2932 Cherry Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Picture yourself ordering a red velvet waffle with your favorite breakfast sides to begin your Sunday morning brunch . Or maybe shrimp and grits is your go-to choice for a hearty, southern meal. Whichever way, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for to satisfy your craving at Magnolia’s Contemporary Southern Bistro in Kansas City, Mo.
The restaurant started as a catering company five years ago with Shanita McAfee, and other personal chefs working private parties and a variety of other events. But Shanita, Magnolia’s owner and chef, decided she wanted to take her business in a new, greater direction. “I was wanting to try something new, take it to the next level,” Shanita says. “I decided that I wanted to buy a small café type restaurant.”
Before Shanita became a restaurant owner or even a caterer, she was a young girl who took interest in the culinary world. She says she developed a passion for food and cooking when she was 14 years old. The future chef watched her mother and grandmother cook and she learned some techniques from watching various cooking shows. Shanita combined what she had learned from TV and the skills she had acquired from her family and began cooking for her loved ones. She was in eight grade when she learned she could turn her passion for cooking into a career. After that, Shanita was committed to making her dream come true.
Magnolia’s officially opened in April 2012. Adopting the “M” from her last name, Shanita wanted a name that would match the feel that a southern bistro should have. The name Magnolia came about, perfectly encompassing the atmosphere that the dishes create with their elegant presentation. “I’ve gone to culinary school so we try to incorporate the education I had in school with everything I grew up eating and loving,” says Shanita speaking of Magnolia’s cuisine and ambience. “We just kind of make it more fancy.”
Shanita, who spent time working in the south in addition to studying the cuisine there, enjoys having customers from the south that love her renditions of traditional southern dishes. “We try to pay attention to the detail and to show that everything is flavorful and well seasoned,” says Shanita.
Shanita says she is still thinking of different avenues that Magnolia’s could take in the future. “Are we going to expand into a full service dinner club restaurant? Are we going to just go back to catering?” she ponders. “At this point I think that the options are limitless.”