PILOT POINT — Last year, when its owner wanted to close the Magnolia Station in Pilot Point, Richard Howell and business partner Charlie Miller decided to take over the business.
“David has closed the business, and I was his chef,” Howell said about the previous owner, David Delcourt II, who renovated and opened the Magnolia Station originally in 2011.
Howell said the previous owner had a good following, and he wanted to continue his tradition.
Delcourt could not be reached for comment.
Located at 116 E.Liberty St., the restaurant offers old-fashioned hamburgers, soups, sandwiches and desserts. It is around 1,800 square feet, and in the 1940s it was a full-service gas station, the Magnolia Petroleum Co.
A Pilot Point native, Howell has worked as a four-star chef in Dallas since 1976. Currently employing two people, Howell acts not only as chef but also as dishwasher and sometimes cashier. Miller is the manager, bookkeeper and cashier.
“It takes a great manager and a great chef to make a great restaurant,” Howell said.
Miller and Howell have worked together since 2001 at The Bronx in Dallas. They also worked and owned The Pecan Street Diner in Celina, which closed in 2008.
“I’ve worked in four-star restaurants where I had to make a menu every week, and it’s just so draining,” Howell explained.
Howell and Miller want to restore the gas station to its previous look and also to enclose the patio areas, as well as bring in local performers to perform music and other entertainment in the evenings.
“Our lunch is our busiest time from noon to 1:30 p.m. In the summertime, I don’t know how it’s going to be when the baseball season starts,” Howell said. “In a small town, sports are the ticket.”
During the weekends, Howell said he sees a lot of traffic as motorcyclists and fishermen go to nearby Ray Roberts Lake.
“I wanted something more original,” Howell said. “I grew up here, I went to school here. Some of my old school buddies come here and get burgers. It’s like a reunion.”
Menu items include a variety of burgers, from a simple cheeseburger to a black-and-bleu burger — with a blackened burger patty and blue cheese — as well as a variety of sandwiches, from the pulled pork cubans, to the grilled chicken BLTs, to the reuben sandwiches and everything in between. Fries and onion rings are fresh cut and fried in house.
“There’s no room for a freezer here, so I buy ingredients fresh every week. Nothing is frozen,” Howell said.
Howell said that since reopening the restaurant, he continues to receive good reviews. Presently, the patio dining and the spring weather also helps business.
On Facebook, Dan Branthoover posted in March that he thought the food was amazing.
“I’m brand new to Pilot Point and I will be back,” he wrote.
Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For more information, call 940-686-2060, or visit its Facebook page under “Magnolia Station II.”
Staff writer Karina Ramírez contributed to this report.
MARYGAIL LAKNER is a student at Texas Woman’s University.