From Bennigan’s to Ben Pao, Chicago area diners have seen a lot of restaurants come and go since the eighties. It seems that local foodies are fickle when it comes to their go-to eatery in the Windy City.
But if you venture off to the River North area, you’ll discover a charming café that has survived—and thrived—at its Dearborn Street location for a quarter century. Situated in the shadows of the venerable Holy Name Cathedral, Bella Luna Cafe has been satisfying hungry patrons since it opened its doors in 1987.
Owner Danny Alberga attributes Bella Luna’s recipe for success to a number of key ingredients. For starters, there’s food quality. Whether it’s a signature pizza or a savory sandwich, every made-to-order selection is prepared to the customer’s specifications and arrives piping hot at their table. Alberga puts it best when he says, “if you want a sandwich that’s made in a hurry, head over to McDonald’s!”
Like others, Alberga has witnessed a large share of restaurant turnover in the area. He sees big-name food chains open to much fanfare and shut their doors a few years later. Alberga believes that his hands-on approach is another reason why Bella Luna has remained viable for so many years. The fact that Alberga is a fixture at the restaurant helps him personally gauge everything from food quality to customer feedback.
As a longtime restaurateur, Alberga has witnessed everything from boom years to economic downturns. To that end, he believes that Bella Luna offers a variety of satisfying ways to bolster your bottom line during these challenging times. He cited the $7.95 weekday lunch buffet that includes salad, pizza, pasta, meatballs, sausage, and other selections. Alberga also noted that Bella Luna runs a dinner special from Sunday through Thursday. Here, diners can order a large 16” pizza with two glasses of house wine for just $14.95.
In addition to these affordable options, Bella Luna prides itself on offering large portions of its highly regarded Chicken Parmesan, Eight Finger Cavatelli, and other customer favorites. This menu “abbondanza” allows diners to share a delicious meal for what amounts to half off. On a sweet side note, the homemade tiramisu has received rave reviews and should be sampled at all costs!
Bella Luna also features live entertainment on selected evenings. Up-and-coming performer Richie Shep will be serenading diners on Saturday, November 24th. Shep will also be taking the stage at the holiday party on Saturday, December 8th as he croons a variety of Christmas tunes for the Bella Luna crew. With Christmas just around the corner, party-throwers are encouraged to book holiday parties at Bella Luna, with packages starting at just $9.95 per person. Call 312-316-0007 for more details.
Bella Luna is located at 731 N. Dearborn, at the corner of Superior and Dearborn. Visit http://www.bellalunachicago.com/index.htm for information on specials, online ordering, and a healthy dash of Dean Martin music!