Jesse’s Restaurant still the center of Magnolia Springs

By Allison Marlow
Posted 9/17/17

As the story goes, Jesse’s Restaurant is haunted.

Some locals in Magnolia Springs say the 96-year-old building is still home to Jesse King who ran the counter when the building was known as the …

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Jesse’s Restaurant still the center of Magnolia Springs

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As the story goes, Jesse’s Restaurant is haunted.

Some locals in Magnolia Springs say the 96-year-old building is still home to Jesse King who ran the counter when the building was known as the Moore Brothers General Store early in the 1900s. King, locals say, never missed a day of work in 60 years.

Unfortunately for ghost hunters, Jesse seems to be spending his afterlife relaxing someplace else. There are no bumps in the night. No mysteriously dropped plates. No noises in the back.

The building, however, remains a local favorite haunt in the sweet, Southern, oak tree draped town.

The Moore Brothers General Store used to be a lifeline and center of activity for local families who came there for everything from groceries to cigarettes. Families ran tabs there and counted on Jesse to keep their homes in stock. A post office was added later.

In 1998 the building became Jesse’s Restaurant, named in honor of the King. Five years ago, Angie and Steve Coltharp purchased the restaurant after falling in love with Magnolia Springs on a visit with Steve’s parents who recently retired to the area.

The pair were living in Denver and working in the restaurant business but with conflicting schedules – he on days, she on nights. After their visit to the South they knew this was where they wanted to build their own restaurant business.

“After two years of looking at area restaurants, Jesse’s popped up. It had the right feel and the timing was good,” Steve Coltharp said.

Jesse’s Restaurant was already a neighborhood staple. The Coltharps aimed to keep that small-town feel and upgraded the menu to include the freshest food and as many local ingredients as possible.

As a result the restaurant has earned a reputation for having the best steaks in the county.

Dry-aged cuts are Jesse’s specialty. Steve Coltharp said most steaks in the grocery are vacuum-sealed and not aged at all. Dry-aged steaks are stored at different humidity levels for 28 – 40 days so that the water evaporates out of them. Without water, the steaks have an intense beef flavor.

The restaurant’s fish menu changes daily as well depending on what local fishermen pull out of the water that day. Usually they bring in whole fish or whole fish sides which the chef cleans and prepares on site. Each fish is prepared with its own side and sauce for the day.

Steve Coltharp said career servers who take pride in their job as a career rather than part-time gig also play a huge part in the restaurant’s success.

“A lot of our servers are career servers. This is what do for a living, it’s not just something to get by until the next service job opens. They’ve learned to love the guests,” he said. “We work as a team and that sets them apart from a lot of other places.

“The customers see a difference, they can tell the staff really cares,” he said.