LEADING LADIES: Lauren Cirafesi


There’s a certain vision one has of running their own restaurant, one which rarely intersects with reality. They see themselves sampling the cuisine, straightening napkins, hobnobbing with guests and soaking in the atmosphere they’ve created. They rarely see themselves calling a plumber during a dinner rush because a pipe has broken, bussing tables because someone called off sick, answering phones while trying to figure out where table six’s appetizers went.

Running a restaurant is a rewarding, yet grueling endeavor. So is having six kids, the difference being that every parent immediately recognizes how much of a herculean task that is. 

So how does Lauren Cirafesi balance both of these demanding roles? Better yet, how does she make it look so easy?

“It’s organized chaos,” she said with her trademark Southern humor. “It’s all about picking your battles. I have to choose what is most important, and then you learn to be happy with what you’ve accomplished.”

Cirafesi opened the restaurant while living in a three-bedroom house with her six boys. Over the years, her talents (along with world-class food) made OMBRA a true culinary destination for locals and visitors alike while creating a better life for her children. 

“It was hard, but looking back on it, it was worth it,” she said. “It’s challenging but fulfilling to run a business with kids.”

1000 William Hilton Pkwy., Hilton Head Island, SC | 843-842-5505 | ombrahhi.com