Swanky Southern Sustenance
Sep 25, 2015 02:22PM
● By Dia
In Oak Cliff, just outside the trendy Bishop Arts District, lies a new gem – or should we say flower – called Pink Magnolia, serving upscale comfort food with a sassy twist.
The month-old restaurant is a joint venture between two local ladies taking the Dallas food scene by storm – Chef Blythe Beck, an industry frontrunner and television sweetheart with fiery red hair and a spunky wit, and Casie Caldwell, an entrepreneur who started the successful rotating chef concept Kitchen LTO in Dallas. When Beck joined the Kitchen LTO team, Caldwell knew their collaboration couldn’t end with her rota- tion.
“We were knocking it out of the park at LTO, and I joked with her that I was never going to let her go,” Caldwell says.
So she didn’t. She knew Beck needed a restau- rant to call her own. Plus, with names like Paula Deen and Bobby Flay asking Beck where her res- taurant was, she too figured it was time to say, “What if?” It wasn’t long before Pink Magnolia was born, and the duo opened its doors in Sep- tember.
The restaurant has already developed a repu- tation among Dallas foodies – not only due to the big names working behind the scenes, but for its exceptional cuisine. As seen on her show The Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck, the chef infuses her “naughty philosophy” into every dish.
“I cook with lots of love,” Beck says. “And, it just so happens that love at Pink Magnolia tastes like bacon, butter and booze!”
While you’ll see plenty of the three B’s on the menu, you’ll find so much more. Starters include Lobster Jalapeño Hush Puppies with creole mus- tard aioli and Texas Lamb Chop Lollipops with chimichurri sauce and baby arugula.
For your entrée, choose from options like Chicken Fried Ribeye with naughty creamed corn and braised mustard greens and Brown Sugar “Mopped” Pork Porterhouse with apple sausage stuff- ing and sautéed green beans. Or, go for the Cayenne Garlic Shrimp & Grits for a classic dish with a kick.
If that doesn’t have your mouth watering, wait until your eyes catch the dessert section – the Chocolate Fudge Waffle with peanut butter ice cream, chocolate ganache and seared bananas foster is a chef favorite.
“I love making dishes that you recognize and that you remember – I just make them a little bit naughty. I never want people to have to use a dictionary to read my menu... I want people to feel comfortable and familiar,” Beck says.
To drink, choose from Pink Magnolia’s extensive wine list, or try one of their inventive cocktails. In keeping with the southern comfort vibe, cocktails are simple, yet elevat- ed, including lots of fruit. The “Blackberry on Rye” is made with Redemption Rye Whiskey, sweet red wine, lemon and muddled blackberries, plus ingredients like agave, house- made Angostura sugar cubes and even raspberry jam to stir in some sweetness.
While the food is nostalgic of home cooking – the restaurant even encourages guests to submit family recipes on its website, from which Beck will choose a few to “sassify” each Sunday – the atmosphere takes a step toward modern and trendy. With bright green seat cushions, light wood floors and large open windows, Pink Magnolia creates an upscale, chic dining experience while main- taining the comfort factor. It’s a balance perhaps achieved through the two ladies’ distinct talents.
“[Caldwell] is all about spreadsheets, lists and calendars, and I write recipes on beverage napkins, cardboard boxes and envelopes,” Beck says. Caldwell adds with a laugh, “I’m not the best cook. I’m the business side of the equation.”
However different their day-to-day responsibilities may be, they’re on the exact same wavelength when it comes to the way they treat customers, even foregoing calling guests “customers” for the more familial “company.”
“My first priority with my company is comfort,” Beck says. “Pink Magnolia is an extension of my home. I want them to come over often, I want them to come as they are, and I want to take care of them.”
It’s an attitude epitomized by the restaurant’s name; the magnolia flower is the symbol of southern strength and hospitality. But “pink” carries significance too. Even send- ing her e-mail responses to us at Southlake Style in fuchsia font, Beck says pink is more than a color – it’s a way of life that involves finding the silver lining in every situation.
“[Beck] is one of the most positive people I have ever met,” Caldwell says. “It’s simply how she lives her life and how she treats others. And, she makes me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed. Getting to work alongside her is the best part about going to work.”
She probably doesn’t complain about the exquisite food she’s surrounded by every day, either. Here at Southlake Style, we think the drive to Oak Cliff is worth it for just a taste. You may want to do an extra rep at the gym the next day, but splurging at Pink Magnolia feels like you’re enjoying life to the fullest. These two ladies surely are.