Austin, Texas - 5/6/2013 - Opal Divine's Freehouse, the original location of the Opal Divine's group of restaurants, will be closing its doors downtown on May 31, 2013. Look for a new Opal's location to reemerge downtown in the summer of 2014!
Opal Divine's Freehouse opened on March 13, 2000, just in time for SXSW. The proprietors, Michael and Susan Parker, had previously worked at The Dog & Duck Pub. They are very grateful to Bob & Brenda Woody for taking a chance on them with a lease and to Gail Coffee for believing in them enough to loan them the start up funds.
The Opal Divine's family has grown since the Freehouse opened in 2000, expanding first to south Austin in 2005 with the opening of Opal Divine's Penn Field on South Congress Avenue. North Austin welcomed Opal Divine's Marina at Parmer and MoPac in 2007. Most recently, Opal Divine's Davenport opened in West Austin at Westlake Drive and Loop 360.
Over the past thirteen years, the Opal Divine's concept has become more restaurant oriented. Opal Divine's Austin Grill, as the restaurants are collectively known, is a pioneer in the use of hormone and antibiotic free beef and natural chicken. Opal's kitchens have recently transitioned to using natural pork items that are minimally processed and do not contain added nitrites or nitrates. Local Vital Farms organic eggs are used in Opal's brunch dishes. Opal Divine's uses sustainable seafood in their dishes and is an early adopter of green initiatives' including recyclable to go materials and in-house recycling and composting programs.
The iconic Freehouse building is only 3,000 square feet and is the smallest of the Opal Divine's locations. The size of the facility has become the limiting factor in the cuisine of the entire Opal Divine's chain. The West 6th Street area has certainly changed during the thirteen years the Freehouse has been open, and the popularity of the street justifies the premium rent. The Parkers are closing this location but are planning to remain a downtown fixture. They are currently working on a deal in the downtown area for a 5400-square-foot new Opal Divine's. Look for an announcement soon on the exact location. Projected opening date is June 2014.
Stop by Opal Divine's Freehouse at 700 West 6th Street throughout the month of May to say goodbye to an Austin original.