The Magnolia Cafe

Written by
Sean Cope

The Magnolia Cafe

As told by
Cope
There is something to be said about a place that has a neon sign out front that states “Sorry Were Open” There is a certain feel a place gives you when you walk through the doors. Magnolia has felt like Austin living since they first opened in 1979. From the delicious Tex-Mex and Breakfast menu, to the tattooed and free spirited wait staff, this place is uniquely ATX.
Price:
$$
Best time of day:
Anytime

What everyone knows

They have a rather large menu and don't discriminate on regions of cuisine. There is something for everyone with vegan options, vegetarian, ovo lacto…you name it, they can accommodate. Their Tex-Mex is great, but if you're not into that, you could order chicken alfredo pasta, Pot Stickers or a club sandwich. I am a huge breakfast foods fan, and I know there's more of us breakfast-heads out there. Get this...you can grab blueberry pancakes, order an omelette, and sip on hot coffee 24 hrs a day.

What they don't tell you

Story has it that the restaurant started staying open later and later each day until, one day Kent or one of the managers or...someone finally lost the keys, and that was that.

Do it like a local

As a local, I have been going to Magnolia since I can remember, and there is one thing on their appetizer menu that I have ordered literally every time I have ever been. The “MAG MUD”. This delicious hot mess is 12 oz of queso with black beans, avocado, and pico served with chips and salsa. The best part is stirring it up with a spoon and watching it turn into delicious mud. True Black Gold.

For the History Buffs

The Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Blvd began as The Omelettry West in 1979, opened by Ken Carpenter (owner of the Omelettry on Burnet Rd) and Kent Cole. Then, when the Omelettry announced it would indeed be relocating, the spot it was currently on Lake Austin Blvd was offered to Kent for his own venture. The restaurant was always ready for good times to be had. When the doors closed at 3 PM each day, the staff would, many times, stay into the evening working on homemade films, music videos in the kitchen, or making humorous staff glamour calendars. Sometimes at the busiest points of the rush on Saturday mornings, everyone would simply stop what they were doing for two minutes and sing the Omelettry theme song. Finally, in 1987, Kent bought out the remainder of the shareholder stock from Ken Carpenter, and it was time to rename the enterprise. Kent really wanted to name the restaurant Eddy's Westside Cafe, given the proximity to Deep Eddy, but instead decided to name it supposedly after a diner he really loved in Louisiana, which, he vaguely remembered, was some sort of nice tree flower - a magnolia maybe? Magnolia. Okay, so the diner he found out later was not a magnolia, it was the Camelia Grille, but that's okay. Magnolia Cafe it would be. He was committed to it being a place you could bring anyone, even your mom.
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