All good things…

All I could say was “what?” when the news circulated this morning that Magnolia Grill in Durham will be closing on May 31. Chef-owners Ben and Karen Barker said today that after more than 30 years of bringing inventive Southern food to the Triangle, it was time to step back and spend more time with family. You can read more here.

Quitting to spend more time with family is usually the sort of suspect thing a senator says when he gets caught with the babysitter. But for these two, it’s the truth. And they deserve a new turn in their lives, no matter how much it saddens those of us who have enjoyed their meals.

Magnolia Grill was eat-local long before it was cool. Ben started having farmers grow for him when people thought that was the strangest thing ever. Through all the changes in the Triangle dining scene, Magnolia Grill has stayed true to itself, along with seeding restaurants all over with graduates of its kitchen. It’s the only restaurant where I know walking in the door that I will have dessert, because anything Karen has produced will be good.

I can’t imagine that Ben and Karen will disappear completely into time with grandchildren and aging parents, so I look forward to the other ways in which they’ll be a part of the community. For now, I’ll miss you. And all that pork, and Coca-Cola Cake with Peanut Ice Cream.


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One Response to “All good things…”


  • Comment from Mary

    I think this is a good way to do it. They have done so much for the community’s food. Even if you haven’t eaten there, you have certainly eaten food made by someone who worked there and went on to start their own place. They deserve to take some time to enjoy life.


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