The Magnolia Grill, which sits on historic Brooks Street in downtown Ft. Walton Beach, is equal parts museum and dining establishment. The walls of this 1910 catalog house are covered with pieces of local history including photos of people and places that now only exist in the memories of those who grew up or lived here “back in the day.” The owners Tom and Peggy Rice are near natives with deep family roots that show at every turn.
The Magnolia Grill epitomizes old-time Fort Walton. Climb the stairs on the front porch, step inside and immediately you’re immersed in local history.
Some of the photographs and plaques on the deep green and pale gold walls tell the Rice Family history; other faded, black and white photos by the late Arturo Mennillo tell the story of a 40’s-era Fort Walton, before the condos, before the outlet malls, and especially before the gaudy and often cavernous T-shirt and souvenir stores. The Emerald Coast has been peopled by colorful characters and the Magnolia Grill preserves their stories for all to see.