Magnolia Mall reaches another milestone: Decades restaurant

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By Ashley Scoby, Summer Intern

 Residents in and around LaRue County now have a new place to eat, thanks to the opening on April 17 of the Decades restaurant at Magnolia Mall.  

The opening of the restaurant was just the latest in a series of redevelopments of the old Magnolia School. 

The restaurant was dubbed “Decades” after partial owner Christine Shelton said she thought about all the different people who had passed through the school throughout its years. It has been, at one point or another, an elementary school, a high school and a college. “Decades” hopes to encapsulate all of the eras that have been represented at the school.  

Located in the old school’s cafeteria, Decades does just that – the restaurant has three different components to it, each dedicated to a specific time period.  The corner area of the restaurant is dedicated to the 1950s, the main area is for the 1960s and 70s, and the bar area is for the 1980s and is a replica of the “Cheers” bar.  Each section of the restaurant sticks to the theme of the decade and is decorated according to that era’s culture.  

Hanging on the walls are also photographs (some enlarged to four feet tall) that Shelton has collected from community members.  

“I hope we can get some more pictures soon. I have two more groups to put up and then it will be at a standstill,” she said. “All are from the 40s and 50s, which are great. I still need some from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.” 

Although the restaurant’s decorations and picture hanging are not finished, that is by design.

“There’s still some decorating to do. We’re not done, but we planned it that way. When people walk in, I want them to notice that things continue to change. I want them to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t notice that the first time!’” Shelton said.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 5-9 p.m. for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.  

Beginning the weekend of June 22 will be decades trivia games for dinner customers.  Each table will receive trivia questions about a particular decade and the servers will have the answers (memorized, not in hand, according to Shelton).  

“I want friends and families to come in and use this as a way to converse with each other,” Shelton said. “I don’t want people to just come here and eat; I want it to be interesting. If you want to just eat, you could go anywhere.”   

Even with the opening of the restaurant (and the continued decoration of it), Shelton says that she and her fellow owners, husband Brent and parents, Diane and Terry Shelton, are set to continue working on more projects at the Magnolia Mall.  

First, work has started on a banquet room that would seat at least 100 people and could be rented out for class reunions, church group events, and other private occasions. The old Magnolia School gym can also be rented out for parties or sports events.  

The possibility of a childcare center is also in the works. Inspectors have come to the building and approved it for daycare – with four classrooms, a restroom and a playground, Shelton thought that a daycare would be a great idea. 

“I personally don’t have time to open a daycare myself,” she said.  “But it would be a perfect opportunity for someone else if they wanted to.”

For now, however, Shelton is enjoying the success of Magnolia Mall and, more recently, the Decades restaurant.  

“The crowds have been great – there has been a steady flow of traffic,” she said.  “We keep trying to guess when our slow day will be, but there aren’t any slow days.  We just really appreciate the community taking us in like this.”