Defining Southern Cuisine for over 30 years.

In the summer of 1990, Magnolias ignited a culinary renaissance upon opening in Charleston, S.C., paving the way for a new generation of Lowcountry cooking in the city and across the entire South. A staple in Charleston for over 30 years, Magnolias remains a forerunner in upscale Southern cuisine, presenting traditional ingredients and cooking techniques elevated by modern flair and artful presentation.

Upscale Southern Cuisine

The Food

Led by Culinary Arts Director Donald Drake, our celebrated menu of Lowcountry fine dining fare features classics like Fried Green Tomatoes, Grilled Filet of Beef and Shellfish over Grits, along with modern interpretations of traditional local cuisine including Lowcountry Bouillabaisse and Parmesan Crusted Market Catch.

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Parmesan Crusted Flounder

The Restaurant

A 1739 map shows 185 East Bay Street to be the site of Charleston’s original Customs House. Over the next 150 years, the original Customs House building underwent various changes until being substantially damaged in the earthquake of 1887.

In December 1989, the present-day building was purchased by the Parsell Family and the project began to reinstate the site to a destination of importance and prestige as it was in the days of the old Custom House. In July 1990, 185 East Bay Street recaptured that former prominence opening as Magnolias Uptown Down South. The restaurant is open for lunch, Monday – Saturday, brunch on Sundays and dinner nightly.

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Magnolias Interior Restaurant
Don Drake

The Chef

Joining Magnolias as sous chef in 1991, Don Drake continues to be one of the forces keeping Magnolias at the top of the nation's list for exceptional Southern food. Prior to relocating to Charleston, Drake simultaneously attended the Culinary Institute of America and trained under Chef Barry Wine at the critically acclaimed, four-star Quilted Giraffe in New York City. Embarking on a culinary world tour after receiving his degree, Drake immersed himself in global cooking techniques, spending a majority of his time in London, Australia and Hawaii. Notably, Drake worked in Honolulu's celebrated Roy's mastering his culinary skills under famed Chef Roy Yamaguchi. Integrating his international culinary background into the distinctively Southern meals for which Magnolias is legendary, Drake prepares dishes with surprising worldly flavors that remain true to the history and culture of their Lowcountry beginnings.

Don Drake Headshot

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Private Dining

The Upper-Level Gallery offers two elegant dining rooms located directly above Magnolias restaurant. With a separate entrance on historic Lodge Alley leading to a spiral staircase and lounge area, these private rooms are the ideal venue for your next event. With its own kitchen, the Upper-Level Gallery is able to serve your group while maintaining Magnolias' high culinary standards. The Wine Room can accommodate groups of up to 24 and features a beautiful bay window overlooking Charleston's historic district. Alternatively, the Primrose Room comfortably seats up to 72 overlooking Lodge Alley and its neighboring courtyard.

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Magnolias Exterior Building
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