There is a new spot to grab a healthy bite to eat in South Portland. Magnolia’s Cafa, which opened last month on Ocean Street, shares space with Culinary Collection Wine Shop and offers casual gourmet cooking and catering.

Magnolia’s owner, Catie Fairbanks-Cliffe, has been a personal chef and run a catering business for the past four years. Fairbanks-Cliffe said she wanted to expand her business by opening a cafa.

A Cape Elizabeth resident and mother of three, Fairbanks-Cliffe puts an emphasis on healthy cooking. Her grandfather, a chef working during the Depression, had to cook with cheaper, more available ingredients, like oil rather than butter. Fairbanks-Cliffe was influenced by her grandfather’s methods, and they carry over to her recipes today.

“I try to teach people that healthy food doesn’t have to be twigs and berries,” said Fairbanks-Cliffe.

Entrees change from week to week, but favorite dishes include low-fat crab cakes, baked “fried” chicken, and shrimp with tomatoes, basil and feta. Signature sandwiches, like the “famous” chicken salad sandwich, and muffins, breads and pastries are also served. An unusual dish is black-eyed pea cake, a southern recipe rarely seen in New England.

Magnolia’s is located at 103 Ocean St., and is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.


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