Avner Samuel to Close Aurora in Dallas on July 31

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?


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  • TLS

    I’m definitely in for a Last Supper. One of the best meals of my life was at Aurora.

    Best of luck to Avner and Celeste. Enjoy some well deserved rest!

  • Worzel Gummidge

    In. So long as he prepares stuff that is impossible to get elsewhere in Dallas.

  • bluebird

    TLS, me too on the “one of the best meals of my life”.

    i guess they can look forward to a rockin’ July!

  • Leah

    I’m in!

  • DGirl

    I’m totally in.

  • luniz


  • Star Watcher

    Are the rumors true about Leslie Brenner going to Aurora recently? Will she write a review and pass judgment on Aurora before it closes?

  • pgwiz1

    this is really sad to hear, since I have been wanting to go try Aurora… :(. If there is an event, would def. try to go!

  • lynn

    It’s about time. Avner is a has-been – had a terrible meal there last year and spoke to him about it. Could have cared less. Good riddance.

  • elena34

    The minute you walk in the door you know that you are in for an amazing experience. Unfortunately, in the world that we live in today, few people can really appreciate a dining experience like Aurora’s.
    Best of luck to Avner and Celeste; they put their heart and soul into that place.

  • BradT

    A Last Supper is a great idea. Then maybe he can pay all the people/companies that provided various services to Aurora but were never paid.

  • DGirl

    @lynn – why be so nasty? Why kick someone who is down and about to close his business?
    I rarely ate at Aurora but every meal I had was excellent. I wish him and Celeste well.

  • JS

    Count me in.

  • Dallas Arts Salon

    While we do not go often, alas only a few times a year, we have always had the most wonderful experiences at Aurora – food, service, ambiance, etc. We will definitely try to get in before the end of July. Aurora was a jewel and we are sad to read this news but look forward to the next endeavor.

  • Adam Wood

    Good riddance(sp?)!!!!! He’s a pig. My former fiance was a restaurant sales person, and he was totally inappropriate with his behavior towards her.

    I’ve eaten there. Good food with great service. Just never been able to wipe away my utter disgust for the POS!

  • I’m very sad to hear this news. We only experienced this culinary pearl once, it was the most exquisite meal I have had in Dallas. I’m all for a last supper! Best of luck to Mr. Samuel and his wife Celeste. I anxiously await Mr. samuel’s next venture.

  • CookMr

    What a loss for Dallas. Last Supper is for me! Sad. Sorry. Economy sucks.

  • We’ve had meals there that rival French Laundry. Book the last supper!

  • Smirking

    NONE of the vendors will deliver to Avner without it being COD. He doesn’t pay his purveyors and he’s known as one of the biggest dbags for those of us who toil in the trenches.

  • Gastronome

    It was a great meal every time I went. The back stories on Avner have never been pretty, but OH THE FOOD!

  • Gastronome

    P.S. Good luck in the future Avner.

  • KATHY edelman BLAIR

    BEST OF LUCK TO AVNER AND CELESTE. i am sure good things will happen for the two of you.

  • David Steinfink

    I used to work at Avner’s restaurant Bibendum back about 10 years ago. He may not have always been the best boss, but he knows his shit. Good luck, Mr. Samuel. Much love

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  • mike m.

    My wife and I have eaten there at least twice a month since they opened, and every meal was memorable. This guy knows what cooking is. Period. His wife’s really cool, too! Hope to see the Samuels soon.

  • Brandy Taylor

    Oh no! I’ve been out of the country and am just catching up on sidedish!!! I would like to write exactly what Dallas Art Salon wrote. Wish we could have dined there more. The cooking classes were also amazing… a great way to spend a Saturday!

    Best of luck to both Avner and Celeste!!! I’m praying the Last Supper isn’t sold out.