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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Newly opened restaurant serves up street food

Luna Inspired Street Food offers the promise of a hot and ready meal housed in a space filled with bold, colored chalkboards that are easily seen from the street. The newly opened restaurant is also bringing something different to the Ithaca area: food-truck food served in a new way.

Luna Inspired Street Food, located at 310 Stewart Ave., has been serving up food truck favorites since its opening July 21.

Unlike Ithaca’s bar-and-grill or ethnic restaurants, Luna’s menu features an assortment of street food including tacos, sandwiches, burgers, wings, pizza, bowls, skewers and kebabs, and sweet treats like fried Oreos. This atypical restaurant allows customers to try authentic street food in a sit-down restaurant.

Kevin Sullivan, owner of Luna, said the idea for the restaurant came from his love of food trucks.

“I’ve always loved how you can walk up to a food truck and in five minutes walk away with delicious food,” Sullivan said. “It’s not just hot dogs and stuff like that anymore. Now you can get chef-prepared food on the run, and we really wanted to bring that level of quality and service into Ithaca.”

Luna’s interior style resembles a food truck, using chalkboard menu displays and casual decor.

“What we call it is ‘a brick and mortar food truck,’” Sullivan said. “When you walk in our restaurant, it’s pretty much like walking into a food truck roundup.”

Sullivan noted that the wide variety of food truck combinations gives Luna great flexibility with its menu, which he said is constantly updated. Sullivan said the meal options will change with the seasons since Luna strives to use locally sourced ingredients. The menu currently features a new sweet corn dish, which takes advantage of Ithaca’s locally grown corn resource.

Sullivan said these fun boardwalk and food truck picks are reasonably priced for a college student’s budget. Since Luna’s small plate portions are easily shared with groups, the affordable, tapas-style servings allow customers to order multiple dishes for the table to enjoy together, Sullivan said.

“One of our goals is to provide affordable pricing,” Sullivan said. “We want to make it so that if you come in for a big meal, you won’t spend more than about $12 and if you just want something on the run, you can walk out only spending about $4.”

Sullivan said Luna has already seen great success. Geared toward college students, Luna offers dine-in, takeout and delivery service.

“I spend a lot of my time talking to customers, getting feedback and making changes, and all-in-all everyone loves the concept,” Sullivan said.

Sophomore Erin Doran recently visited Luna and ordered the BBQ Shortrib Mac, a macaroni and cheese dish with smoked gouda and braised short ribs.

“Luna is definitely unique,” Doran said. “I’ve never been to a place like this before, and it’s so great to share with friends.”

Other menu standouts include Luna’s crispy Duck Fat Fries seasoned with garlic and red peppers, paired with Luna’s tangy spicy chipotle sauce. The crunchy, but tender wings served in customers’ choice of 10 different sauces are also customer favorites, Sullivan said.

The taco combinations are also unlike traditional taco choices, including the Red Chorizo and Potato Taco and Sullivan’s personal favorite, the Korean Short Rib Taco. Sullivan said he also recommends the BBQ King Grilled Cheese, a sandwich with tender short ribs, fried onions, coleslaw, and mac ‘n’ cheese on toasted bread.

Sophomore Nicole Veltri, a first-time Luna customer, tried the not-so-average grilled cheese on her recent visit to the restaurant.

“I like that it’s not typical,” Veltri said. “Nothing on the menu was just normal restaurant food.”

With Ithaca College back in session for the fall semester, Sullivan said he hopes students will try out the new dive.