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New Breakfast/Lunch Option in Burlington, VT - MAGNOLIA

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If you've grown tired of the impossibly frustrating line at Penny Cluse and are looking for a less stressful breakfast/lunch dining experience with FANTASTIC food - MAGNOLIA is the answer.

On December 2 we had breakfast at a new restaurant in Burlington (currently still in a soft-opening stage) that is going to be a mainstay for as long as the owners continue to provide one of the best breakfast options in downtown.

Opened in an often busniess dooming location at 1 Lawson Lane behind Flatbread Pizza (recent restaurants in this previously too dark space include Kahiki Moon Tiki Bar and Hectar's Mexican), the space has been magically lightened and transformed into a warm, simple dining experience.

The LIME BELGIAN WAFFLE WITH FRESH FRUIT is a real treat with great flavor and the EGGS BENEDICT WITH VEGETARIAN SAUSAGE delviers the best hollandaise sauce in Burlington..hands down.

We'd like to see some better joe served (perhaps VERMONT COFFE COMPANY - our favoriate) as our morning cup seemed falt and burnt (we suspect Green Mountain). Other than that, we were prefectly happy.

They only serve breakfast and lunch which clearly provides focus to get these meals right. I only hope the the two-chef team opens an additional restaurant in the future featuring dinner!

Thank you for opening MAGNOLIA - welcome aboard!

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  1. Sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out. Hopefully they can turn that unlucky space around

    1. I just ate at Magnolia yesterday and completely agree with adamwing's assessment - it's a winner. I had the eggs benedict with canadian bacon, and was surprised by the addition of spinach and tomatoes under the perfectly-poached eggs - a nice change. Very yummy, and the home fries that came with were nicely seasoned.

      A fruit plate was also delish - pineapple, berries, grapes all super fresh and sweet. Their homemade ketchup was great, and that can be hard to pull off (the Alchemist's for example, is horrible) but a homemade jam was a little on the heavy side and had too much molasses.

      The place wasn't busy on a Thursday lunchtime, but the owner explained that they haven't officially launched yet or done any publicity. When they do, after the holidays, this place is going to be packed, pronto.

      1. I concur with the positive reviews about Magnolia's. I have been there 5 times for breakfast, and except for inconsistently prepared homefries, all of the items I have ordered have been excellent.
        I recommend the lemon-ricotta pancakes and the salmon; the hollandaise sauce on the Eggs Benedict is perfect.
        My only disappointment has been the homefries--too soft and mushy.
        The place has been fairly empty on the weekdays so I'm hoping it continues to offer breakfast. On a recent Saturday morning it was quite full.

        1. Yet another positive review! :-))

          A friend and I decided to check this out yesterday before going to the movies. Thought we would have to wait in line, but they quickly got everyone to tables, no wait. We both ordered the Eggs Bene (no meat) and it was delicious! Had a hard time deciding what to order; although the lemon pancakes and lime waffles didn't interest me, they had a good selection of sandwiches and some yummy sounding soups. The coffee was the best I have had in a restaurant in a long time; they must have improved that. Really dark and potent! :-))

          Prices were inexpensive and I was pleased to see they had decent sounding vegetarian and vegan meals. Although I'm neither, it's always nice to have that option. Also, everything sounded so fresh, and local too.

          My friend and I have a theory that in downtown Burlington, you have to come out of the chute with good service and good food those first few months. A few bad reviews from people who tell their friends will do you in, hence Miguel's and the other restaurants that should do well on Church St., but end up closing. Magnolia's was a little gem, and if yesterday was any indication, I think it should stay around for a good long time! :-)

          1. Sorry, I have to disagree with all of the above. I tried Magnolia for the first time this morning, and it was the most frustrating dining experience I've ever had -- as as a food service industry veteran (waitress / hostess / bartender in 5-star venues) -- I give new restaurants a lot of leeway.

            While I enjoy PennyCluse and Sneaker's, the waits there have become prohibitive. I had very positive recommendations for Magnolia, and was excited to give it a try. After a 50 minute wait for a party of four, (we were told it would be "no more than 20 minutes"), we finally were seated in a beautiful, light-filled spot surrounded by lovely artwork. However, our table had a wobbly tabletop -- not wobbly legs, but an uneven top. We shrugged it off and laughingly apologized to each other when we bumped it -- inconvenient, but no big deal. Our waiter then introduced himself to us, but seemed angry -- almost hostile. My other three breakfast companions has worked in the indusrty (waitress, sous chef,and cafe manager), and we assumed he was in the weeds and frustrated. No problem... we've all been there. We placed our orders and I inquired about the omlette -- the menu didn't describe it as coming with cheese, but I assumed it did. The waiter reassured me hat it did. He then left and we didn't see him for OVER AN HOUR. (Somebody else had brought our coffee and very kindly kept refilling our mugs and water glasses.) Not only did we not see our waiter at our table, but we didn't see him at all -- not serving other tables, not whizzing by.... Given that it was the day after Mardi Gras, we tried to be understanding -- perhaps Magnolia was short-staffed, perhaps our waiter had a hangover and was operating at half-speed -- we all had been there in our own experiences. We finally explained to the coffee server that we had been waiting for over an hour and hoped to get an update on our status. A couple overhearing us said they had also been waiting an hour, and a nearby five-top piped in to say they had been waiting an hour and 1/2. We were all deciding whether we should leave en masse when our waiter appeared and apologized, saying that the kitchen was just beginning on our order. He then disappeared again, and we all began saying that if we were in his position, we'd bring out a bowl of sliced fruit or complementary juice, etc. Nope... 20 minutes later our food finally appeared. I bit into my omlette and realized that the vegetables weren't cooked, they were mildly warm, but still quite raw. I then realized that my omlette did not, in fact, have any cheese -- even though I had specifically inquired about this. I caught the waiter after he served another table and very nicely asked him to send the order back for repairs. It came back looking and tasting -- I can only surmise -- as if a pile of cheese had been dumped on top then the whole thing had been put in the microwave. The veggies were overcooked rubbery at this point, and the lump of cheese was oily and inedible. However, my companions all seemed to be enjoying their meals. I no longer had any appetite, so I just gave up. When the waiter returned to clear our plates, he inquired about the meal (there was no mid-meal walk-by from him), and I said the omlette was practically inedible and very disappointing.

            Given the atrocious wait and my disappointing meal, I expected some items to be comped -- certianly the omlette, and at least the coffee. Nope, nothing. My friends still wanted to tip 20%, just out of industry loyalty -- whereas I thought 10% would have been far more appropriate. (I do always tip, and usually quite generously, but I will tip accordingly when I'm frustrated by the service.) So, we left a 20% tip, and I left feeling dispirited and sullen. Needless to say, I will not return to Magnolia any time in the forseeable future.

            1. WOW clss, Magnolia sticks out for you.

              I was much more fortunate! I enjoyed the banana bread french toast very much and my companion enjoyed her mexican omlete although lacking a bit in flavor. The coffee was good enough that we inquired about it......Blue Star, yum! It had a nutty finish that kept me drinking until the jitters set in and the table next to us made similar comments. The renovations were hands down the best in many moons.....light, bright and warm. Hats off to the owners! I will be back and hope you will be there for my many VT visits to come! Good luck getting over the opening bumps....my guess is that is all they are!

              1. My husband and I checked out Magnolia for breakfast yesterday... it was wonderful! The staff was friendly and the food was fresh and delicious (we had the eggs benedict and lime waffle, as described above.) The tables were spaced out enough so you felt you had plenty of privacy, eventhough it was quite busy. We had to wait a while for our food, but we didn't mind. Most quality restaurants take a while, and it was worth the wait... we just drank our coffee, talked and soaked in the atmosphere.

                We're looking forward to checking it out for lunch. Another thumbs up review for Magnolia!

                1. Sounds like an interesting spot (although we rarely make it our for breakfast with 5 children). Like any restaurant, there are going to be bad days (I've seen my share from both sides of the kitchen). However, it appears that Magnolia is capable of reaching a point of execution that some places never seem to make happen. I would advise that
                  clss contact the Magnolia's owners. I think they would apreciate the information.