Resiliency of ALX: Magnolia's On King

Resiliency of ALX: Magnolia's On King

By Chef Leonard Holton, Co-Owner

In February of 2020, I had a team of 17 employees and we experienced our best month to date. In March of 2020, when the pandemic closures began, I went from 17 employees to two. Like other restaurants and businesses, the pandemic has been a real challenge for Magnolia’s On King.

As a restaurant owner, my main goal is to be able to serve the community and provide jobs, while keeping the business running for as long as possible. The pandemic created new obstacles I wasn’t prepared for. Due to limited staffing, in April, we temporarily suspended in house dining and only offered curbside pick up and delivery via UberEats & GrubHub. I worked many months as the only person in the restaurant cooking and fulfilling orders. Through many Facebook groups and loyal regulars, we were able to get by and I was able to slowly add employees back to the schedule.

'Now that the world is opening back up, we are so excited to see more familiar faces, to be back open serving the community.'

In January of 2021, after adhering to all CDC recommendations, four of my employees (including myself) tested positive for COVID-19. We closed for a month to ensure we wouldn’t continue spreading the virus. We opened back up after all my employees were healthy and weren’t experiencing any symptoms.

Since reopening, I now have six employees helping out and we are slowly returning back to normal. Our regulars that have supported us throughout this crazy year, I thank you tremendously. We wouldn’t be here without our loyal guests.

Now my staff is vaccinated and we are ready to welcome everyone back to Magnolia’s On King. We will still provide contactless menus, ordering and payment. Beginning this summer, we are offering a new summer tasting menu. It’s five courses Chef’s choice with optional wine parings. The menu is created by me with influences from around the world. It’ll be available Tuesday - Friday evenings. Also, we are now offering grab-n-go items available Tuesday - Friday from 11-6. Burgers, sandwiches, small plates and salads.

Now that the world is opening back up, we are so excited to see more familiar faces and to be back open serving the community. We hope to continue to be able to provide quality southern comfort cuisine for many more years to come.

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VIP Alexandria Magazine is proud to present The Resiliency Issue. Featuring small business COVID-19 success stories, as told by the owners who lived in it, learned to pivot + survived.

You can read all of our Resiliency Stories in our digital issue HERE.

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