The Olfactory Inn will shut its doors this month just short of its fourth anniversary, but its current owners are still open to finding a new team to take over the Strathalbyn restaurant.
In 2015 co-owners Lauren Alexander and Simon Burr turned a former residence on Strathalbyn’s High Street into a highly-regarded hills dining destination. Earlier this year the pair confirmed that they were looking to sell the restaurant, and while a buyer has yet to be found, last week it was confirmed that the Inn’s doors would close, for now, at the end of October.
“The restaurant’s been up on the market for probably four months now,” Alexander tells The Adelaide Review. “We’ve been really flexible about how long the sale process could take, and at the same time Simon and I both have a couple of things that we wanted step into gradually.
“We were going to just play it by ear and see how it evolved,” she says, “but what’s happened is we both want to head in various directions, so we decided that although we will still have the business on the market, we’ll set a closure date.”
With chef Burr already working around McLaren Vale and Alexander weighing up a few different options, it was time for that holding pattern to conclude. “We just needed this decision to catalyse it a bit.”
While the restaurant’s future beyond the duo remains in the air, the certainty of an end date provides an opportunity to reflect on the restaurant’s time – and give its community of regulars in Strathalbyn, Langhorne Creek and wider South Australia the chance to make final reservations. “Even within the first few days of making it public on social media, so many of our customers reached out,” Alexander says.
“We’ve had lots of people booking in once or twice, some three times just to make the most of it before the doors closed … we have a regular couple who had gone to Melbourne for six months, but saw what was going on and are flying over for a Sunday lunch.”
Although Alexander and Burr’s partnership has run its course, Alexander remains upbeat about what they were able to create. “I always had a childhood dream of having a restaurant, and to share the same vision with Simon was the icing on the cake back in 2015. Our shared dream became a reality.
“I think the other part that was really embraced was our ‘eating local’ ethos, having small producers around the area that really became part of our dining and friendship community, as well as our suppliers. They’re some of our best friends now today, who will be there on our last day of service – but not to make deliveries!”
The Olfactory Inn’s final service will be on Sunday 27 October – booking ahead is recommended.
The Olfactory Inn
35 High Street, Strathalbyn
0447 771 750