The first time I met Lunna, the namesake of this instantly likable new cafe on Central Avenue in Bushwick, she was busy wiping down the open front door with a tiny tissue. As I approached to say hello and go inside, she extended her arm and began scrubbing my hand with a rag, a game we proceeded to play for several minutes.
Lunna, it should be said, is 18 months old, and the daughter of Yashary Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican-born Bushwick resident who opened Lunna’s Cafe about a month ago.
Rodriguez bought the place last fall from her dad—he ran it as Seven Sushi, then Tacos Molly, before getting out of the business entirely when the pandemic hit). She has completely transformed the interior–among other things, there’s now a swing–built a lovely curbside dining area, and gave the neighborhood a nice new go-to for daytime coffee, feasting and/or relaxing.
“Since I was 18 in Puerto Rico I’ve worked as a bartender and waitress in all kinds of places,” Rodgriguez told Gothamist. “And the thing I like most about it is the service that I give people, making them feel comfortable and at home. So opening my own restaurant felt like the right next step.”
The brunchy all-day menu at Lunna’s Cafe is simple and appealing, with several solid vegan and vegetarian options in every category. The vegan Power Waffle, for example, is made from oat, chia seed, flaxseed, and soy milk, but didn’t taste anywhere near as austere as that may sound, especially with all those berries (and cashews! and powdered sugar!) on top, as well as a drenching of maple syrup. Other dishes on the sweet side of things include Nutella Pancakes and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast.
The Power Tofu Scramble, studded with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and cilantro, also made for a satisfying meal, accompanied by sliced, spicy vegan sausage and a pile of some first-rate home fries, cooked up crisp from several sorts of potatoes. The Avocado Toast was really more like Guacamole Toast, which is fine with me when the guac is this good. It’s a huge portion too, so feel free to split it with someone as a side dish.
Lunna’s Margherita Flatbread ate like an afterschool snack, striking the appropriate balance among the tomato sauce (not too sweet), melted mozzarella (gooey), and “crust” (soft and doughy). There are also a couple of big salads available, a pair of Turkey Sliders that come with those great home fries, and actual eggs which you can order scrambled or fried on toast with turkey bacon. For a slightly silly sugary treat, get the Cookies and Cream Latte.
Overall, Lunna’s is a pleasant neighborhood cafe, nothing flashy here, instead you’ll find they’re serving up a perfect homecooked vibe (hold the meat).
Lunna’s Cafe is located at 157 Central Avenue, between Willoughby Avenue and Suydam Street, and is currently open on Tuesdays through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (@lunnascafe)