After dining room restrictions are lifted, the Magnolia Inn in Pinehurst will reopen under new ownership as the Magnolia Inn & Villaggio Ristorante & Bar.
Ron and Julie Milton, who recently retired to the area, began investing in the Magnolia Inn in February. Eventually, the couple moved forward with purchasing the whole building.
A Fresh Start
Ron and Julie, who also own a restaurant in Florida called Cafe L’Europe, became the owners of the Magnolia Inn on March 1. Ron aims for Villaggio Ristorante & Bar to offer a “top-notch fine dining experience.”
“Everything has to be in its place, and everything has a place,” Ron said. “My level of service has to be perfect.”
He’s already hired a full staff, including a head of house, Bernard Keiser. After searching recruiting websites for a new head chef, they came across Michele D’Oto. Born and raised in Emilia-Romanga in northern Italy, D’Oto impressed them with his fresh, from scratch pasta.
The inn’s patio, formerly known as “The Dawghouse,” will remain a spot for drinks and music, and serve as part of the dining experience.
“My wife and I will be spending a lot of time at the restaurant, making sure the experience is second-to-none,” Ron said.
The ‘Fixer Upper’ Experience
According to Ron, pretty much everything within the inn received an upgrade, from the floors to the flatware.
“We scraped and painted everything on the outside of the building, got all new kitchen appliances, all new furniture and silverware, glasses, dishes — everything under the sun,” Ron said.
They also remodeled the suites upstairs, adding four more king suites, and renovated all of the bathrooms.
Adapting to the ‘New Normal’
Renovating during COVID-19 led to incorporating ample space and equipment for sanitation, and allowing enough space in the dining room for tables to be six feet apart even when dining restrictions are lifted.
“I’ve had people around town come in and tell me they like what we’ve done with it,” Ron said. “I think people are happy to see this place brought back to what it once was.”