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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Tiffany Gellner

The Magpie

Baltimore native Tiffany Gellner was in high school when she moved to Virginia Beach with her mother, Melanie Palma. Melanie was artistically inclined but worked as a waitress and bartender at a place called San Antonio Sam’s to support their small family. Tiffany began her long restaurant career as a hostess there, working alongside her mother, but moved to Richmond in 2002 at the age of twenty-two with the intention of attending art school. Instead, she spent the next decade waiting tables and tending bar in several Richmond restaurants including Amici’s, Bandito’s, and Star-lite. After marrying Owen Lane, who spent close to a decade cooking in Richmond restaurants, the couple took the leap to start a place of their own. Tiffany and Owen opened the Magpie in 2011. Situated in the historic industrial Carver neighborhood, the restaurant seats only thirty-four people including the bar. While Owen takes care of the food, Tiffany wears multiple hats in the front of the house: manager, server, and bartender.

The Magpie closed its doors in late August 2015.

Date of interview:
March 9, 2013

Sara Wood

Sara Wood

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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