Leftridge: Magnolia’s Dishes Southern Fare, Realistic Swampy Atmosphere

The internet does not lie. Everything you have ever read on the Internet is completely and infallibly true.

Oprah Winfrey, Johnny Depp and Eminem all died in (separate) horrific car crashes.

Deep within the recesses of Richard Gere’s anus lives the ghost of a dead, declawed gerbil.

Clicking “like” on the picture of the kid with the harelip donates $10 to a surgery that will fix said harelip.

Nigeria’s got some money for you, asshole.

For better or worse, everything that the internet says about the recently opened soul-food/southern-cooking emporium Magnolia’s actually is pretty spot-on.

Crunchy Triangle Biscuits, Sweet Potato Hash

Lance W. from Yelp says, “The service was polite, helpful and slow.” Matt E. says, “But unfortunately, I do have to talk about the service. It was a joke. The staff was nice, but talk about absent.

Magnolia’s has nine reviews on Yelp, and every single one of them is some variation of the same: food was outstanding, but the service, my LANDS, the service!  And the sad thing is, it’s all true.

We paid a visit on a blisteringly hot day earlier this month. Although it was before noon, it was already triple digits. The walk from the car to the entrance took everything we had. We pulled open the door, hoping from a respite from the heat and BOOM—nothing. Though the server claimed the air was on, it felt like she was telling stories. A standup fan moved in the corner, blowing the hot air around instead of offering any kind of relief. I had a feeling we were in for a long, sweaty meal. And boy was I right.

Just out of curiosity—not because I’m an asshole or anything—I started timing the proceedings. We were seated at 11:10, after the server covered our table with fresh parchment. The seats were folding chairs that give the impression of being at an outdoor wedding. The tables sit pretty close together. If you’re not careful, everyone ends up as part of one conversation.

In the interest of being fair and balanced—and fat—we decided to try multiple items. We ordered the trio of deviled eggs appetizer (traditional, creole and smoked salmon), the acclaimed Red Velvet Waffle Evangeline, an order of biscuits and gravy with sweet potato hash, the open face steak sandwich and sides of the “Uber” creamy smoked Gouda mac and cheese and purple potato salad.

And then we waited.

And waited.

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

And 35 minutes later, our food came out. All at once. Screw the deviled eggs as an appetizer, our server seemed to be wordlessly saying, you’re gonna eat them between bites of the biscuits and gravy, you fool.

That said, the food was—for the most part—remarkable.

The deviled eggs were sufficiently deviled and, while I couldn’t necessarily tell the difference between the three different types, I inhaled them with glee.

The waffle—served with sweet potato hash and smoked bacon—was GIGANTIC, so we didn’t really miss the berries that the menu had promised. The bacon was divine; thick and deeply peppered, it fell somewhere between flaccid and corpse-stiff, an “in between” that appeases all while offending none. And though I’m no fan of sweet potatoes, the hash may have converted me with its soft, sweet, lightly fried deliciousness. The waffle itself? Wasn’t very red velvet in nature. No, it was a plain-old waffle, but tasty nonetheless.

The purple potato salad was one of the few real misses of the meal. Bland, and without much flavor, it’s definitely something to skip.

Same goes for the biscuits and gravy. The biscuits tasted old. They were a bit… crunchy? Which is an odd way for biscuits to behave. The gravy itself was okay, but seemed to be trying a bit too hard, what, with its inclusion of basil and all. Oh, AND they forgot the bacon on that was supposed to come with the platter.

So if you’re keeping track at home, we’re down one side of berries and one order of bacon.

What WASN’T trying too hard, however, and what completely blew me away, was the open face steak sandwich. Served with house-made sweet potato chips (decent, but lacking crunch), I opted to pair mine with a side of the Gouda mac and cheese (phenomenal, subtle and excruciatingly creamy). A fitting side for a fitting sandwich.

Cooked to order steak is served atop toasted Farm to Market bread that’s been slathered in “bacon dip,” and then the whole mess is covered with caramelized onions and baby Swiss.

Fucking. Shit.

What a sandwich.

Steak. Sandwich. Please.

That alone was worth the trip to this fairly desolate stretch of Cherry.

And though the prices were reasonable for the fantastic quality and quantity of food—you’re looking at $7-$10 for a breakfast or lunch plate, typically—something has GOT to be done about the service. I know I’ll definitely be back, because I’m a forgiving sort (and because of that erection-inducing steak sandwich, ohsweetjesus), but some people aren’t so kind. And with so many new, quality restaurants opening around this fair city of ours, there is little room for error.

I certainly hope they get the service side of things on track soon, before this flower begins to wilt.

Magnolia’s is located at 2932 Cherry St.

For hours, prices, and serious looking pictures of owner/chef Shanita McAfee,  please visit Magnolia’s website.

Front page photo courtesy of Kansas City Daily Photo

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12 Responses to Leftridge: Magnolia’s Dishes Southern Fare, Realistic Swampy Atmosphere

  1. tiad says:

    All I can say is, this blogger is certainly a douche in anything he writes.

  2. Pat says:

    Did you complain about the service?

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I did not– the table next to us did, and the owner/chef addressed the issue. Our server was new, and didn’t look a day over 16. I’m sure that at this point, the problems are well known to Chef McAfee and I’m sure that steps will be taken to rectify the situation. She’s proud of her cooking, and righfully so.

  3. PB says:

    I’m sort of confused. For somebody that talked so glowingly about the food during your opening, you seemed to criticize much of it…

    …old, crunchy bisquits in an order of BISQUITS and gravy.
    …no discernible difference in the taste of deviled eggs being sold as three distinct flavors.
    …although tasty, no noticeable “red velvet” in an item billed as such.
    …subpar potato salad

    I don’t know, service aside, those seem to be some pretty significant food-related issues in my book, especially in the way the stuff is being marketed by the restaurant.
    Having said that, I do want to give the place a try and your somewhat positive review is edging me in that direction.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I really would suggest rying it, PB. Steak sandwich, sweet potato hash and mac and cheese transcended the other less-than-spectacular offerings. Truly, the only thing I wouldn’t suggest with complete confidence is the potato salad.

  4. jack's stack of chicken n waffles says:

    Hipster soul food, now I’ve seen everything.

    Next thing they’ll be dressing up KC BBQ with white napkins and table service from people without gold teeth who wear bras.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I like where you’re going with this, but it was actually a really diverse crowd when we were there, believe it or not. I think a lot of people know her through her catering business.

      • balbonis moleskine says:

        Hey you never put in their address into your story. Is this the place over by the family court building (approx 25th and cherry)

  5. bschloz says:

    Nice post Brandon… flaccid bacon, and boner phillys..my kind of place.
    Feel sorry for the small joints trying to keep it cool this summer. Not working and still will get + $1,000 KCPL bill

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Oh, man. I didn’t realize I had so much “hot cock talk” going on there. Yikes. Yeah, you’re absolutely right about the AC thing. That’s gotta be terrible. Magnolia’s kitchen is at the end of a dining area, behind a curtain. You’re literally feet away from the oven/stove-top. That’s a plus come winter-time, but a definite negative when it’s 100+ outside, as it feels like it has been a majority of this ridiculous summer.

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