Magnolia Downtown

Eclectic | Health Food | Vegetarian
Worth a detour


Magnolia Downtown wants you to eat virtuously. To that end, its provender is mostly organic. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options abound. Instead of potato chips to go with a sandwich, you get flax chips. For dessert, chocolate cake actually is chocolate zucchini cake.

As a breather from the barbecue, fried fish, grits, and gravy that are the more typical gout de terroir hereabouts, this happy downtown cafe belongs in every eater’s cache of options. From Chef Tommy Detwiler’s earnest kitchen come bright and beautiful salads, including one topped with cedar-plank-grilled salmon and another made with Carolina shrimp (sustainable ones, according to the menu) and diced mango. Some time is needed for panini because they are made from scratch, one by one, but if you are hankering for healthy, the wait is worth it for the meatless one known as Pamela’s panino: avocado, tomato, red onion, Kalamata olives, Swiss cheese, and fresh basil. I am not a wrap guy, but there is no denying the good flavor of mango shrimp, avocado, cucumber, aioli, lettuce, and tomato that come tightly enclosed in a tube that is spinach green.

A surprise winner on the menu is the Magnolia burger. It is made of grass-fed beef, which has a more complex flavor than corn-fed, but isn’t quite as juicy. It comes with buttermilk blue cheese dressing, aioli, arugula, and tomato on a toasted brioche bun. Another high-protein champ is Magnolia’s tuna salad, which is well-dressed (no mayo overload) and includes the welcome crunch of toasted pecans. As for dessert, that chocolate zucchini cake is moist, rich, and deeply chocolaty. It’s delicious alone; even better with a scoop of ice cream.

Note: in September, 2016, what used to be known as Magnolia Natural Market and Cafe changed its name to Magnolia Downtown and moved to a storefront on Lauren Street, which is Aiken’s main drag and something of a restaurant row. The folksy charm of the old place, located in a vintage cottage, has morphed into a more stylish mien in the downtown venue; a full bar has been added; and dinner hours have been extended. The menu maintains its exemplary selection of right-minded fare, prepared with skill and concern and served with great hospitality by a cadre of true believers.

What to Eat
Magnolia Downtown, Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Here you can see filaments of zucchini in the chocolate zucchini cake.
Magnolia Downtown, Fried Pickles
Fried Pickles
Firm-fleshed house-made pickle chips in a Dijon-laced cornmeal coat
Magnolia Downtown, Ghost Pineapple Burger
Ghost Pineapple Burger
Topped with ghost-pepperjack cheese, the Ghost Burger is tongue-tingling hot.
Magnolia Downtown, Goddess Wrap
Goddess Wrap
The Goddess Wrap = quinoa, avocado, apple, feta, lettuce & dressing The Goddess Wrap holds herbed quinoa, avocado, apple, cucumbers, feta cheese, romaine lettuce & Goddess dressing.
Magnolia Downtown, Mango Shrimp Wrap
Mango Shrimp Wrap
Mango shrimp wrap
Magnolia Downtown, Adzuki Bean Coconut Lime Burrito w/Chicken
Adzuki Bean Coconut Lime Burrito w/Chicken
Outstanding burrito: adzuki beans simmered in coconut milk accompanied by sticky-ginger jasmine rice, spinach and Swiss.
Magnolia Downtown, Reuben
Well-balanced Reuben includes corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss and '3000 Island' dressing.
Magnolia Downtown, Flax Chips
Flax Chips
Gluten-free flax chips accompany sandwiches.
Magnolia Downtown, Mango Ice Tea
Mango Ice Tea
Magnolia's unsweet mango tea is hard to beat.
Magnolia Downtown, Mediterranean Salad Plate
Mediterranean Salad Plate
Mediterranean salad includes quinoa tabouli and great house-made hummus (at 11 o'clock).
Magnolia Downtown, Uptown Tuna Panini
Uptown Tuna Panini
Uptown Tuna Panino is made with a salad of yellowfin tuna, capers, pecans & dill.
Magnolia Downtown, Magnolia Burger
Magnolia Burger
Grass-fed beefburger on a buttery brioche bun
Magnolia Downtown, Mango Shrimp Salad
Mango Shrimp Salad
Mango shrimp salad is cool and refreshing.
Magnolia Downtown, Mushroom Tacos
Mushroom Tacos
Tacos include mushrooms, avocado, arugula, aioli, and pico de gallo.
Magnolia Downtown, Pamela’s Panino
Pamela’s Panino
Pamela's Panino is a vegetarian sandwich of avocado, tomato, red onion, kalamata olives, basil, and Swiss cheese.
Magnolia Downtown, Raspberry Ginger Lemonade
Raspberry Ginger Lemonade
Al fresco thirst-quencher: raspberry-ginger lemonade
Magnolia Downtown, Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp Tacos
Three-to-an-order shrimp tacos include pico de gallo, aioli, and arugula.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Monday9am - 5pm
Tuesday9am - 5pm
Wednesday9am - 5pm
Thursday9am - 5pm
Friday9am - 5pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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