Ophelia suspends operations effective immediately. That was the gloomy message sent out June 1 by Dunlap ATX (the team behind Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar, Burn Pizza Bar, and more) announcing the closure of the East Austin Cajun restaurant after only three short months.
But Lynzy “Pub” Moran, chef and partner of the concept, is anything but negative about Ophelia, a bittersweet ending to a short-lived dream.
“Ophelia was my dream restaurant,” she says. “It was the obvious next step from my prior culinary experiences.”
Moran has owned and operated the Baton Creole food trailer since 2013, as well as the Lady Luck trailer housed at Hard Luck Lounge. Dunlap ATX approached Moran to spearhead the Ophelia project, and she was excited about the opportunity to create a menu, design a concept, and operate out of a fully functioning restaurant.
“Ophelia was everything I envisioned for a restaurant — everything from my design of the red velvet curtains to the gold frames on the walls with my favorite lady musicians to putting things on real porcelain plates with a certain sense of design and artistry to it,” she says.
But, in the words of Dunlap ATX, “Sometimes things just don’t work out.” When asked for more details or a comment in return, Moran just smiles and says, “You can say that again.”
With the partnership dissolved, Moran is looking to the future, an undoubtedly bright one for this young chef. Almost immediately after Ophelia closed, she purchased a flight to travel through Thailand and Tokyo for a month, hoping to pick up pop-up gigs along the way.
“I like to think of it as almost touring like a band but with food. The fun part of cooking overseas is going to those markets and collaborating with local chefs,” she says.
Following her travels through Asia, and as part of her connection with the Austin Anger Creative, Moran will be cooking in Anger, France, followed by a pop-up in Gijon, Spain in the fall.
“My two greatest loves are culinary and traveling. So if I can merge those two together, then life would be great,” she says.
In addition to the pop-ups, Moran is also refocusing her efforts on her catering company, Lynzy Moran Catering & Events, as well as expanding her food trailer offerings. She’s looking for a permanent bar home for Baton Creole and has been in talks with an East Austin bar owner about yet another trailer concept. Moran also has her eyes on debuting her own bar, shooting for an opening within the next two or three years. Most importantly, she’s getting to take a little break from the constant grind of restaurant and trailer life.
“I’m really excited about my first breath of fresh air,” she says. “Since I opened up [Baton Creole] in 2013, and then the year leading up to opening the trailer, it’s been nothing but straight hustle.
“I have wonderful employees, and it alleviates a lot of pressure to have to work those 100-hour workweeks. And then if I can work while I’m traveling, then my soul is really fed,” she says.
It’s apparent that Moran has found the silver lining despite Ophelia’s closure. You’ll have to stay tuned for more of the exciting plans from this talented chef. In the meantime, follow @LynzyPub for all of her upcoming foodie travels.