Elm & Magnolia

New establishment in scenic old town spring opens to rave reviews

“As soon as I walked around Old Town Spring, I was like ‘Oh My God’, I have the art scene, the vintage scene, the biker scene, the jailhouse scene and the Union Pacific train that blows three times a day,” Maria said. This town owned me from the minute I walked into it, and I knew “I need to be here for the rest of my life”. 

Meet Joe and Maria Macri; they are the proprietors and executive chefs at their newest restaurant, Elm & Magnolia, where a unique Americana menu features everything from an Italian Bene for their weekend brunch to the wonderful blue cheese-crusted Double Cut Pork Chop. Everything is fresh and cooked from scratch except for the bread. 

“Everything else is butchered on-site, prepped on-site and everything is cooked to order. Our thought process is always the client and his experience” says Joe.

Joe and Maria’s sophisticated twist on food come from humble beginnings. Joe caught the restaurant business buzz when he worked at a pizzeria in New York.  Maria learned to cook from watching her father work as a chef in New Jersey. They married and took their love of food to the next level by building their own restaurants. 

After the couple made a trip to Houston to visit friends, they knew immediately that they had found their new home. Upon arrival, Joe landed a job as an executive chef at the family-owned restaurant trio Nino’s, Vincent’s and Grappino di Nino in Houston. He earned a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.  They were set…

They opened up the Black Sheep Bistro and turned a purple vacant building into a local favorite. The former East Coast residents combined their years of restaurant experience in fine dining to open the bistro in August 2013. First, there was the Black Sheep Bistro, now there is Elm & Magnolia. A new space, with the same great food with a much larger venue featuring outside dining on the porch and on the lawn. A full-service bar with a unique selection of wines and live music and entertainment nightly. 

Come by and taste some of the customer favorites including:

Miso-glazed Chilean Seabass: The dish is marinated in miso and sake and swerved with soy garlic spinach and toasted sesame.

Crispy Pork Belly & Noodles: Sesame-ginger glazed pork belly, soba noodles, mango, avocado, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, crispy noodles, sriracha sauce

Roasted beets & asparagus: The dish is made with roasted beets, asparagus and field greens topped with Dijon dressing, pickled red onion, goat cheese, walnut pralines and bacon. 

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake

Creamy house-made cheesecake made with cream cheese, Italian Mascarpone cheese, roasted pumpkin and fall spices


Reviews (based upon 25 guests surveyed on Facebook) 100 % Recommend


Had a birthday celebration for my lady last night. The owner Joe, and our waitress, Cheyenne made the event wonderful. The service and food were great. I might add, Joe baked an Italian cheesecake that was simply delicious. The music provided by Kevin was also excellent.

I highly recommend Elm & Magnolia for a quick bite, a romantic dinner, or a group party. And be sure to order the cheesecake!  A.D.

Make sure you check out Elm & Magnolia for your Special Events and Catering for your Holiday Parties…

The restaurant is available for private events: weddings, business lunches, dinners, cocktail receptions, and more. Joe and Maria would love to discuss how to be a part of your next event.  

Email Attention Joe

Facebook/ Instagram/Yelp

206 Magnolia St.

Spring, TX

(342) 386-3014


Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potato Mash and Pecan Praline

Serves 2 people

For the Lamb Shanks

2 ea Lamb fore-shanks, 16-18 oz. ea
1 cup Carrots, peeled and rough chopped (1" pieces)                                                                                         
1 cup Celery, rough chop (1" pieces)
1.5 cups White Onions, rough chop (1" pieces)                                                                                                 
10 ea Garlic Cloves, peeled & left whole                                                                                                          
1/2 cup Tomato Paste                                                                                                                                     
3/4 cup Dry Red Wine                                                                                                                                 
10 Sprigs Thyme, Fresh
6 Sprigs Rosemary, Fresh
2 Quarts Beef Broth (low Sodium or Homemade is Best!)
2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper, ground
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

For the Sweet Potato Mash

2 ea Sweet Potatoes
3/4 cup Heavy cream
1 teaspoon Salt

For the Pecan Praline

1/2 cup Pecan Pieces, toasted
1/2 cup Light brown sugar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Method For the Lamb Shanks

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper

3. Place the seasoned lamb shanks in a roasting pan or oven-proof pan and roast for 30-45 minutes. (The lamb should look browned and the meat should have shrunk, exposing the bone.

4. While the lamb shanks are roasting, heat a skillet with the vegetable oil and sauté your carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook the vegetables on medium to medium-high heat until they are browned and caramelized. (This may take 10-15 minutes)

5. Add the tomato paste to the caramelized vegetables and cook together for one minute

6. Add the red wine to the vegetables and cook for one minute, or until the alcohol taste disappears.

7. Place the roasted lamb shanks with the caramelized vegetable mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish.

8.Add the herbs and broth to cover the shanks, and put the lid on the casserole dish or cover with foil.

9. Place the casserole in the oven and cook for approximately 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

10. Strain the braising liquid and reduce in a pot until it thickens into a sauce consistency

Method For the Sweet Potato Mash

1. Bake the sweet potatoes in a 375-degree oven until tender

2. Peel the skin away from the sweet potato and while still hot, put into a food processor

3. Add the salt and heavy cream, puree until smooth

Method For the Pecan Praline

1. Combine the toasted pecans, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small saucepot

2. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. The brown sugar and cream should turn into caramel in this amount of time. Do not overcook because it will thicken as it sits off of the stovetop

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