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Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen opens Friday in West Oakland with Asian comfort foods and affordable prices

Murals outside Magnolia Street
Wine Lounge and Kitchen
Photo: Instagram via @savortheworldtravel
By Matt Charnock - Published on October 29, 2020.

During a time of endless restaurant closures, East Bay Chef Leilani Baugh has managed to ascend the odds and will hold the grand opening of her new West Oakland restaurant, Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen, this Friday, featuring well-priced “Casian-Creole” cuisine.

Though al fresco dining and takeout orders (and reduced indoor dining capacities) have proven essential to buoy Bay Area eateries, hundreds of local restaurants have shuttered since the pandemic began — with that number growing by the day. However, despite the odds stacked against her, Baugh, the chef-owner of West Oakland’s newest Asian comfort food hub, is already making waves with her latest gastronomic venture.

“We want to give back [to the community],” says Baugh — who, before opening Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen, solely operated a catering business called Roux and Vine — to Berkeleyside, describing how she yearned to bring her “Cajun southern comfort food with an Asian spin” to the childhood neighborhood she grew up in. 

“There’s so many people here who are hungry,” she continues. “There’s so many people here who don’t have families to celebrate Thanksgiving with. What’s better than a nice little box of comfort food that you can have on Thanksgiving day?”

But Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen is doing more than just giving back to her community on altruistic holidays. Baugh has assured her varied wine selection is populated with vinos from “forty to fifty percent” BIPOC vintners; Bruthas Honey, a Black-owned bee farm in Solano County, is providing the liquid gold Baugh drizzles over her peach cobbler waffles and fried chicken. 

Though technically having opened back in August, the East Bay eatery has been operating more like a pop-up, rather than a fully rooted restaurant. That, however, will all change come Friday.

Baugh’s restaurant, too, is part of the East Bay Asian Development Corporation (EBALDC) to help revitalize the San Pablo Avenue Corridor, the area of West Oakland where Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen is located — just a few blocks from the California Hotel she would visit with her grandmother growing up.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You know what tomorrow is!! It is Fish Fry Friday. One of my favorite days of the week. Text your orders in 510-205-8540! Stop in for lunch! We will be open from 12-7. You know you have to have your Friday fix so come on down. Wait!!! There are wings to be had too? Awe honayyy yasss! You can pre order by texting 510-205-8540 or slide through and grab some bubbles and hang out! We will have outdoor seating until 7! The weather will be perfect!! Make your brunch reservations for this Sunday too!! #pullupbaby #oaklandchefs #oaklandrestaurants #townbizness #oaklandwinelounge #chefsofinstagram #blackwinelovers #blackrestaurants #blackgirlmagic #blackownedbusiness #fishfryfriday🐟 #supportlocalbusiness #blackchefsofinstagram #blasianchefsofinstagram #friedfish #yumpow #bestfoodinoakland

A post shared by Magnolia Street Wine lounge (@magnoliastwinelounge) on

Going all-in on the Creole-Asian — “Casian” — comfort food concept, Baugh has been holding “Fish Fry Fridays” and offering shrimp, oyster, and, of course, fish baskets (that come with healthy portions of french fries, potato salad, or cole slaw) to customers. For those who prefer fried chicken to fish filets, patrons can also find wing baskets — complete with hot honey — available on Fridays; prawns, crab, seafood macaroni and cheeses, and a selection of desserts are also on the pre-weekend menu. 

To boot, Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen’s menu selections are incredibly well priced, a welcomed nicety still uncommon in the Bay Area dining scene… even amid the pandemic. 

Sides of the aforementioned coleslaws, fries, and other dishes are $4, with most of the entrees (including the mountainous fish fry baskets) sitting between $15 and $20. “Wings and Wine Wendys” offer the option to “pick your [flavor of wing], pick your side and pick your wine” for just $18. The menu will change weekly, and prices are expected to remain approachable; Magnolia Street will also feature an all-encompassing, albeit much pricier, five-course chef’s table menu (that’s paired with wines and Champagnes), as well.

Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen also will soon host outdoor events — think DJs spinning, live-mic shows, beat poetry, etc. — on its patio. And, yes: heat lamps will be present to contend with the imminent dip in temperatures.

To place an order online, as well as see their current menu, visit rouxandvine.com/magnolia-street-wine-lounge for more information.

Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen is located at 3443 San Pablo Avenue (Oakland) and is expected to open with their full menu for both outdoor and indoor dining this Friday, October 30, from 11 a.m. to 11.pm.; regular hours afterward will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday and will open for some hours Wednesday and Thursday within the coming weeks; Fish Fry Friday offerings can be pre-ordered by calling 510-205-8540; Magnolia Street Wine Lounge and Kitchen is only able to seat 10 people inside at the moment to abide by Alameda County restrictions.

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