For foodie Sarah Levine, opening a restaurant seemed like a natural response after a few seasons in the industry.
“I always worked in restaurants, so I have a background in the industry.” Levine said. “I love to cook and I wanted to a place that I could make my own.”
Levine, a Temple marketing alumna, now has two restaurants to her name after the opening of her second Luna Cafe earlier this month on North 3rd Street in Kensington. The cafe, which features all locally sourced food and works with businesses in the area, comes after the glowing success of her first location in Old City, which opened in 2015.
After years residing in the community, Levine said she saw the opportunity to open a second location and be a part of the growing Kensington neighborhood.
“I moved into this neighborhood in 2007 when I was a sophomore at Temple and I’ve watched the neighborhood over the past 10 years grow and become this really great, amazing place to live,” Levine said.
As one of few restaurants in Kensington, Levine said she hopes Luna can be a spot for community building.The cafe, which is open for both breakfast and lunch, held a soft launch in February for neighborhood residents before their official opening in March to create buzz in the area.
“We had mostly people from the neighborhood come by with some people mentioning how they only live two blocks away,” Levine said. “Some people have said how happy they are to have us here just for somewhere to go and get food.”
“This neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of places to eat for residents in the area. I think that makes it a more homey location for locals to come and eat,” added Eleanor Sicko, a server and sophomore advertising major at Temple.
Breakfast favorites from the cafe include rotating fruit parfaits, a local smoked gouda and turkey sausage muffin and breakfast tacos on corn tortillas. In addition, the cafe offers a list of seasonal drinks, including housemade lemonade and kombucha, and salads and sandwiches featuring local meat and cheeses.
Levine said she creates all of her unique eats from locally sourced ingredients. All food and ingredients served at Luna are from within 100 miles of Philadelphia and the cafe also works with local companies like Wildflour Bakery and La Colombe.
“I believe you should work on things that you are passionate about and sustainability is one of those things for me,” Levine said. “Today we consume so many processed foods and so many grab and go items and I think can be done well and quickly, but it can also be done with the right ingredients.”
Server Thomas Brown thought the combination of fresh ingredients and an up-and-coming neighborhood offered an opportunity for Luna to flourish.
“I think it’s a great space. Just from walking around here, there’s a lot of building and construction coming up so I think its a positive for the location.”
The new cafe has a more open floor plan than than the prior location as well as available outdoor seating, but the major difference Levine noticed was the clientele.
“Old City has tourists, residents, businesses and this is just all neighborhood,” Levine said.
Levine hopes Luna Cafe can continue to grow and build neighborhood relations. She hopes to hold community events and work with local businesses like St. Benjamin Brewing.
“I wanted to be a part of the revival on American street and just be a part of the neighborhood,” Levine said.
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