It’s been a wild ride for Chef Blythe Beck. After hosting her own cooking show and running the kitchen at the now-shuttered Central 214, Beck stepped away from the local restaurant scene for a few years to do some consulting work. Then, she returned to Dallas in a big way.
First, Beck did not one, but two, stints as the guest chef at “permanent pop-up” Kitchen LTO. Her time there spawned Pink Magnolia, the Bishop Arts southern comfort spot she opened with Kitchen LTO founder Casie Caldwell last year.
One year in, Beck shares the challenges, big wins, and surprises from Pink Magnolia’s first year.
1. What were the biggest challenges of being open in the first year? The biggest challenge of the first year were the "firsts". We didn't know what her first Christmas or first summer would be like - whether it would freeze or was 105 outside and hurt or help business. It was definitely challenging to see how everything was going to be for the first time. Now that it's over, we can celebrate our success and the people that make it a reality for us everyday.
2. Did working at Kitchen LTO and serving similar dishes help in opening this concept? Was it easier or harder than previous restaurants? Kitchen LTO helped with a lot of things. It helped with meeting and working with my partner, Casie Caldwell. It helped with funding and visibility for this baby, and I think it was a huge factor in the birth of Pink Magnolia.
3. What have been the most popular dishes so far?
Chicken fried Ribeye, chicken and Waffles and our deviled eggs are the most popular dishes by far. I think we have slathered, battered, and fried this year more than I ever have, and I am so freaking grateful for it.
4. Were there any dishes that you thought would really be amazing and take off but didn't?
As a Chef you always think every dish is a winner and everyone is going to love everything....alas, not always the case!
5. What's the most important lesson you learned over the past year?
The most important lesson I have learned...wow!!! I feel like I learn so much everyday. I guess the hardest for me is patience. EVERYTHING, takes time: opening, staffing, planning and more. The lesson I have learned is TRY to be patient and learn something everyday.
6. Now that you're settled, what is year 2 going to bring for Pink Magnolia?
First and foremost as we approach the beginning of year 2 we are going to celebrate the success. I want to cheers our staff, our investors, our amazing guests, and our kick ass neighborhood.
This dream is a dream that takes so many. I want to have this party to celebrate our blessings and be grateful in the moment. I feel so grateful for this baby and I want to celebrate her. And of course, the only way to do that is with a pink pony, food, booze, and a band!!!
7. Are there any plans to expand the concept? I will say this...we would love to expand the Pink Magnolia family. A new sister for her would be the best way to do that.
To celebrate Pink Magnolia’s birthday, Beck will host a party on Saturday, September 3. You’ll have to snag a ticket by calling the restaurant — they’re expecting hundreds of guests — but $35 gets you access to food & drinks, a photo with the chef, and you’ll get to hang out with a real life pink pony. Proceeds will benefit Genesis Women’s Shelter.