The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Score Big with these Game Day Restaurants and Recipes

Where to watch football in Waco and how to host your own party

8 months ago

Pictured: Baylor Bears 2022 football team, provided by Baylor Athletics

By Avery Ballmann

Don’t fumble this football season by not knowing where to go or what to do on game day! Whether you want to host or let someone else wait on you while you watch, we have you covered.

Photos by Breanne Johnson, and courtesy of Baylor Athletics, Food Network and Delish

First-Round Picks

George’s “Big O” Deck

George’s is the first restaurant that comes to mind when I think of game day. The downtown location, 925 Speight Ave., has a room dedicated to sports with wall-to-wall screens and TVs lining the perimeter. You can watch multiple games at the same time at any angle without moving from your table. Not only is this place ideal for watching a game, but it also has great food such as their tangy fried pickles served with their decadent house-made ranch. If you also need a drink to sip on while cheering for your team, George’s has two bars and of course their signature drink, the Big-O. Game days are usually packed at George’s, but luckily they have a second location at 1201 Hewitt Dr. Suite 100 and a tailgate tent across from McLane Stadium! George’s is bringing back the Party Zone to the public. Four hours before kickoff, enjoy beer, mixed drinks, crazy wings, burgers and brisket tacos all while watching college football on 14 big-screen TVs.

Fish City Grill is another restaurant that serves not your typical game day food such as oyster nachos, shrimp and crab queso and lobster and shrimp grilled cheese! This restaurant is located at 5401 Crosslake Pkwy, Suite 700 and is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m.—10 p.m.

Whizzbang’s Hamburgers at Union Hall

Enjoy a good old-fashioned hamburger from Captain Billy Whizzbang’s while supporting the Bears! If I was spending my game day at Whizzbang’s, I would get the juicy turkey burger with my fries whizzbang style because who wouldn’t want their fries covered in their signature sauce, gooey cheddar cheese, ranch, bacon and onions? You don’t have to order what I like, but you should spend game day at Whizzbang’s at their Union Hall, 720 Franklin Ave., or at their O.G. 901 Lake Air Dr. location.

If you’re a Tex-Mex fan like me, then you can happily ditch the football food and dig into La Fiesta’s enchiladas, tacos and Texas-style menu items. La Fiesta’s large menu has options for everyone on the team. They also have an extensive cocktail menu with an option to build your own margarita! Located in the middle of town at 3815 Franklin Ave., this restaurant is the perfect meet-up for game day.

Slow Rise on the Brazos

A great timeout from the normal football food is Slow Rise Slice House. This restaurant serves New York-style pizza, wings, salads and appetizers. Located at 7608 Woodway Dr., and 1620 N Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., this location is the perfect in-between from downtown and surrounding areas such as Woodway, East Waco, Lacy Lakeview and China Spring. I personally prefer the Slow Rise on the Brazos location because it offers scenic views overlooking the river and Cameron Park — plus you can feed ducks and turtles that swim by. One of the reasons why I love this Waco business is because of the park views and their spinach ricotta pizza that I simply can’t get enough of. The salty creamy globs of ricotta with spinach and balsamic drizzled on top makes this pizza the best slice I’ve ever consumed. Slow Rise has everything you need to stay cool and entertained with two covered patios equipped with fans and TVs. This is a great option to bring big groups because of the variety of seating and the ability to split a house pie.

Cricket’s Draft House & Grill

Back in the heart of downtown is our final pick, Cricket’s Grill and Draft House. Cricket’s has a cool atmosphere with its urban interior and pool tables. Play a round of billiards or old arcade games while you cheer on the Baylor Bears. If playing games isn’t your thing, watch your team from a booth or table! Located at 211 Mary Ave., this restaurant is close to campus and spacious for large groups.

When the burgers come in a basket with the black and white checkered paper, you know it’s gonna be good. That’s why Billy Bob’s Burgers Bar & Grill is one of my favorite burger joints in Waco. This restaurant is located at 300 S 2nd St. Suite 102 and 899 S Hewitt Dr. Billy Bob’s has seating inside, at the bar and under the covered patio. If you want to participate in your own game, you can attempt the Fat Daddy Challenge. Finish the six-patty burger, a basket of fries and a 24-ounce milkshake in under 30 minutes, you’ll receive a free Billy Bob’s t-shirt! Bonus: If you beat the record time your meal is free. Billy Bob’s is a fun atmosphere to spend game day at whether you visit the downtown or Hewitt location.

Huddle up! Hosting made easy

For those of you who want to scream at the TV in the comfort of your own home, hosting a game day party seems more appealing. We have crafted a list of snacks, cocktails and general rules of thumb to tackle hosting.

Finger foods are essential to any football game viewing. My favorite snacks are pigs in a blanket, spinach artichoke dip and jalapeno poppers. These snacks are easy to prep prior to kickoff and are a hit at every party. It is also a good idea to have chips and dips such as a salsa and queso floating around too.

To complement our salty snacks, pair them with these fun game-day cocktails! To find the directions for each cocktail visit the Food Network and Delish websites.

Beergarita (serves four):

  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Zest of 1 lime, juice of 2 limes
  • 4 ounces of your preferred tequila
  • 1 ounce of orange liqueur
  • Splash of agave nectar
  • 1, 12-ounce can of Mexican beer, try Waco Ale Co.’s Mexican Lagers
  • Add green food coloring to support our Baylor Bears!

Football Fizz (serves two):

  • Sugar for rim, add Tajin for an extra kick!
  • Juice and zest from 1 lime
  • 2 cups of Ginger Ale
  • 3 ounces of Crown Royal, or any of Balcones Distilling’s whiskey
  • Ice
  • Mint for garnish

Want to try something else? Visit our Food and Drink section to find more cocktail recipes!

Now that you have delicious snacks and drinks picked out, it’s time to wrap up this huddle. To be a welcoming host, make sure there is enough seating around the TV so that everyone is able to watch the game. Also, point out important access points guests might need such as where the bathroom and kitchen are. If you’re planning on having a larger group, be sure to highlight where they can park in your neighborhood. OK host’s, now that you have your play-by-play what is preventing you from making the play and hosting your own party?

The Baylor Bears first game of the season is September 2 at 6 p.m. against the Texas State Bobcats. You can view this game on ESPN+, an add-on to most streaming services or refer to Baylor Athletic’s for viewing options. If you’re venturing out to Waco to watch the games we hope you love these businesses as much as we do! Happy football season readers, and Sic’em.