A new Southern-style restaurant and craft cocktail bar is opening in a high-profile Near Southside space with one of the best patios in town.
Called Maggie's R&R, it's named after the historic street on which it is located, at 1264 W. Magnolia Ave., in the indoor/outdoor space previously occupied by Southside Rambler and La Zona. It's set to open on October 21.
Maggie's comes from good stock: Owners Dave Garner and Christopher Gainey are longtime friends who have been in the restaurant industry for decades. Garner owns the Wildwood Grill restaurants in Southlake and Garland; Gainey was most recently VP of Operations for BoomerJacks Grill & Bar.
The two met 15 years ago when they both worked for the Brinker Restaurant Group.
"We had been wanting to do something together for years," Garner says. "We heard about this space and jumped on it."
Maggie's menu will consist of Southern-style staples with a chef-driven touch. The kitchen will be led by executive chef Carlos Vargas, who will also serve as the general manager. Dishes include:
- shrimp & grits
- fried chicken BLT
- bourbon-glazed salmon
- gourmet burgers
- superfood salad
Beverages will include craft cocktails and a vast selection of craft beers, many from Texas.
The property is known for its large patio, which overlooks Magnolia Avenue. "We’ll make sure there’s enough space for everyone to socially distance," Garner says.
They'll also have masks and safety protocols in place. "We want to create an environment that's safe for all of our patrons," he says.
The property also consists of two standalone buildings that sandwich the patio. The main building will house the kitchen and a small seating area; a smaller building will be used for a separate bar.
They plan to add a stage to host live music Thursday-Saturday, but not too loud, Garner says.
"We're in a neighborhood and we need to be mindful of that,” he says. "Shows will be in the early evening, too, and consist of maybe one or two performers – nothing loud, nothing heavy."
Maggie's R&R has no affiliation with the building’s previous tenants, Kevin and Julia Cary von Ehrenfried, the husband-wife duo who ran the Southside Rambler and still run the Tipsy Oak restaurant in Arlington.
"We're not the same people, we don't even know them," Garner says. "We know some things happened here with the previous parties. But that's not us."
Over the summer, the Southside Rambler was embroiled in controversy related to the owners' handling of COVID-19. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a manager was terminated on July 20 after she had repeatedly asked the owners to put safety measures into place to help protect customers and staff from COVID. In addition, an employee claimed another employee had made sexually explicit and inappropriate remarks in front of several people.
After the manager's termination, most of the staff quit, and many former employees protested outside of the restaurant. The restaurant closed July 21.
Prior to Southside Rambler, it was La Zona, a three-in-one concept that included a restaurant, bar, and churro stand. Owned by the same team that ran shortly lived Americado on the south side, La Zona opened in early 2018 and closed late 2019.
The property dates to 1924. Over the years, the spaces have been used as a barber shop and car dealership, among other businesses.
It seems that one of Fort Worth's top patios finally has someone at the helm who can do it justice.
"Our desires and goals are to bring the hospitality and craft that we've honed for decades to Magnolia," Garner says. "We're committed to serving everyone in the community and we’re thrilled to be a part of the community."