Take a Look Inside Alexandria’s New Southern Charmer: Magnolia’s On King

Oyster po' boy sliders, fried chicken, and a genteel cocktail spot for Old Town.
Take a Look Inside Alexandria’s New Southern Charmer: Magnolia’s On King
Magnolia's on King brings touches of southern charm to Old Town, Alexandria. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

Alexandria gets a genteel new dining spot on Wednesday when Magnolia’s on King makes its grand debut. The Southern restaurant takes over a nearly 200 year-old building on King Street, spread out over two floors. A 30-seat dining room occupies the first, while drinkers can head up to the lounge above for sipping Old Fashioneds by a working fireplace.

Diners can order fried chicken or shrimp and grits in the airy 30-seat dining room.

Chef Brian Rowe, an alum of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group, is behind the kitchen’s “Southern immersion cuisine.” The term sounds a little more complicated than it is—essentially riffs on classic dishes, such as oyster po’ boy sliders, sweet tea-brined fried chicken with quinoa hushpuppies, and bison meatloaf (check out the menu). Pastry chef Hans Fogelman, formerly of BLT Steak, follows suit with sweets such as bananas foster bread pudding.

Chef Brian Rowe’s “Southern immersion cuisine” riffs on classic dishes, such as spiced shrimp with grits or quinoa hushpuppies.

The draw for drinkers can be found in the second-floor lounge, run by former Rogue 24 barman Zachary Faden. Guests can relax in deep leather chairs in front of a working fireplace and sip cocktails from 1920’s-era crystal stemware, or grab a lounge table overlooking King Street’s foot traffic. Like the food, many of the drinks play on traditional recipes, such as the house concoction: an Old Fashioned made with pineapple syrup and garnished with charred wedges of the fruit. The kitchen serves a small menu of bar snacks, such as “pig fries,” crispy pork belly with pimento cheese.

Head upstairs to the bar for the house drink: a pineapple-spiked Old Fashioned.

Magnolia’s on King will initially open for dinner. Sunday brunch will follow in August.

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. Closed Sunday and Monday.

The restaurant debuts with dinner and drinks, with Sunday brunch to follow.

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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.