Luna: Savior of Mitchell Street?

photo from the

(photo courtesy due to my lack of camera that evening)

So I know the title is a little silly, but if you’ve met the man, you’ve probably spoken with him at length about the way things are and the way they ought to be, and if you talk to him over a few glasses of wine, well, you start using silly, grandiose words like savior. The other night I had dinner at Paul Luna’s new place, Lunacy Black Market, tucked away on a quiet block of Mitchell Street. It’s my strong feeling that this is Atlanta’s greatest new place to spend an evening. It doesn’t feel like a restaurant, it feels like a movement, and Luna is a guy you just want to believe in, so here I go, passing the word along from what little platform I have.

First off, a brief history of Luna in Atlanta.  Paul Luna, the owner-chef “to whom words like ‘legendary’ and ‘bad boy’ have been routinely applied” has opened a handful of restaurants in the city in the last few decades, among them Eclipse de Luna and Loca Luna. He and his partner, Cynthia, just opened Lunacy Black Market, and I’m not going to rehash the reviews that are dotting the local blogs,  just link to them, because it seems like everyone has the same experience there – the food is simple, beautifully prepared, delicious, and beyond cheap. Disconcertingly cheap. No  liquor license yet, (though not for want of trying) so bring your own.

Um, did I mention cheap?  We had enough food, beautiful and delicate and hardy and filling and light all at the same time, to bring eight people to satiety, and our bill came to $92.  It’s like what Besha Rodell from CL said – the prices are so low that it appears money is of no interest to Luna.

It seems like Chef Luna is talking to everyone about running for Mayor in three years – this is where he’ll wax philosophic (on a slow night, at least) about what could be, about gentrification and concerned living and justice and what’s right. Or he’ll just serve you some really good food, either way.

And finally, it’s all about location. Maybe you skimmed over the part up before where I said they’re on Mitchell Street. Across the fenced-off “bike bridge” to Elliot Street (another of my favorite places in Atlanta). This is a quiet street, but not quiet in the comfortable warmth of sitting on the front porch, beer in hand watching fireflies float and listening to cicadas buzz. More of a quiet in the sense that not too many years ago “upright citizens” didn’t have much business walking down this street after dark. In the early 1920’s, this was a thriving hotel row near the passenger depot of the railroad station, and sitting there reminds me of how few old buildings we actually have kept and use in Atlanta. It’s a damn shame, to be honest.

I’ve rambled enough about the place – suffice it to say that I really believe it’s worth going to check out. After dinner walk across the bridge to Elliot Street and have a beer (I’ve heard the guys are having an anniversary party this Saturday), and start thinking about what it means to save a city.

4 Comments so far

  1. Laura (unregistered) on April 15th, 2010 @ 2:58 am

    Sounds awesome! I can’t wait to try it out next time I’m home. I love the social justice flair :)

  2. abby on April 15th, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    Thanks, Laura! It definitely gives a different flavor to a night out.

  3. Tamra (unregistered) on April 17th, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

    I went yesterday at lunch. SO good. But remember to tip like what the food tastes like, not what it costs. They were running a full dining room with one server and a food runner when I was there and those women were WORKING.

  4. abby on April 21st, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

    Good tip, thanks Tamra!

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