Mike Kelton said he worked in the wine and spirits industry for 32 years before retiring in 2018. However, he said his wife, who works at Exxon, still has a few more years until she retires, so he wanted to do something in the meantime.

“I couldn’t just sit around and not do anything,” Kelton said. “I’ve always wanted to do restaurants. I love to cook, and I love food.”

Kelton took over ownership of Magnolia’s Tree House Cafe on FM 1488 in June, he said. The restaurant, previously named Family Tree Recipes, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, including American cuisine such as cheeseburgers, meatloaf and chicken-fried steak.

Kelton said he has run other restaurants in Houston and Austin, but they were franchise locations. He said he chose to become the owner of Tree House Cafe because it has a different environment and he has more freedom as an owner.

“What intrigued me about Tree House was that it feels like home. ... It’s very casual; it’s very relaxed,” Kelton said. “I wanted an environment where people felt at home, and that’s really what this is.”

Kelton said he has made some changes. The restaurant is now open on weekends and for dinner three nights a week, and he has added menu items such as mashed potatoes and Salisbury steak.

As the new owner of the restaurant, Kelton said his staff and the customers that come in have helped him have success and make positive changes.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our staff and our customers,” Kelton said. “I’m very thankful to have the people that I have to help us do this because I couldn’t do it by myself.”

On Dec. 22, a tree in the parking lot at the front of the restaurant holding its famed tree house was cut through, Kelton said. However, the restaurant is open, and the tree and tree house are both secured, Kelton said in an email.

Tree House Cafe

12202 FM 1488, Magnolia



Hours: Sat.-Tue. 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Fri. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.