The Barnhart family invited us to a preview Saturday night at the new West End restaurant on the west side of the square, and it was an invitation we could not pass up. Magnolians are in for a treat when the restaurant opens for supper on Tuesday. The interior of the former Brittney’s Holiday Shop has been transformed into Magnolia’s most upscale restaurant. The wait staff was dressed in black and white and starting in June, they will provide valet parking. The restaurant seats 99 and has a waiting lounge, a main dining hall, and five private dining rooms (the largest seats 30). Each room has a theme – “Magnolia,” local sports, racing, and two rooms with family themes. What’s on the menu? We received complimentary bread sticks, and ordered grilled pork chops with sides of green beans and a loaded baked potato. Most of the entrees – primarily steak and seafood – are in the $11-$22 range and comparable in price and quality to upscale eateries in our region. Buddy Barnhart has hired 20 people, including six cooks, to operate the restaurant. Initially, the restaurant will be open evenings only but will open at 11 a.m. starting June 1. The West End will set a new, much higher bar for dining in Magnolia.
Newcomers to Magnolia don’t know it, but the West End restaurant site historically has been a key location in our city for dining and lodging through the Columbia Hotel and its predecessors.
It’s no secret that the West End comes along on the rumored pending closing of another restaurant across town. The report is that the other restaurant will be reopened by new out-of-town ownership and management with a food style we’ve already got in Magnolia. And we’re not talking about Bayou Bistro. We’re going to take a wait-and-see attitude here.
The new walking trail northeast of the Magnolia Regional Medical Center has been paved. We also noticed new pavement on part of the walking trail near the SAU duck pond.
The SAU duck pond was lined by fishermen, hoping to catch the remnants of a catfish stocking held there before a fishing derby earlier in the weekend.
We took a drive past cattle grazing areas in the county during the weekend. Cormorants are everywhere.
It looks like the magnolia blossom season is just hitting its stride.
The new Shipley Donuts construction location on North Jackson Street is making rapid progress.