The end is only the begining

It’s been a crazy beautiful year for Lucky Luna and friends.  We wanted to take the opportunity to share with everyone some of our most memorable moments of laughter, love, food and fun.

We started out the year participating (and winning some) bloody mary festivals.  Ken also was invited to speak about Taiwanese food and culture with the awesome author and foodie, Cathy Erway, in an event to launch her book, The Food of Taiwan.

 

While enjoying some of Greenpoint sights, we also reveled in a little press attention- from Edible Magazine and Thrillist to Brooklyn Magazine.

We also were honored to host so many amazing talents at Lucky Luna, through our gallery shows, Comedy Nights, musical performances, and Artist Salons.

And of course, we focused on some food exploration and experimentations.

And cocktails, too!

We also were able to share in the joys of our neighbors, friends and made new ones!

And as always, our darling Drake (@DraketheUnderDog) is there for comfort and comic relief.

Here’s to an amazing new year!

Thanks to each and every one of you, 2015 is one for the books!

 

Is it really snowing??????

As we prepare for the full fledged season of hot toddies and all things bourbon, sidewalk shoveling, oversized sweaters and infinity scarves, we would like to take a moment and look back at these past couple of months in our Lucky world.

The Halloween/Día de los Muertos weekend was a fun one, filled with costumes, candy, altars, trick-or-treaters… With the current show, La Vida de los Muertos, the perfect backdrop was set for the festivities.

Friday, Ken and Marisa tried to be as “professional” as possible, and Saturday, our awesome make-up artist neighbor, Kate, donated her time and skills to transform their faces.

Sunday, we cheered on the amazing marathoners for a few minutes before brunch and mimosas.

 

We experimented with new drinks and bites, a few of which have found their way to our autumn menu.

 

We also experienced a little print fame and mingled with celebrities…  our michelada is featured in New York Magazine’s Winter Wedding Issue! And Ken was affectionately “greeted” by Swatch, the beloved resident of Mood, frequently featured on Project Runway.

 

And of course, Drake, our tried and true companion, mascot and comic relief, has been as patient and playful as ever.

So what’s in store????

First- we’re making the move to Seamless and expanding our delivery range- stay tuned!

Second- we’re filling the calendar for New Year’s festivities, art shows, artist salons and events, movies, swap meets, and more! Check back for updates and info on how to get involved.

Email info@luckyluna-ny.com to be added to our event email list & follow us on twitter @luckylunany to stay in the loop!

 

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Summer Love

Summer 2014 has been pretty eventful thus far-

From our very first artist salon ending in a late night tango 

(if you would like to receive notice of our events, please send an email with subject “Add me!” to info@luckyluna-ny.com – and we promise not to flood your inbox!)

 

to World Cup frenzy

 

and Department of Health inspections

to celebrating a birthday and a wedding!

 

We also added a bunch of new concoctions to our “Cocktail del Dia” collection

 

We started #WinoWednesday with $2 off all wine by the glass

and #TacoTuesday featuring $1 Tecate and $2 Espolón Tequila shots with an order of 2 tacos

And, by popular demand and consistent request, we have started to jar our ¡HOT! sauce (you can pick up a 3oz jar at Lucky Luna for only $6) 

So while we all know that the approaching autumn is inevitable, Drake reminds us to savor every sunny day with unbridled enthusiasm.  See you at Lucky Luna!

 

 

 

 

 

Say Hello to Summer!!!

As Lucky Luna bids adieu to spring, we wanted to share some of the activities and dishes we have enjoyed since our last update.

Negroni Week was a lot of fun as we celebrated this classic cocktail and did a slew of original variations (a new one each day) all in the name of charity. Check out our takes below:

Hop Fresh  House Hop-infused Gin, London Dry Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Branca Menta

The Rossellini Dry Sherry, Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Dry Vermouth

Rum and Rye Roni  Smith & Cross Jamaican Overproof Rum, Rye, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Chocolate Bitters

Agave Garden  Mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Cynar, Aperol, Campari and Angostura Bitters

Poblano Rojo  Gin, Campari, Ancho Chili Liquor, Cynar and Orange Bitters

The Managua  Rum, Dry Vermouth, Velvet Falernum, Campari

 

And in accordance to our philosophy of consistently finding ways to create and engage the community in arts and services, not just through delicious food and drink, Lucky Luna hosted its first Ladies Swap Meet!  Participants brought in choice items such as clothing, art, books, shoes and more to trade, swap and just give away to other attendees.  The only rule was that items could not be exchanged for money, only other goods or services.  New friendships were formed over piles of clothes, cocktails, and laughter.

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Lucky Luna also has been working diligently on setting up our Take-Out Window!

As summer has been approaching with her hot and sunny days and warm nights, we have been experimenting with some cool dishes, savoring spicy Micheladas and enjoying visits from our furry neighbors out for a stroll!

AND we got another slew of Kickstarter out in the mail with one round left!

And received our Best and Most Original Bloody Mary plaques!

Last but not least—- we FINALLY, after a year of requests, have a graffiti-free restaurant!!!!

And so we welcome summer with open arms and eagerly await new surprises, new guests, and new adventures! Happy Summer!!! 

Adios Winter, Bienvenida Spring!!!

Lucky Luna celebrated its one month anniversary not too long ago and what a month it was!!

We rode into the Year of the Horse with utter enthusiasm. Zagat did a sweet little shout-out listing us among the 12 Must Try Chinese Restaurants to ring in the new year and packed the house!

Rolling into February, Lucky Luna was the home for celebrating new and old friendships, current and prospective lovers, and a birthday or two…..

Lucky Chef Howard Jang and his “Peking” Duck Confit Bao recipe were featured by Brooklyn Cooking.  And the Lucky Luna team served up the rising star bao for a fundraiser benefitting the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a fantastic high school full of brilliant young people and dedicated teachers.  Needless to say, word quickly spread throughout the event and a consistent line of bao fans graced our table, with many repeat eaters.

We’ve also enjoyed a month of gastronomic and cocktail experiments that have resulted in a few staples.

One of these such experiments that had slowly been cultivated over some serious home brunching and perfected at Lucky Luna, is our Kimchee and Nori Bloody Mary, which Libby VanderPloeg highlights in her “Recipes Gone Wild” section of Greenpointers.com. 

In the process of making all of these delicious drinks, we managed to break three hand-held juicers in less than two weeks on what may be the toughest limes known to humankind, that, or we just have some seriously strong grips.  So we upgraded to the mega model.

Last but not least, the Lucky Luna crew enjoyed their first family field trip to see our very own Meg V Snead sing her heart out at the Legion last week.  A “Jill” of all trades, Meg sings, plays the ukulele, is a cinematographer, steadicam operator and photographer in addition to being a kickass server! Her folky rendition of “Gangsta’s Paradise” on the uke complemented by her bf David’s master beat boxing, is simply delightful.

And so now, as we all patiently await a sunny spring that sticks, Lucky Luna is preparing to add to the lunch AND brunch offerings on “This Side of McGuinness”!!!!!!!!!!!! Check us out next week to see what we came up with– but don’t worry, this weekend we are still serving up our Kimchee and Nori Bloody Mary AND our Tequila Maria.

This Side of McGuinness

So I guess it’s really happening…..

It’s been a whirlwind week for the Lucky Luna team.

To the moon and back with emotions, ideas, revampings, panic, and elation.  Exactly one week ago we invited a troop of friends and family to give us their constructive criticisms on the whole package of what is Lucky Luna— and they did.  And we listened.

Thursday afternoon we unlocked the door, lit a couple of candles and flipped that open sign.  In an increasingly solid trickle, neighbors and friends and random passerby-ers graced the tables and barstools of our beloved restaurant.  We learned stories and gossip about the neighborhood, the people, and Greenpoint history from the local denizens. Tales of old school mob allegiances, oil companies and waterfront conspiracies, aspirations for community gardens, and memories of someone’s first (and best) job at the former “Frozen Fantasies” just up the street— which was an ice cream shop in case it wasn’t clear 😉

We solidified our understanding of, and reverence for, “this side of McGuinness”, as repeatedly uttered by our neighbors.  And while we hold no ill will or distaste for “the other side of McGuinness” or as Rosie of Greenpointers says, “OSOM”— we are proud members of “this side.”

The eye-opening realization that this is really actually happening has been seeing our name, our food, our story, on the pages of a spattering of media outlets. We had been trying to get Google to acknowledge our existence on the map, unsuccessfully so for months.  And wham! one Yelp review (which was awesome!) and we are legitimized by Google so that Iphones and Androids alike can plan routes from their front door to ours. And with that one Yelp,  the reviews and articles have been rolling.  It’s surreal.  I must admit though, it’s a terrifying feeling, too.  To be judged doesn’t feel so fantastic…… but watching a neighbor’s face light up after one bite of a steamed bun, or slowly close their eyes, savoring that first sip of their cocktail, or the belly laughs had by two neighbors becoming instant friends from sitting side-by-side at our bar— are priceless and make the whole experience worth it.

Thanks for an incredible week and here’s to a million more!

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Almost

The open sign is almost visible.  

The soft hum of a crowded restaurant is almost audible.

The waft of Howard’s delicious steamed Peking duck confit bao almost tickles my nose.

And the sweet nectar of Ken’s Mezcal “In Fashion” cocktail almost warms my mouth.

Almost.

December started off with the long-awaited arrival of our t-shirts, hoodies, and tote bags.  Below the crew models the goods joined by our dear Ashley Mellinger, showing off her Lucky Luna bag on the way to grocery shop. 

We finished sealing the bar and the tables, not without a few hiccups, of course. 

We also enjoyed what some may consider the most enjoyable aspect of opening a restaurant— the samples!!!! 

Our mascot, Drake, has kept us entertained and offered comic relief from the stresses. He also made an excellent nap buddy for the times when exhaustion takes over.

The most enjoyable part we must say, has been putting the finishing touches on Lucky Luna, a place that at times seemed to exist only in our minds and through our descriptions that may have been incoherent to anyone but us.  

We are in the final stretch to prying open Lucky Luna’s doors to the world.  Keep your eyes and ears perked for the grand announcement!!! And don’t forget to follow us @LuckyLunaNY on Twitter and Instagram for updates and current happenings. 

The tunnel is beginning to see more light

What a busy few weeks the LL crew has had! In our absentia from the blog world, we have been continuing our journey building and branding Lucky Luna, balancing extreme productivity with extreme patience.  Timelines are strange creatures when it comes to opening a restaurant— twisting and turning and folding back on themselves.  The pace is good, however.  Now it appears that every two steps forward are indeed two steps forward, with perhaps only a slight slip back, or just to the side rather.

Since our last post, the bar and backbar have been put together, wallpaper has been painted, the benches built and tables refinished.  With the leftover wood and scraps from all of the major construction, we managed to build a wine rack and small shelf that Ken thinks looks like a robot.

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We also made stencils, dressed up a couple walls and fancied up a salvaged shelving unit, while Howard tested out some pozole recipes.  Drake found none of it amusing.

And of course, we did more sanding.

We also squeezed in a short trip through the midwest to see loved ones, enjoy the Ohio Turnpike, fill our bellies with pumpkin cheesecake and tap our toes to the tunes of the Sugar Beets straight out of Michigan.

We were also fortunate enough to help out at the Taste 4 the Philippines fundraiser this past week, co-sponsored by TALDE, Thistly Hill Tavern, Pork Slope and The Green Building, to benefit the typhoon victims.  Restaurants from all over NYC donated their time and talent to offer guests tasty treats and libations from the Philippines and beyond.  Those who were not able to participate, gave generously to the silent auction.  Thanks to the organizing efforts and an amazing turnout, the event brought in over 30 grand in donations!

On Thursday, Lucky Luna finally got an awning of its very own!!!!

AND the long awaited piece of paper that means so very much, has been bestowed upon us at last!!!!

Done Kicking, on to More Painting

It has been another jam-packed week for the Lucky crew.

First and foremost, we met our Kickstarter goal!!!! What a rewarding experience to have been able to share the creation of Lucky Luna with so many people AND receive soooooooo much support on top of it all! I don’t know how many times I can say it, but we are truly humbled by the generosity and love shown.  We could not have done it without our amazing friends and family who have been with us through thick and thin, way before Lucky Luna began this journey.  And our fans, what an amazing group of people you are! To believe in us, our vision and our ability to execute it is inspirational, motivational and simply wonderful.

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While not staring at our Kickstarter pages and refreshing every 30 seconds, we did manage to do some actual work on Lucky Luna.  The trillion layers of paint that never seemed to end (with more to go yet!) and our first attempt at hanging wallpaper filled our days and nights.  The glimmer of  light came when we were joined by friends who came bearing gifts of congrats, providing us with a well-needed break, and an invitation by another to a lovely wine-tasting, to help us find our perfect California Cab.

Tired but we keep on trekking.  At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂      OUR WAY.

Lucky Luna Workout and Diet Routine

A few of the unexpected physical results of starting a restaurant may include:

  • overdeveloped trap and lat muscles from a week worth of painting ceilings and walls
  • nice and tight forearms from a handful 8 hour shifts sanding
  • loose waistbands from too many days forgetting to eat until 10pm intermixed with daily walks with the puppy for much needed fresh air and decompression

It’s true.  Starting a business is not for the faint or weary.  It may result in weight loss, grey hair, and inexplicable bouts of energy and euphoria or paranoia and pessimism.  

The key to survival is twofold.

1) It requires awesome friends and family who tell you that you are not crazy and that they believe in you.  They even bring you sandwiches (because they know you probably forgot to eat) or coffee (because they know you’ll be at it for another 6 hours).  They walk your puppy when you need to stay and put on just one more coat before you can leave.  They tell other people how rad they think you are and how they have watched you cultivate and develop your vision for years.  They perfectly time making you dinner while you’re prying tiles from the kitchen floor, so it’s hot and ready when you finally get home.  They also give you actual money to help you make it all happen (Kickstarter!)

2) It requires an equally awesome team.  The stressful, confusing, exciting, exhilarating, and nauseating experience of opening a restaurant is best experienced in the company of others, especially the others who are going through all of the same emotions.  The team is more than that though.  The team fills in where you can’t and picks up the pieces you accidentally dropped.  The team compliments and complements you, both vital to sanity and well-rounded plans of action.

For these reasons, the Lucky Luna crew feels pretty darn lucky.

Since we embarked on this venture we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  We all have experience opening restaurants for other people, but adding our own blood, sweat and tears AND  money, ideas, creativity and heart, is in an entirely different dimension.  The stakes are higher, but the rewards are greater, too.  Not monetary rewards (no one goes into the restaurant biz for that!), but rather the types that come with the satisfaction of molding and shaping a vision into a reality that incorporates the ethics, the ideas, and the talents you and your team possess into this beautiful thing that is finally free to exist outside of your imagination.

We’re still at the molding stage, the sweaty (and sometimes bloody and tear-filled) stage of the process but we get glimpses of the end here and there. And it looks pretty.

We thank all of you who have shared in the process with us.  We are stronger, smarter and happier people because of you and Lucky Luna is one step closer to being a reality each and every day thanks to you.  We have almost hit our Kickstarter goal of 28k!  You all have made this possible! THANK YOU!!!

Keep sharing, keep liking ( and contributing 😉  ) with 4 days left to make the final push!! It’s all or nothing folks! 

🙂 

XOXO

Marisa, Ken, and Howard