Today on Discovering Magnolia Texas, we are at the Treehouse Cafe, a cute little place here on the outside of Old Magnolia. Let’s go inside, meet the owners, and see what they’re all about.
Mike’s Journey into the Restaurant Industry
Erika: So, Mike, let’s talk about what got you into the restaurant industry.
Mike: Well, that’s kind of a long story. I’m retired from the wine and spirits business. I spent 32 years in the wine and spirits industry. I love to cook; I’ve always loved to cook all my life, and I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant. My wife was like, “Wait a minute, you want to retire and open a restaurant?” But yeah, I mean, that’s what I wanted to do. So, you know, here we are. We purchased Treehouse Cafe about a year ago. In my previous industry, I traveled a lot, probably about 175,000 miles a year. So, doing this was actually a piece of cake for me. I really get involved with the lives of my staff. I really want them to feel like, you know, this is a family. So, you know, involvement there as well. But, you know, as much time as I can spend out on the floor with our guests, that’s really where I’ll be. So that’s what I enjoy about all this.
Continuing the Legacy of the Treehouse Cafe
Erika: Yeah, and I think that the word “family” is key. This is a family meeting place. And the actual Treehouse Cafe has been around for a long time; the former family that owned it. So how did all of that occur when you connected with them?
Mike: So what was really cool about this restaurant is that the previous owners really built that environment here. And the original name of the restaurant was Family Tree Recipes; for them, it was really about creating a place for their friends and their family to come and hang out. That’s what really drew me here. And then, you know, we hope that we are just enhancing and building upon that.
Unique Features and Community Support
Erika: I mean, this has been a community icon for a long time just because of some of the unique features of the restaurant. For example, we’re sitting here doing this interview next to a tree.
Mike: We have people ask us all the time, “Is there really a treehouse?” Yes, yes, we have a tree growing through this. This is our event room. So, yes, it’s really a treehouse. But, you know, we have tortoises out front that especially the kids love, and they get to feed them, while we have a zombie graveyard out front. We actually have zombies that pop up in the windows and try to scare people. You know, we have the treehouse out front. And I’m sure you’re aware of, you know, somebody trying to cut that treehouse down late last year. And through that process, the community support that we received, you know, through all that was just amazing, actually very humbling.
Giving Back to the Community
Mike: It’s a priority for us to give back, become part of the community, and support the community. So here we support the Texas chapter of the Folds of Honor. We support Magnolia High School and the Football Booster Club. I don’t feel right accepting money from the community, you know, by way of doing business and not giving back to the community. I actually feel like it should be an obligation for me to do that.
Erika: Well, and it’s not just what you do here with the treehouse; the other restaurants are also in Montgomery County, and they support Montgomery County organizations as well.
Mike: Right, if Hunger Crush Cafe is new, we just opened it up, and we support the Montgomery County Food Bank through there. We actually have an item on our menu called a Hunger Borders Community Style Meal, and we donate two and a half meals to the food bank for every one of those. So we sell Sweet Paris Crepey and Cafe in The Woodlands, and we have items on the menu for every one of those we sell. We donate to the food bank as well.
Creating a Unique and Welcoming Interior
Erika: Okay. And outside of some of the unique exterior things like the zombie garden, the tortoises, and the treehouse, let’s talk about the interior of the restaurant because there’s a lot of stuff going on.
Mike: Yeah, the previous owners created a really cool and unique environment, and there are a lot of components, if you will, of their lives strewn into that. And we wanted to add to that. We have some artwork on our walls that was produced by these disadvantaged individuals. We wanted to maintain the relaxed environment and the unpretentiousness, but we also wanted people to feel like they were at home. I want people to feel like they’re at my dining room table or in my living room at the restaurant. So, there are a lot of components of that throughout the restaurant.
Comfort Food and Signature Dishes
Erika: Let’s talk about your menu.
Mike: It’s comfort food. I mean, it sure is, and it’s good. It’s interesting. We had a comment from somebody who said, “Well, you don’t have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options.” Well, no, we don’t. I mean, we have a great breakfast menu. I think, really, we obviously sell a lot of eggs and omelets, pancakes, waffles, etc. We have a lunch special every day. It includes an entree, two sides, a dessert, and a drink. We’ve got a few of those that are very popular, like a pulled pork sandwich. We smoke the pork in-house. Our most popular burger is the Magnolia Burger. It’s a half-pound hamburger with a lot of cheddar cheese, so much so that it spills over onto the griddle and creates a skirt of cheese around the griddle, and you can’t really even see the burger. That’s caramelized onions, and then our house-made Romy sauce, which is a spicy, tangy barbecue sauce. It’s probably our most popular item on the whole menu. You know, it’s not fancy, but it makes you feel good, and it’ll fill you up. If you leave hungry, you didn’t do it right.
Comfort Food and Signature Dishes
Erika: So how can people find you?
Mike: We’re located at 12202 FM 1488 in Magnolia, just down the road from Magnolia High School. So, that’s your landmark. I think, you know, you can pass this very easily. So, look for the treehouse. We have a treehouse out front and a couple of flags. We did put a sign-up. We may put a bigger one up. I don’t know. I don’t want to get commercial. Our website, Facebook, and Instagram are the same: Treehouse Cafe Magnolia. So, a lot of information about any specials or anything going on the Menus is there. any kind of activity, we try to talk about what we’re doing here.
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