All of us keep looking up at the phantom beer board when trying to order...that one's gonna take some getting used to. Never fear, as our friend Oliver DiCicco is constructing the new one as we speak, to fly proudly over the center booths. For now, we're busy admiring his light fixtures. The Mirror Guys (John and Doug) have a few tricks up their sleeves still to come, and yes, the hooks under the bar will be back tomorrow (thanks, Mike), hopefully before we make the no-hooks-bar hall of shame (there is one).
Speaking of Mike Olinger, how many contractors get to say they built the same bar/pub/restaurant twice? I'd like to say it was a pleasure seeing all of these folks plying their craft in some sort of harmonious symphony, except that's not at all how it went down. We were all in each others way, we tried to do way too much in 9 days (it turned into 10, but could have easily been 20), and it was a chaotic, hair-raising adventure putting everything back together last Thursday. Nonetheless, I'll be eternally grateful for the long hours and dedication last week of Kevin, Devin, Mike, Ray, Lisa, Chris, Oliver, Howie, Jeff, Eduardo, Arturro, Greg, Cornelius, Martin and family, Neil, Ben, Dean, and a handful of others who got it done.
Meanwhile, Brandon, Justin, Ron and their crew in the kitchen braved the construction chaos and managed to put together the best Magnolia menu yet. This is what we were talking about: carefully sourced, seasonal, sustainable, and delicious. It's the real deal after many a long year working toward this kind of food vision. I now feel about the food like I always have about the beer and, like the beer, I can't wait to get to know this menu better.
Lastly, Dean and Neil rallied the front of house troops and seized the opportune downtime to spend several days training and working out better systems to help you all have a better time here. From the retooled wait list system (sign up on the chalkboard by the door) to new table assignments and other service improvements, they were pretty much ready to rock at 4:59 last Thursday afternoon. Turns out it's pretty hard to work on that stuff when you're open 363 days a year for ten years straight. This was time well spent.
I know some of you are sad and miss some or all of the "old" Magnolia. I understand and I miss it, too. Right now, it's all a little strange, honestly, after ten years. And I've had over a year of planning to sit with these changes in my head before I made them. It comes as a surprise to some of you. Change is hard, but believe me when I say this change will yield amazing results for your little neighborhood brewpub. It feels a little like it did ten years ago...a little too new...not lived in enough. But that's just on the surface. The soul of Magnolia lives on, same as ever, and with your help we'll have it feeling alive and vibrant again within months. As always, it's a work in progress.
And if you're not quite sure, if your first impression didn't take, I humbly invite you to come back, relax, have a beer, and put down some new roots. This place is the sum of all of our energy. We couldn't do it without you. And if you're still not happy, and you need to vent, lay it on me. I'm not going to argue with you. It IS dramatic. But I really will try to get you to join me on the next chapter of this nutty adventure, even if I have to use beer to do it. Cheers!