Local Treasures - Magnolia's

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to forgo the chain restaurants and explore some of the independently owned eateries that Rochester has to offer.  This quest led me to a cozy café on Park Ave called Magnolia’s which has been family owned and operated since 2003.  I was not disappointed!


After a few visits, I feel confident enough to declare that Magnolia’s is one of the best sandwich spots in Rochester.  They offer about 20 unique sandwiches or wraps – one of which is bound to delight.  Try the Vassar – grilled, marinated chicken breast, bacon, pepper jack cheese, creamy blue cheese, tomato and hot sauce on a grilled deli roll.  Or for a vegetarian alternative, try the Oxford – grilled, marinated portobella mushroom, roasted red pepper, pesto, provolone cheese on a grilled sub roll.  The prices are comparable to sandwiches at and the size and quality doesn’t compare.


If you’re like me this time of year and feeling like a warm bowl of soup, try Magnolia’s cream of tomato soup.  It’s unlike any other tomato soup I’ve had.  It’s a creamy blend of artichokes, cheese, and tomato and topped with parmesan croutons.  Not for the lactose intolerant but for everyone else, delicious!


One feature that sets Magnolia’s apart from many other cafes is its impressive beer and wine selection.  It’s not uncommon to see many couples enjoying a beer from a local microbrewery and a sandwich on a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Another offering which I have yet to try, is Magnolia’s handmade pizzas.  These specialty pizzas are only offered Monday through Friday from 3:30pm until close and Saturday and Sunday from noon until close and the menu specifically notes that they are only available until that day’s dough runs out.  Last time I visited Magnolia’s, the table next to us ordered the Margherita pizza (simply tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil), and I was jealous!  Next time!


My only complaint is that service can be a bit spotty.  The wait staff is extremely friendly but service probably will be slow.  I might not try Magnolia’s if you’re in a hurry.  But if you have time for a leisurely meal, the food is quite impressive.


Visit Magnolia’s Specials website to print out a 10% off coupon to use on your next visit.  I’m also told that University of Rochester students get 10% when they show their student id. 


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