UPDATED: Rumor control: Kitchen staff at Magnolia’s walked out en masse a week ago

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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magnolias_2013Magnolia’s Raw Bar & Grille – a downtown institution for decades – was closed on Saturday, an unusual move that has some wondering whether it’s closed for good.

UPDATED 9/30: A source tells me that the restaurant kitchen staff walked out en masse a week ago after owner Chris Peterson went off on employees. No word on what his issue was. More as I get it.

UPDATED 10/1: I continue to receive conflicting reports. Some say Peterson is looking for a new manager. Others say restaurant is closed.


The restaurant’s owner, Chris Peterson, announced earlier in September that the adjacent Cinjade’s – a nightclub Peterson ran for 29 years in downtown – was closing to make way for a new piano bar. Peterson told the Asheville Citizen-Times at the time that he planned to continue to operate Magnolia’s.

A call to the restaurant went unanswered – no phone answering machine. I’ll try to reach Peterson on Monday.

Magnolia’s, at 26 E. Walnut St., opened long before downtown Asheville became the bustling scene it is today. It’s been home to many good times – from dinner parties to a rocking Bele Chere stopover to a home for election night gatherings for local Republicans. More to come.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Linzy November 14, 2013

    The new piano bar is a dueling piano bar. Similar to Howl at the Moon or Pat O’Briens in New Orleans. Not a gay bar.

  2. Jen October 11, 2013

    is the new piano bar a gay bar?

    1. Jason Sandford October 11, 2013

      not that I’m aware of…

  3. Craig C October 2, 2013

    If you are a reporter, why do you not just show up at the door and ask what’s going on? Or make a phone call? It seems that Ashvegas is becoming a compiler of other-people’s-bits-of-uncertain-credibility blog. And as such it is becoming less valuable to me.

  4. luther blissett October 2, 2013

    a home for election night gatherings for local Republicans.

    And plenty of non-election night gatherings. And Fox News on the TV. Frankly, I was put off eating there by the fear of running into a pack of Tea Party loons having one of their little get-togethers.

    1. hauntedheadnc October 2, 2013

      that always made me nervous also, but magnolia’s was the only place in town with a decent, regular special on all-you-can-eat crab legs… at least that i know of. that’s why i went there.

    2. Tom Jefferson October 3, 2013

      Yes. Those who favor a small, fiscally responsible, Constitution based government, strong national defense, lower taxes, traditional family values, and who support the Second Amendment are inherently evil, and should be avoided at all cost, lest they eat your children.

      1. silence dogood January 28, 2015

        Very well said, Tom Jefferson. I heartily agree with you but you must remember that Asheville is the most liberal city in N.C., by far. So, we have to conclude that most citizens in this town would heartily disagree with your statement.

  5. Tara Reese September 30, 2013

    As the Public Relations Manager at Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar; I can personally assure everyone that Off the Wagon will be open by the end of October or the beginning of November 2013 as planned.

    In addition; Off the Wagon is in no way connected with the situation that resulted in Magnolia’s closing its doors. And, finally, Off the Wagon is not associated with Chris Peterson in any way. We wish all those who worked at Magnolia’s and Mr. Peterson the best in future endeavors.

    If there are further questions or concerns please contact me directly.

    Thank You,
    Tara Reese
    [email protected]

    1. Jason Sandford October 1, 2013

      Thank you, Tara.

  6. adam arthur September 30, 2013

    Work has ceased on the adjacent piano bar. There is a notice from the city posted to the door that states the owners failed to acquire the necessary permits which has resulted in the city pulling their ‘Permit to Occupy’ as well as the disconnection of their electricity service. At least, that was the case this past Thursday.

  7. Tim September 30, 2013

    They were closed as early as Friday evening/afternoon. And from what I’ve been told from multiple personal sources, I’ll be very interested to see how this story plays out/gets spun.


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