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The closure of Magnolias Restaurant at Market Creek Plaza means that, once again, there are only two sit-down restaurants in all of District 4.

A few months ago I wrote about a new restaurant, Annie Belle’s, that became a local sensation practically overnight when it opened in late January.

It became only the third restaurant of its kind in all of District 4. Magnolias and Sizzler were the other two, but Annie Belle’s, which serves breakfast and is family-owned, quickly became a favorite with the politician-activist-resident crowd.

It was and continues to be a source of pride in the community, where locally owned businesses are rare and community gathering places are too.

Annie Belle’s is still bustling, serving up its already famous chicken and waffles. Its owners told me that they had made some strategic decisions about where to open up shop, like choosing a location right off a freeway exit so customers from outside the community could find it with ease.

At the time, I’d already heard that Magnolias was in trouble, but its owner, Charles Johnson, wasn’t ready to talk about his plans. The fact that customers rarely came from outside District 4, he later told me, was one of the main reasons his business failed.

When I asked the owners of Annie Belle’s whether they’d heard about Magnolias’s potential closure when I was working on that story, they said they hadn’t, but wouldn’t be surprised if it did shut its doors.

“It’s tough for small businesses around here,” said Roni Moore, the restaurant’s manager.

It’s still unknown whether Magnolias will be replaced by another local business, or a national or regional chain.

— ADRIAN FLORIDO

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