Six years after Luna Park at 694 Valencia St. closed, the location is being revived as LUNA by at least two partners of the Wayfare Tavern on Sacramento Street.
“We wanted to really embrace our community and build something for the area, so what better thing than using part of the name?” said Tony Marcell, the project’s managing partner, who compared the decision to naming a child after a parent.
The new business, which Marcell said will open around June, will be “something nostalgic and also indigenous to the place and space.” It will even keep the Luna Park sign’s original design.
“We’re redoing it as we speak, with the original maker of the design,” Marcell said.
The sign, which previously read “Luna Park Kitchen and Cocktails,” will now read, “LUNA American Brasserie.”
A brasserie is a casual restaurant that often serves beer and wine.
The future LUNA seems to fit that bill, featuring a menu with mac and cheese and burgers, but also buttermilk-fried burrata and a forest mushroom bolognese with pappardelle pasta.
“We want it to be something classic and familiar, but also has a little grit and a little bougie and a little sexy,” he said.
The new business owners also recently secured a license to sell alcohol, something that has been attempted unsuccessfully three times since Luna Park closed, Mission Local reported in early 2019.
The first attempt, in 2015, was made by an LLC connected to Plumpjack Group, a group founded by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The other two attempts came from William Clarke, owner of the now-closed brunch spot Mission Beach Cafe, who submitted, then withdrew, applications in 2016 and 2017.
The place sold in December 2018 to Skyline 91 SF Apartment Investors, Inc., for about $1.75 million. At the time, Clarke from Mission Beach Cafe was involved in the project.
Marcell and his team started trying to secure the lease in August, 2019, after hearing that the space was available.
It’s unclear when Clarke walked away from the project, but he was evicted from his storefront in June 2019 amid a flurry of legal troubles. Clarke could not be reached for comment.
Marcell’s team chose to temporarily halt work on the new restaurant in March, 2020, when Covid-19 first entered San Francisco, and restarted work in October, when infection rates were at their lowest point since June.
“We realized if we started to pick the project back up now, we had six to nine months left to complete the project,” Marcell said.
That decision was seemingly well-timed. In January, the city pledged to vaccinate every resident seeking the vaccine by June 30, and President Joe Biden has since stated that the country should have enough vaccines for every American by mid-May. Indoor dining also recently reopened at 25 percent capacity and should only expand as more residents get vaccinated.
Marcell said he was excited to participate in the Slow Streets program on Valencia Street during the weekends, and intends to build a parklet in front of the business.
“It’s super fun and people like being out and about and that’s a great thing that the city’s doing,” he said.
The new restaurant will also have a dedicated to-go window facing 18th Street for residents who aren’t eating in and to accommodate the increase in delivery app purchases that many restaurants have seen during the pandemic.
Glad to see this space coming back to life. It has been closed for so long. We wish luck to the new owners and hope to visit once it is open
Pleased that Plumpjack (stay in the Marina, pls) nor that now-defunct Mission Beach didn’t get this spot.