After 15 years of serving burgers, fries, chicken fried steaks, and one of the best selections of whiskey in the city, casual favorite Opal Divine’s is closing its Marina location at 12709 N. Mopac Expy. An employee confirmed that the North Austin outpost will shutter at 4 pm on April 21.
The reason for the closure is unclear. Co-owner Michael Parker declined to comment, saying only that he would not be able to speak until April 22.
Parker and his wife, Susan, first opened the concept at 700 W. Sixth St. (now the home of Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden) in 2000, eventually opening three more locations scattered across town.
Over the last six years, however, the chain slowly began reducing its footprint. In 2013, the original Opal Divine’s closed after 13 years in business, followed by the short-lived Davenport Village restaurant at 801 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. in 2015.
The biggest shock was the December 2016 closing of the flagship Penn Field outpost on South Congress Avenue, which had been open since 2005. At the time, the owners released a statement saying: “The restaurant/bar dynamic in South Austin has changed in the 11-plus years that this location has been open. Austin's 'Keep Austin Weird' fascination is fading into a search for the latest and greatest new restaurant/bar/concept.”
That same reasoning may very well still be applicable. Since 2018, the industry has been particularly brutal to restaurants operating in the same casual, mid-priced sphere as Opal Divine’s with iconic eateries like Frank & Angie’s Pizzeria, The Frisco, and Ruby’s BBQ all bowing out of the scene.
There is, however, one ray of hope for fans of the restaurant. Opal Divine’s Austin Grill, which opened in June 2017, will continue serving at the Best Western Plus Hotel at the corner of I-35 and Oltorf Street.