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Sugar Magnolia, Pastry Chef Alison Reed's Carryout In Front of Ripple, Cleveland Park - Closed


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Just stopped into "Sugar Magnolia" on the way back to the office.

Had a pretty solid array of offerings on display (macaroons, cookies, brownies (reg / blondie - with samples), and a soda cooler with drinks & sandwiches.

Tried the porchetta sandwich (braised mustard greens, pickled turnips, liver parfait - this is the same stuff that I love at Ripple) along with a container of potato salad (chopped egg, purple & white new potatoes, light mayo / dill dressing, slivered almonds).

Both were excellent, the tart pickled veg & the mustard greens were nice compliments to the liver / porchetta. I really liked the potato salad but almost couldnt finish it b/c the sandwiches are a pretty solid size. total was 13 bucks and for the amount of food I think its a good value for the cost.

Note: The sandwiches all seemed to be on small baguettes and I would recommend letting them come up to temp since they're in the soda cooler.

The sample of the two types of brownies didn't even make it till the end of the block, both were nice and moist with good flavor. I will return for the ice cream sandwiches but was able to resist the temptation today.

All in all a very favorable first impression, particularly as the place had been open all of 20 min when I strolled by.

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Just stopped into "Sugar Magnolia" on the way back to the office.

Had a pretty solid array of offerings on display (macaroons, cookies, brownies (reg / blondie - with samples), and a soda cooler with drinks & sandwiches).

Tried the porchetta sandwich (braised mustard greens, pickled turnips, liver parfait - this is the same stuff that I love at Ripple) along with a container of potato salad (chopped egg, purple & white new potatoes, light mayo / dill dressing, slivered almonds).

Both were excellent, the tart pickled veg & the mustard greens were nice compliments to the liver / porchetta. I really liked the potato salad but almost couldnt finish it b/c the sandwiches are a pretty solid size. total was 13 bucks and for the amount of food I think its a good value for the cost.

Note: The sandwiches all seemed to be on small baguettes and I would recommend letting them come up to temp since they're in the soda cooler.

The sample of the two types of brownies didn't even make it till the end of the block, both were nice and moist with good flavor. I will return for the ice cream sandwiches but was able to resist the temptation today.

All in all a very favorable first impression, particularly as the place had been open all of 20 min when I strolled by.

Say hi next time!

Some of the sandwiches, including my Veggie, are on a ciabatta loaf. They had samples of the smoked mackerel sandwich which was terrific, and some brownies which were also fabulous.

My sandwich (from the cooler) was actually at an okay temperature when I opened it five minutes after I bought it.

The obvious problem here is going to be the same one they had at the original Georgetown Cupcake: people spilling into the street - it's just not a big enough space to handle more than a half-dozen people inside, and I'm pretty sure this place is going to be popular.

Cheers,

Rocks

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My sandwich (from the cooler) was actually at an okay temperature when I opened it five minutes after I bought it.

Just a quick clarifier since re-reading my post makes it sound like the sandwich was ice cold. I bought the sandwich, and in the 5-10 minutes between walking out of the store and when I got to my office it had warmed up appropriately. It was more a heads up for those looking to buy and immediately devour outside on the sidewalk.

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The obvious problem here is going to be the same one they had at the original Georgetown Cupcake: people spilling into the street - it's just not a big enough space to handle more than a half-dozen people inside, and I'm pretty sure this place is going to be popular.

Cheers,

Rocks

The obvious answer. You are meant to take them out and wander round. Wander round.

Sunshine and daydreams.

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I'd love to say that everything was delightful and it had everything I need - however, I found the peanut butter cookie and chocolate ice cream sandwich to be good and so so. The cookies were delicious and would be great alone or in this kind of chipwich, but the ice cream wasn't that great. I was expecting creamier and richer chocolate - and it fell a bit flat on their opening day. Hopefully it'll get better because that looked like the best combo for my tastes. I did go back and try a chocolate chip cookie and it was excellent (just like the one's on Ripple's dessert menu) - but less gooey since it was in a case and not fresh made (we can't have everything I guess ;-). Definitely a good start and I plan to try out some of the sandwiches too.

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The obvious problem here is going to be the same one they had at the original Georgetown Cupcake: people spilling into the street - it's just not a big enough space to handle more than a half-dozen people inside, and I'm pretty sure this place is going to be popular.

Close the Cleveland Park service lane. :P Then they could have tables out front.

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I too had a problem with the ice cream sandwich. We got the chocolate/coffee/coconut one and it refused to be eaten. Ice cream too soft, cookies too hard, the ice cream gushed out when we tried to take bites out of it. We were left with sticky hands and faces and empty tummies.

The blondie sample we tried was good, but the brownie we bought was ho-hum. It had good texture, but lacked the richness and depth of flavor that I've come to expect from brownies.

All in all, the setup was cute inside (bummed that SM is open, but ripple isn't open for lunch!), but I agree that there's a definite space issue. There is not enough room for more than 3 patrons at a time. I love the soda cooler with tons of interesting and unique drinks in it! I snagged an Aztec Cola but have yet to try it.

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I had dinner at Ripple the other evening, and was surprised that we were being led towards the *right* along the front wall; not into the back dining room.

"Didn't this used to be Sugar Magnolia?" I asked.

Well ... it's closed. And here's Alex Baldinger's article detailing the closure. I'd been there no less than five times, so I was 1) shocked that we didn't have a thread on it (ETA - scratch that, we did; I just neglected to put it in the Dining Guide), and 2) even more shocked that it closed, although once Logan Cox left, they'd stopped offering grab-n-go sandwiches (which is why I stopped going - that is *not* a knock against Alison Reed; I'd usually just be driving down Connecticut mid-day, and would fly in and fly out for a car sandwich).

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I suspect that Sugar Magnolia's fate (both its existence and its demise) has more to do with zoning than anything else.  Basically, the Cleveland Park overlay caps the percentage of street frontage that can be devoted to restaurants. SM didn't count as a restaurant (but enabled Ripple to add the space behind it to the restaurant).  And it also put Ripple in a good position to reclaim the SM space as frontage the next time the overlay area fell below quota on restaurant space. 

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I suspect that Sugar Magnolia's fate (both its existence and its demise) has more to do with zoning than anything else.  Basically, the Cleveland Park overlay caps the percentage of street frontage that can be devoted to restaurants. SM didn't count as a restaurant (but enabled Ripple to add the space behind it to the restaurant).  And it also put Ripple in a good position to reclaim the SM space as frontage the next time the overlay area fell below quota on restaurant space. 

This is almost to a letter what was explained to me by our server.

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The overlay is the same reason why Palena has a market which in the past year or so went from selling gourmet products and baked goods to only baked goods. Its sole purpose is to get around the overlay issue so it could expand the Cafe into the old Magruders space. Of course, the irony is that Palena has a huge "frontage" onto the shopping center sidewalk - but that doesn't count for the overlay because it isn't a public street sidewalk. Enough of my rant, I wish Sugar Magnolia was back - not enough good places in Cleveland Park are open for a weekday lunch.

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I suspect that Sugar Magnolia's fate (both its existence and its demise) has more to do with zoning than anything else.  Basically, the Cleveland Park overlay caps the percentage of street frontage that can be devoted to restaurants. SM didn't count as a restaurant (but enabled Ripple to add the space behind it to the restaurant).  And it also put Ripple in a good position to reclaim the SM space as frontage the next time the overlay area fell below quota on restaurant space. 

This is exactly right. I've posted on it before I think with respect to Palena where the same thing enabled the expansion. It's a somewhat unique zoning policy for DC. Not sure that any other neighborhoods have it but might be wrong.  A maddening 'fun fact' about the overlay is that when a restaurant is vacated, its frontage isn't added back to the available capacity for new places because the District has to "confirm" the vacancy. That can take a long time due to how "vacancy" is defined (not simple/obvious) and, of course, because the relevant District office is very understaffed. Finally, I'm not sure that SM went away due to frontage falling below the maximum.  It could have also happened due to them being allowed an exception for which they'd have had to apply.

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