I was using Yelp to locate a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina; I needed to eat and to be fed sufficiently. My local restaurant experiences the previous two days had all been very positive, so I was confident finding another spot wouldn’t be terribly difficult. The challenge was finding a place open on a Sunday evening. (Here in the South many establishments still honor Sunday as the Sabbath and as a day of rest.)
I found an open restaurant, called to ask if they could accommodate a vegan (YES!) and to see if they could seat me immediately (YES!) as I had no reservation. She asked for my name and a number where I could be reached and when should they expect me (within minutes). I spotted Magnolias as soon as the car was parked and anxiously went inside. My friend Lorraine had highly recommended them, so I was really looking forward to my experience.
The hostess had difficulty (meaning couldn’t locate at all) finding my name, even though I assured her I’d just called and spoken with Audrey and would it be a problem to get a seat? No problem at all, and a seat was found and given. Andrew introduced himself as the one responsible for taking care of all my dining needs for the evening. And we were off!
As I perused the menu, my telephone buzzed with a local number. Curious who might be calling me from Charleston I stated my name into the phone with a querying voice and was answered by none other than Audrey wondering when they should expect my arrival!
In a flash it all became clear: I never called Magnolias from my original Yelp search! I had called a different restaurant and reserved a seat with them! But my brain saw Magnolias and registered it as my obvious destination, never thinking twice about its name being different from the search results on Yelp. Embarrassed, I thanked Audrey and simply said my plans had changed and I would no longer be joining them.
Allowing myself to be back in the moment at Magnolias, I resumed my menu overview and peppered Andrew with questions about his recommendations. As soon as I mentioned vegan he simply took over, suggesting alternatives and assuring me the chef would be delighted to prepare something specifically for me.
I can’t say enough good about my experience, about Andrew, about the rest of the staff, about the chef, about the farm-to-food program they incorporate into their kitchen, about the unique menu items, about the beautiful presentation, about the quality of my meal. I mean – who else takes a picture with their waiter?! I was THAT happy :)
On Yelp I gave a five-star rating, the highest available. Magnolias was unequivocally the best culinary experience I had while visiting Charleston. Period.
From the moment I arrived until I hugged the head chef on my way out (yes, I walked through the kitchen to thank her), I was impressed.
The black eyed pea salad was exceptional, the boiled peanut hummus was unique and tasty, I have never been so sorry to see the last of the Brussels sprouts on my plate, and the peach sorbet was light and creamy.
My vegan meal was treated with just as much creativity, flavor and importance as the other patrons’.
This is a Charleston treasure I can’t wait to visit again.