In 2003 Avner Samuel and his wife Celeste opened Aurora, their opulent eatery on Oaklawn in 2003, and a lot of people thought they were nuts. Well, they may be nuts, but they are Dallas nuts in a good way and I, for one, am happy that Avner has always been a chef to push the dining envelope in Dallas.
The lease on the Aurora space is up at the end of the year and the Samuels had to make a hard decision. “Aurora was what I wanted to do for a long time,” says Avner. “I don’t have 20 floors of hotel rooms on top of me. I don’t ever want to compromise what I cook. I knew Aurora would not be for everybody.”
After a lot of “soul searching,” the couple has decided to close Aurora on July 31. “We have all been fighting this economy and I am tired,” says Avner. “I am emotionally and physically drained. I need some time off.”
“We have a hard core of 80 couples who support us,” says Celeste. “We threw a thank you party for them on Saturday night. This is really emotional for me.”
Will that be the end of Avner’s reign in Dallas? “Oh, no. I have one more good one left in me,” says Avner. “I am going to stay in Dallas and create something that will appeal to all of Dallas. I don’t know what it is yet—I seriously don’t—but it has to be something that will make me happy.”
They may stay in their location or move—they haven’t made any future decisions other than to close Aurora and take a month to re-energize and create. “I need to get that fire burning again,” says Avner. “I can’t stay around the house too long. Celeste will kick me out.”
If you have a gift certificate, use before July 31. Call 214-528-9400. Oh, and Dishers stay close. We just might need to have a party. How about a Last Supper at Aurora? Who’s in?