There's a touch of Italy, some southern charm and some tasty food and treats awaiting you at The Magnolia in downtown Toledo. Deb Wacha, longtime owner-operator of Wacha Photo, has converted her studio at 103 West High into an establishment with baked goods, luncheon menu and evening offerings. At night, the service will be by reservation except on Fridays.
Josh Grimes, well-known local pianist will be playing then with no reservation needed.
And Deb is not giving up her photography business. She will still be shooting on-location.
Guests at the Magnolia are greeted by this pastry case as they enter. Owner Deb Wacha converted her studio portrait sitting area to a kitchen for the new business.
Featured at The Magnolia will be fresh-baked pastry with kolaches and cheesecake among the specialties. Other baked items accompanied by coffee or soft drinks including cinnamon rolls will be a part of the menu on rotation Deb said.
Luncheon items will include paninis with a menu still in the development stage. By reservation in the evening, home-style meals will be prepared. Deb said she plans to feature some Italian cooking.
Remodeling the studio into its new purpose was a task Deb accomplished much by herself. "Deb doesn't give herself enough credit," said Angie Knowles, one of her friends who is assisting her getting the new venture underway.
"I wanted it to be upscale but still casual,"Deb said of her design.
The name "The Magnolia" comes from Mississippi where it is the State Flower.
Deb and her sister, Pam Taylor, who lives at Biloxi, Miss., travelled to acquire items to decorate the location. Among her finds first was a baby grand piano discovered near the Iowa-Illinois Quad Cities. They secured a fireplace mantle from a Victorian riverfront home which had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina at Biloxi.
For even more ideas, they travelled to Italy this spring. There, Deb said she got the inspiration for the new front for her building. She also has added some outdoors sidewalk seating reminiscent of the European look Deb said she favors.
The interior is completed by countertops built by Deb and a kitchen of her design. Comfortable seating at tables and in a conversation-type grouping is offered near the piano. There are also five seats in the front window facing West High Street.
Knowles pointed to new sheetrock walls which were installed, painted and decorated by Deb.
Deb said she did get some plumbing help from her brother, Jerry Massengale, owner of J & M Sales and Service, and assistance on the electrical work.
The Magnolia is open 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday and later on Friday evenings. it is also open evenings by reservation.
The telephone number is 641-484-5077.