass alterations along the way. Land acquisition to accommodate the project has cost Waco its El Chico restaurant, a slice of Texas Roadhouse’s parking lot, a La Quinta hotel near Baylor University that has been replaced on the opposite side of I-35, and the Astro Motel.
And it has cost the state $45.3 million, said Ken Roberts, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman.
TxDOT started buying right of way to accommodate the widening in April 2014 and has closed deals on 179 parcels along the interstate between North Loop 340 and South Loop 340, Roberts said in an email response to questions. The task is complete, meaning land acquisition is not holding the project back, he said.
A ribbon cutting is scheduled Tuesday for Ideal MRI, which has opened a 1,500-square-foot imaging facility in Central Texas Marketplace, next to the newly opened La Madeleine French Bakery and Cafe.
MRIs will be available for $497 or less, according to a press release. The cost covers the scan, all materials, and the radiologist report and results, available in 24 hours or less.
Patients can schedule an appointment online or by phone, “or simply walk in and get a text message when the scanner is available,” the press release states.
Ideal is a startup founded last year and available only in Central Texas.