Food

Magnolia’s on King Will Open July 1 with Sweet Tea-Fried Chicken, Old Fashioneds

A genteel Southern spot prepares to debut in Old Town, Alexandria.
Magnolia’s on King Will Open July 1 with Sweet Tea-Fried Chicken, Old Fashioneds
Magnolia's on King plans to bring Southern hospitality and dining to Alexandria on July 1. Rendering courtesy of Studio Ideya.

Table linens and complimentary cookies aren’t common features in new restaurants these days, given the propensity for exposed everything and casual service. Then again, Steve Fogelman isn’t going for yet another industrial-chic concept when he opens Magnolia’s on King come July 1. The Old Town, Alexandria eatery is meant to evoke Southern hospitality throughout, housed in a nearly 200 year-old building on King Street.

“When I grew up, you didn’t go to a Southern home and not have supper,” says Fogelman, who spent summers traveling to his parents’s native Tennessee. “It was more than a meal—it was their way of showing love.”

Magnolia’s version of supper will be headed up by Annapolis-native chef Brian Rowe, who created a menu around the idea of “Southern immersion cuisine” (i.e. traditional dishes with a twist). Guests in the 30-seat dining room can pick between dishes like oyster po’ boy sliders, molasses pork belly with chipotle grits, and buttermilk-fried chicken that’s been brined in sweet tea. Pastry chef Hans Fogelman, formerly of BLT Steak, follows suit with riffs on classic desserts such as s’mores bread pudding. Brunch will begin opening week with options like beignets and crab cake Benedicts.

The dining room decor and bar space above is inspired by Charleston, South Carolina, outfitted with natural palm leaf ceiling fans, a pineapple chandelier, and a working fireplace. Zachary Faden, who was most recently behind the bar at Rogue 24, pours cocktails in the 30-seat second-floor lounge area, equipped with seats overlooking King Street and leather sofas. Like the food, drinkers can pick between classic Southern drinks and house creations, such as a rye-based Old Fashioned with pineapple syrup and a torched fruit garnish.

Mangolia’s will open for dinner and brunch the first week in July, with lunch to follow.

Magnolia’s on King. 703 King St., Alexandria; 703-838-9090. Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9:30; Friday and Saturday 5 to 10. Sunday brunch 10 to 3. Lounge hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10:30; Friday and Saturday 5 to 11.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.