Full of history

Owner Gene McCutchen is happy to share the stories of her historic restaurant with guests.

If you are hungry for a hearty meal and love a good story or two, you will find everything you need at McCutchen’s Magnolia House on East Willow Street in Scottsboro.

Located in a historic home just off the square, the Magnolia House is open seven days per week from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., and offers a full menu of delicious lunch items like a large hot food bar, custom sandwiches, salads, and some of the best fried green tomatoes in town.

Bring your appetite and leave the diet at home when you visit, because the plates are piled high and the yeast rolls come with house-made strawberry or honey butter that is perfect for dipping.

Each morning, Jan Brown and the staff at the Magnolia House arrive early and get to work peeling fresh potatoes, hand-breading vegetables and cooking enough food to satisfy their daily regimen of around 100 customers.

The hot bar is the day’s main feature and comes with a choice of meat, two sides, roll or cornbread and a cool glass of iced tea for just $6.95.

The menu changes each day throughout the week and favorites like homemade chicken casserole, meatloaf, and juicy, chargrilled hamburger steaks have helped build a regular clientele of satisfied customers.

The house itself is a big part of the allure at the restaurant.

The gorgeous exterior is baby blue, decked with gingerbread trim and has a welcoming front porch in a picture-perfect setting.

Surrounded by huge Magnolia trees, hence the name, it was built in 1890 by J.D. Snodgrass, grandfather of current owner, Gene McCutchen, who grew up in the house and opened the restaurant years ago with her late brother, Bill.

“My grandfather built the house for my grandmother,” she says. “They wanted it to be close enough to walk to town and still be able to have a barn, an orchard and a garden.”

The house was built in the Victorian style with six porches, ten rooms and two large hallways.

All around the restaurant are charming black and white photos of McCutchen’s family, including a large color portrait of her grandmother, Hattie Mae Brown Snodgrass, in the front parlor, now a formal dining area.

On the mantel in another dining room is even a photo of Gene McCutchen with her father, taken on the steps of the house when she was a small child.

“I didn’t even know that picture existed for the longest time,” she said fondly. “My dad had come home for lunch that day and my uncle took it. I never saw it for several years.”

Her uncle, Prentiss Snodgrass, remodeled the home after her grandmother’s death, changing the look from Victorian to Southern Colonial.

All around the home are original doorknobs, wood floors, fireplaces and fixtures, making a visit to McCutchen’s Magnolia House Restaurant, a real treat for the eye and the palate.

The restaurant offers catering, to-go orders and even private bookings for parties, brunches or get-togethers.

On Sundays, McCutchen herself runs the register and visits with guests, sharing stories of the beautiful house she grew up in and of the heritage she is so proud of.

“I miss my brother,” she said. “Sometimes, I see the rocking chair on the porch where he used to sit and I wonder if his spirit is still here. He loved this house so much, and we were always happy to share it with our guests.”

For more information about McCutchen’s Magnolia House Restaurant, call: 256-259-3077, or just drop in for a visit and a delicious meal.

While you are at it, do yourself a favor and have a big hunk of Jan Brown’s Upside-Down German Chocolate Cake.

It is so good, you will want her to be your new best friend.

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