Azu was incorporated in November 2000 by Laurel Moore. She bought Bill Bakers bakery at the same time. Azu opened its doors in early 2001.
Laurel was inspired by her many trips to Spain and Italy. Azu started small, the original idea was fresh baked bread, panini and gelato. Soon after opening for just breakfast and lunch, Laurel was asked repeatedly to be open for dinner. She converted some old baking space into the dining room.
Executive Chef and Owner Laurel Moore is the driving force behind Azu restaurant and a style of food critics have called lively, inventive, and comfortable all at once. A veteran of Hollywood, Chef Moore travelled the world as a still photographer, working on such films as Pretty in Pink and The Big Red One. Establishing Azu in 2001 Chef Moore undertook a singular vision, to take the best of what the world has to offer, and translate it through a locally sourced, regionally relevant palate.
Daughter of Laurel and General Manager, Elizabeth Haffner, joined Azu in 2006. Having worked as a costume designer for film in Los Angeles and abroad, Elizabeth journeyed to Ojai, CA to join her mother in creating a unique destination restaurant, on par with her adventurous tastes, and at home in the magical valley of Ojai. Elizabeth tirelessly executes her vision of quality and service on a daily basis, making Azu a true experience in simple elegance.
Jeremy Haffner, Husband to Elizabeth, in a joint venture with Laurel founded Ojai Valley Brewery in 2015. Previous to becoming the Brewmaster and building a nano brewery Jeremy toured the world with his rock band, Oedipus. Jeremy was also the gelato master and a chef at Azu restaurant throughout the years in between touring. He has brought his incredible palate and artistic vision to the Brewery which focuses on local foraged and farmed ingredients with beers designed to enjoy in the hot Ojai climate.