Of all the Near Southside’s attractions, Magnolia Avenue’s eclectic selection of locally-owned restaurants ranks at the top for many visitors. And the selection grows more diverse every year as the street’s reputation and appeal attracts new restauranteurs.
Funky sophistication and delicious food dominate Magnolia Avenue between 8th Avenue and South Main Street. You won’t find a better collection of talented chefs than those at Lili’s Bistro, Shinjuku Station, Nonna Tata, Ellerbe Fine Foods, Cat City Grill, and Magnolia Cheese Co. It’s true. The best vegetarian restaurant in the country is in Cowtown – the Near Southside’s very own Spiral Diner. The nearby Yucatan Taco Stand attracts huge crowds with signature margaritas and Latin American favorites. The hub of restaurants at Modern Drug Village boasts great food, drinks, and music!
Stop by The Live Oak Lounge, Brewed, and Cane Rosso – the neighborhood’s most-coveted pizza – for food made with great care and creativity. Magnolia’s western end offers great Japanese options from Temaki Sushi and Egyptian specials from King Tut. Comfort food is always easy to find, with Italian favorites at Mamma Mia, pizza and craft beer at Zio Carlo, burgers at Shaw’s Patio & Grill, or home cooking at the Paris Coffee Shop. For authentic Mexican, Magnolia’s legendary Benito’s sets the standard and Tina’s Cocina has taken the neighborhood by storm after opening in 2013. The Bearded Lady has one of the best patios in town and serves over-the-top lunch and dinner favorites. Avoca Coffee is the perfect spot to start the day or have an after-dinner espresso.
West Magnolia Avenue has clearly become a magnet for new restaurants, pubs, and other destinations that attract nearby residents as well as visitors from throughout the region. Just like we’ve seen every year for almost a decade, 2014 will bring great new attractions to Magnolia Avenue. The street’s restaurant row may have seemed like it had all tastes and ethnicities covered, but Thai and tapas were missing, and that changes this year with the arrival of Spice and 24 Plates in the historic buildings at Magnolia Avenue and May Street. The two restaurants will join their neighboring bar, Proper, in offering some of the best patio space in town. Other distinctive new spaces in older buildings will also be unveiled further west on Magnolia Avenue with two new wine bars. Kent & Co. Wines will fully transform the former Abel Office Machine building at Magnolia Avenue and Adams Street into a cool wine bar with a new outdoor room added along Adams Street. The highly regarded Grand Cru relocated from the South Hulen area to join the Magnolia Avenue scene and is next to Magnolia Cheese Co. and the Northern Realty office.
Two new retail/restaurant locations should see new construction later this year. Midtown, at Forest Park Boulevard and Rosedale Street, has one remaining parcel fronting Rosedale Street proposed for restaurant development in Midtown, alongside Torchy’s Tacos. Further east on 8th Avenue, just north of Rosedale Street, Trey Neville is working on a new two-story building that should include a restaurant on the ground floor with second-floor office space above.