ITHACA, N.Y. — For anyone who likes quesadillas, pork belly bao buns, or $3 pizza slices as big as your face, it’s time to get excited: Luna Inspired Street Food is opening a new location in Downtown Ithaca.
The locally owned restaurant will be trekking down East Hill to a vacant storefront at 113 North Aurora St., where Jade Garden was before it moved across town. Luna’s Collegetown location at 310 Stewart Ave. and micro-restaurant in Lot 10 will stay open to hungry customers.
Owner Kevin Sullivan says that unlike its other locations, the Downtown restaurant will offer a more casual sit-down experience.
“Luna has had an excellent couple of years, we have a great following in the Collegetown and Cornell scene. But the hill creates a natural divide, so our goal is to launch our Luna location with a couple little tweaks down on Aurora Street and bring a casual environment to the Aurora Street dining scene. We won’t provide full service, but casual service that will hit home with people who want to sit down for a meal, but not wait for a table or a server.”
“I used to live on the Commons, it’s kinda like ‘The Hunger Games’ when trying to get an outdoor dining table on Aurora, which is great for business, but I think a lot of people would like to sit outside, but don’t even try because it’s so busy. We’re doing an all-glass garage door, we’ll be open-air whenever possible. It’ll make a lot of our indoor seating feel outdoorsy, and give a little more to the dining scene. Downtown is jumping with the opening with the new Commons, we’d like to be a part of that, and with our flavors and service, we’re really hitting the nail on the head for a lot of people looking for a dining option.”
(Full disclosure, Luna Inspired Street Food is a dining content sponsor of the Voice)
For those unfamiliar, Luna seeks to take food from street vendors, carts and trucks from around the world, and recreate them here in Ithaca, from pizza to poutine, and burritos to banh mi sandwiches. A hearty meal can be had for under $15, with many options in the $5-$10 range.
“The diversity, the uniqueness of the concept, will be a great addition to the Aurora Street dining scene,” Sullivan said. “We try and find stuff people may have an interest in from elsewhere, and say they wish they had that here, and we usually impress them. That’s kinda the concept, challenge people in an approachable way, we do all sorts of flavors and mix them together. We hit you with some really awesome five-star flavors, but in a taco.”
Sullivan says that a formal opening date has not been scheduled yet, but the plan is to open in the early summer after the colleges hold their graduations.