UPDATE: Randall Copeland's funeral service takes place on Monday, April 8, at 11 am, at St. Pius X Church, 3030 Gus Thomasson Rd. in Dallas.
With the tragic death on Tuesday of its chef and co-owner Randall Copeland, Restaurant Ava in Rockwall has closed down for good. Sean Drews, who worked at the restaurant as a chef and a manager, confirmed that after four years the restaurant would be closing; Tuesday was its last night.
"Some of us have mixed feelings on it," he said. "I would have liked to see it stay open. Randall had big dreams for Restaurant Ava. Unfortunately we weren't able to make it happen before he passed away."
The restaurant went out with a bang on Tuesday by hosting a party for friends, family and regular customers to commemorate Copeland's passing. Patrick Davalos, a friend of Copeland's and investor in his Bishop Arts restaurant Boulevardier, attended the party and said that despite the sadness of the event, many fond memories were shared.
"They never reopened today," Davalos said. "Last night, they sold out of food and that was it. With his partner Nathan Tate involved in Boulevardier, it was pretty clear that it would be tough for him to do both of them."
Davalos said that the night was spent reminiscing over the special occasions he and his wife had spent at Ava. "We've been going there since day one, and we invested in Boulevardier because of our friendship with Randall," he said.
He also expressed concern for Ava staffers, with the hope that they'd find jobs elsewhere.
"There are a few that have been there for years," he said. "Any restaurant looking for good people should reach out to those guys. One in particular, Jerome, has been there since day one. He would remember you after one visit."
Drews said that a few employees have already been offered positions at restaurants around Dallas, and efforts are underway to find work for everyone.
"The food Randall made was so good," Davalos said. "That kind of food, service and atmosphere is what got us hooked on the place."