New Italian eatery Luna’s has emerged from a long winter eclipse and is ready to tarantella by the light of the moon under the practiced hands of Orcas islanders Heather and Kim Thomas.
“I could never think of it as anything but an Italian restaurant,” said Heather, who remembers eating at La Famiglia with her family as a young child.
Lodged in the space that last held Lulu’s Pasta Rustica, the building has seen quite a few dance partners in past years: a rumba with the Caribbean Callaloo, a minuet with the Sunflower Cafe, and before that a long saltarello with the Italian La Famiglia.
Luna’s will be offering classic Italian food, including pizzas and three different types of lasagna, and a variety of seafood dishes. Heather’s personal favorite is a roasted red pepper and butternut squash lasagna.
“We’re already starting to see people coming back, and we’re getting good reports on the food. I don’t think food has to be complicated to be good,” said Heather.
She said their lunchtime dungeness crab sandwiches have been very popular. Made with roasted red pepper aoli and melted havarti on homemade bread, they already have people coming back for seconds. The wild salmon with pesto has also been popular.
The restaurant offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and Heather plans to create separate menus for easy ordering.
“People have told me we have a very kid-friendly kids’ menu,” said Heather. “When you have kids, you know that plain butter noodles is sometimes all they want to eat.”
The Thomases checked out prices on Orcas and the mainland when setting their own.
“Our prices are very comparable to off-island prices,” she said. “We think they’re some of the best on the island for what people are getting.”
Heather and Kim’s family are very involved in Luna’s: their son Adam, a 2010 graduate, cooks lunch, and daughters Halley (10th grade) and Maggie (7th grade) help out as well. Heather’s sister Rose Baker and her two children come from Bellingham for half of each week.
Heather’s parents, Michael and Rocky Baker, moved their family to Orcas in 1982 when Heather was in 2nd grade.
“I always enjoyed cooking,” she said. From the age of 10 she cooked for her family on an old-fashioned wood stove, living in what was once the old Orcas schoolhouse. Heather remembers being teased at age 12 for requesting an electric wok for Christmas.
Her restaurant experience includes 10 years at Bilbo’s Festivo and five years at Roses Bakery and Cafe. In 2006, the Thomases and former co-worker Sara Kissel co-purchased Bilbo’s from founders Cy and Julie Fraser. Heather and Kim sold their share to Kissel in January 2010 to be more available for their family. But when Heather saw that the old Lulu’s building was up for lease, she said “it seemed like what we were supposed to do.”
The Thomases are sub-leasing the building and restaurant equipment from lessees Chris and Julie Hogel, founders of the Sunflower Cafe. The building is owned by Stanley Wong and Peggy Fong, of California.
Luna’s is open Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 376-2335.