Marana’s “Magnolia Blossom” isn’t just any food truck, it’s Southern hospitality on wheels.
“We saw that there was this wonderful opportunity to engage with a lot of people through food.”
The Magnolia Blossom Authentically Southern Mobile Eatery isn’t just any food truck—it’s Southern hospitality on wheels. Owned by Heath and Seliena Johnson and run with the help of their 11 kids, you’ll feel right at home when you walk up to this Marana eatery, located in a quiet lot just off of I-10.
Each new customer is welcomed with samples of their Mississippi-style barbecued meats. And we’re not talking tiny sample cups—we’re talking generous slices of juicy smoked turkey breast, slow-smoked brisket, spare ribs, and more.
“I want people to try it before they buy it,” explained Heath. “That way, they’ll enjoy what they order.”
In addition to the hospitable greeting of barbecue samples and the sweet smell of oak and apple-scented smoke wafting through the air, hungry patrons are received with a warmth and friendliness that make the trip to Magnolia worth the while.
For the Johnsons, food and faith go hand in hand.
Heath wasn’t always in the restaurant business, but he’s no stranger to Southern-style cooking. Living in Mississippi and working as a pastor, he grew up cooking barbecue for his family and experimenting with different styles throughout the south.
“In Mississippi, we have our own style that doesn’t get the fanfare of, say, Texas or North Carolina barbecue,” explained Heath. “But our philosophy behind it is that you should be able to taste the meat, and if I have to cover it up with sauce, then I haven’t done my job.”
When an opportunity at a local church brought the Johnson family to Arizona seven years ago, the pastor noticed that his new community was in need of an eatery that didn’t exclusively sell fast food.
“We began exploring the idea of building a restaurant here, and we decided to open a food truck as a proof of concept,” Heath said. “Our ultimate goal is to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”
Magnolia Blossom focuses on quality ingredients cooked in a way that stayed true to their simple southern roots. And, even with the business running Tuesday through Friday, Heath continues his work as a pastor and holds services at the local baptist church every weekend.
“I could never not be a pastor,” Heath revealed. “But we saw that there was this wonderful opportunity to engage with a lot of people through food.”
Barbecue and comfort food with all the fixin’s.
Magnolia’s barbecued meats are cooked low and slow in the onboard smoker and can be ordered by the pound or in their po’ boys.
“We’re picky about where we source our meats,” said Heath. “We know, for example, that Sanderson Farms is based 30 miles from where we grew up, we know their operations, and we know the way they grow chickens.”
Smoked brisket is the most popular, but options like the cochon de lait, a southern Louisiana take on pulled pork, and the smoked sausage imported from Evergreen, AL, are what set this food truck apart. In fact, Magnolia Blossom is the only eatery in Arizona where you can purchase this particular meat.
Assorted food at Magnolia Blossom Authentically Southern Mobile Eatery (Credit: Dana Sullivan)
“The sausage has a coarser grind,” explained Heath. “It cooks up differently, it has a different feel in your mouth and a different flavor. That’s a true Southern sausage.”
The burgers, served simply with mayo, pickles, and your choice of cheese, are also popular among the locals. Homemade sides like hand-cut fries, classic baked beans with bacon, and coleslaw made with a signature tangy mustard sauce round out Magnolia’s meals.
Don’t forget dessert
One of the most popular orders from the menu are the beignets. If you’re unfamiliar with these deep-fried, sugar-dusted dough balls, they’re basically a New Orleans-style doughnut. Get there early to get them hot—they go quickly, and they’re not available during summertime.
Beignets and desserts at Magnolia Blossom Authentically Southern Mobile Eatery (Credit: Dana Sullivan)
“It gets too hot in the truck in the summer, so they rise too much,” explained Seliena.
Other dessert options include tart-yet-sweet pies (lemon icebox and lime cream cheese) served conveniently in cups for on-the-go eaters.
Drinks to satisfy your sweet tea tooth
Sweet tea, Louisiana coffee, and handcrafted sodas pay homage to Magnolia’s southern roots.
Community Coffee – The Johnsons import this coffee from Louisiana and add a dash of chicory for a true New Orleans brew that pairs perfectly with the beignets
Sweet Tea – Dubbed by the Johnsons as “the best sweet tea this side of the Mississippi River”
Vanilla Cream Soda – Handcrafted soda made with real sugar and vanilla beans
Cherry Limeade – Made from hand-squeezed limes, real sugar, and maraschino cherries
It’s a refreshingly sweet sip to enjoy throughout your meal.
Sweet tea at Magnolia Blossom Authentically Southern Mobile Eatery
- Magnolia Blossom Authentically Mobile Southern Eatery
- 13822 N. Sandario Rd. in Marana.
- Operating hours are from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Fridays.
For more information, visit magnoliablossommobileeatery.com. Keep up with
The Magnolia Blossom Authentically Southern Mobile Eatery on Facebook.