BIZNOTE: Luna Park Café to temporarily close

(File photo)

Just as the West Seattle Bridge reopens, one of the businesses that’s practically next to it has announced a temporary closure. Just received from Luna Park Café proprietor John Bennett:

We recently have felt the after-effects of Covid and have done our best to stay open as much as possible to serve all our faithful customers. Unfortunately we came to the decision to temporarily close in order to do some much-needed systems updates. We don’t know how long this will take us since we want to be the best we can be when we do reopen!

We will be continuing with our current hours (8 am-3 pm) through Sunday the 18th so we encourage everyone to come see us and order their favorite shake, hobo, or Luna special before we take our break!

We look forward to reopening and having another great 30+-year stint!

Luna Park marked its 33rd anniversary earlier this year.

44 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Luna Park Café to temporarily close"

  • susandennis September 7, 2022 (4:22 pm)

    awwww as a Pioneer Square resident, Luna’s was top on my list of West Seattle stops as soon as the bridge opens. I understand and appreciate but am sure disappointed.

    • sweetpea0821 September 9, 2022 (8:38 pm)

      so far we plan to be open Sunday Sept. 18, I’ll be there bright and early at 8:00 ! Please head on over that bridge and come see us for a great breakfast before our break!   

  • Justin September 7, 2022 (4:48 pm)

    Thank god they are only doing updates, you gave me a heart attack

  • Mj September 7, 2022 (5:17 pm)

    Interesting timing, restaurant staffing has been a big challenge for hospitality industry as a whole.  I can see an influx of customers could be taxing, but most businesses are looking forward to the enhanced customer traffic with the bridge reopening.

  • Taylor September 7, 2022 (5:26 pm)

    Have to wonder if this is related to them ending their dinner service and firing several employees last week? Was dining at The Spot on Monday morning and they were unusually busy from people giving up on the long waits at Luna (apparently due to lack of service staff).

  • Luna Fan September 7, 2022 (5:51 pm)

    It is disheartening to hear you are closing soon. Thank you for 33 years of great food and fun at Luna Park. We hope you can reopen soon! 

  • WSeaRes September 7, 2022 (5:56 pm)

    Love Luna Park Cafe!! Hope it’s truly a temporary closure and doesn’t become permanently closed.. I’ve seen that in the past where at first it’s announced as temporary closure and for one reason or another it doesn’t re-open… Hope that’s not the case in this instance as well. Great food, best milkshakes in the area and always decent friendly service as well! Wonder what changes they are making? Hopefully nothing drastic as I love the old interior and exterior of the restaurant that brings so much character to the place and is a tribute to a part of W Seattle long history, the original Luna Park that was just down the road… I’ll definitely be in to support them one or two more times before the temp closure…Hopefully the workers are taken care of as well during this closure. 

    • JB September 8, 2022 (4:56 pm)

      WSeaRes, unfortunately the proprietor is completely screwing over their staff. A week ago on Friday they told the evening crew (cooks, waitstaff, and hosts) halfway through their shift that they were changing the hours and were no longer needed starting the very next day. ZERO notice. Now they’ve also been told that NO ONE (except maybe some management) can count on a job when they reopen. They are going to do a complete new hiring. Sure, maybe some will get rehired, but really? We’ve gone there for 10+ years because the staff are as great as the food. So, back to your last statement WSeaRes, I think there is ZERO chance that they are doing anything at all to help their hourly employees with anything… 

      • Snags September 8, 2022 (8:26 pm)

        There’s plenty of very good paying restaurant jobs out there. Plenty. The staff will be just fine. Believe me….

        • Auntie September 8, 2022 (8:33 pm)

          That does not excuse the treatment of these employees. Yes, they can get other jobs. But don’t they deserve the respect of reasonable notice? I may think twice about patronizing Luna Park when it reopens. I would hope to see a lot of familiar faces, but they will probably be long gone to other places where they will, hopefully, be treated with more respect. 

      • Amy September 8, 2022 (9:52 pm)

        I am a former Luna Park employee. Covid and the resurfacing on the street directly impacted the business. They did their best to cater to the needs of the neighborhood and their employees.  The owners of Luna Park have always been fair and humble.  They continue to preserve the real “Old Seattle.”  It’s sad to see the negative assumptions formed by sleuths. Long Live Luna and the family who created it!

      • Amy September 8, 2022 (10:01 pm)

        The owner has done more than you know to help their staff and community. Do your research. 

      • Ab September 9, 2022 (4:30 pm)

        Wouldn’t that allow them to collect unemployment then if needed? 

  • Chris K September 7, 2022 (9:10 pm)

    I hope someone is feeding Sausage ;)

    • Samantha September 7, 2022 (10:20 pm)

      I believe Sausage lives up the street and has a home. But Luna Park is a big social draw for Sausage. Who will give Sausage all that attention during the closure?! 

    • Pete September 7, 2022 (10:22 pm)

      His owners live on the street above

    • Admyrl Byrd September 8, 2022 (8:55 am)

      Feel like I’m missing something here.  Is Sausage a cat or a dog?

      • D September 8, 2022 (1:44 pm)

        Sausage is a cat that hangs out at Luna Park.  He’s very friendly!

      • WA mom September 8, 2022 (2:09 pm)

        @Admyrl Bryson.  Sausage is the verrrrrrryyyy friendly black cat that makes himself the main greeter and entertainer at restaurant. Pict here making himself at home on a customers car. 

  • Rick September 8, 2022 (9:16 am)

    If it’s a dog I would assume Dachsund.

  • M September 8, 2022 (1:08 pm)

    They also FIRED all night crew (servers and cooks) WITHOUT any days notice! They were told not to come back again starting 9/03, they were told this on 9/02. Very unprofessional, people there live off those salaries, any notice would be better than none. Smh to new management. 

    • ColumbiaChris September 8, 2022 (3:59 pm)

      Seems really scummy. I’ll have to think twice about going back if/when they reopen.

    • Colby September 8, 2022 (4:21 pm)

      Late last year they suffered a tragic and sudden loss of one of their key leaders. Things haven’t been the same since. Owners have remained the same. I will say, closing on the day the bridge is set to open seems questionable, especially for a business that is so bridge adjacent. 

      • Celeste September 8, 2022 (5:53 pm)

        So sorry to hear this. Perhaps they will think of having a manager. No one is going to work there after hearing this.Wishing the best to past crew!!

      • Kalilah September 9, 2022 (4:53 pm)

        You are correct. Life itself will never be the same, tbh. And no Luna will never be the same with out her. But those of us who got to work with her and be her family do try to keep the place up to par and make her proud. 

        • sweetpea0821 September 9, 2022 (8:21 pm)

          yes, we miss her more than you all know!  We keep her in our hearts, and her photos on our wall at Luna and a garden in my yard in her honor! 

    • JB September 8, 2022 (6:39 pm)

      AND… no one gets their job back when they do reopen. Apparently completely starting over with hiring. Not treating their people right at all.

    • Sbo September 8, 2022 (8:39 pm)

      Well the alternative is. They could’ve kept their staff working then not had money to pay their payroll? That would’ve been scummy. Remember what happened when the govt mandated everyone to shut without notice. We all moved on and found our new journey (some of us still trying to dig out). It isn’t easy being a SBO. Trust and support  they are making the best decisions for the community. I’m wondering who started the go fund me page to keep the heritage alive. 

    • Get a source September 9, 2022 (7:06 am)

      Let’s see a reliable source before we all rush to judgment of a business trying to come back.

    • Ds September 19, 2022 (1:10 pm)

      They were laid off and can get unemployment. My brother is one of those employees.  He is getting unemployment.  If you were fired that would be a problem.

  • Anon September 8, 2022 (5:47 pm)

    Not the same without Marie anyway 

    • With An I September 9, 2022 (12:18 am)

      I feel the exact same way. Hugs. 

    • sweetpea0821 September 9, 2022 (8:18 pm)

      I work there, and knew her as a child. It really is not the same without her. We sure do miss her!  I think of her every day, and made a flower garden in my yard for her.  <3 

  • M September 8, 2022 (10:44 pm)

    I ate there today. I asked the manager. They shortened their hours in hopes of keeping it open while they work on upgrading stuff in an old building. They then realized it wasn’t possible to keep it open with shorter hours while doing the upgrade. I had great service at lunch.

  • M. September 9, 2022 (7:35 am)

    Wow! I dodged a bullet when they were looking for a prep job, i applied, then they asked if I’d work the line. That was 3 weeks ago.

  • Michael September 9, 2022 (12:36 pm)

    We love LP, but they had a couple of new servers who mostly sat around and talked to each other and were not particularly attentive to the customers while the third server ran around like crazy trying to keep up. If those two were fired, that is fine with me. But no problems with the rest. The place has just not been the same for quite some time now. But I surely do hope they reopen. Like I said, we love it there. And of course Sausage is always a highlight of the visit. 

  • JW September 9, 2022 (4:56 pm)

    My family eats at Luna park almost every weekend. Things understandably changed some during the start of the pandemic, but that was totally understandable. I also get the difficulty of a business staying open when needing to make improvements but we’d want to see familiar faces when they open back up. Luna Park is more than the food

  • sweetpea0821 September 9, 2022 (8:05 pm)

     Thank you to everyone that has been so supportive!    I work at Luna, I have been there 33 years. No one got fired, unless they walked out before our official meeting on Tuesday. Yes, Friday folks were told hours would be cut and hours changed, and to please hold… until Tuesday when we had our meeting, when we were informed of the impending closure for upgrades. Everyone has been offered help with unemployment, and also references to other jobs with other restaurants that we are friends with. I do not recognize most of the commenters as people I know, but appreciate folks being patient and waiting to hear what ACTUALLY happens, rather than post something they don’t really know about.  There is not a timeline for the work that is being done. ( you know how you might order some new dishwasher and it takes forever? we are going through that also with all the new equipment installation we are doing. ) Luna is an old building. We have appreciated all of the support thru covid, and before that, all the work on Avalon. I am not a manager nor spokesperson, I’m just the old lady who has worked weekends forever, and before that, many other hours. I’m looking forward to the changes we have coming to make Luna better, and do feel for my coworkers in this hard time. ( I lost my main job somewhere else during covid after 33 years. it was rough, but I survived, just as we all have. ) I love Luna, I’ve known the family the whole time. I’ve probably waited on you (I’ve watched our customers kids grow up, I’ve hired those kids! I’ve been to the funerals of regulars, I’ve been there for my coworkers.) I plan to go back after all of the great upgrades have been done. Please remember, you may hear gossip, you may hear something from an employee having a hard time with this. I know it sucks. I will be there for my coworkers. I will help when and where I can, as I always have done. Please remember, if you just hear rumors, that’s all it is. And please don’t spread info you don’t actually know. I did not see any of you at our meeting. I’m really just looking forward to seeing all of my regulars the next two Sundays, (beware, it’s going to be crazy busy, so please pack your patience!) And I look forward to seeing you all on our reopening. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • Colby September 9, 2022 (10:04 pm)

      Thank you Sweetpea! Sorry that Sarah and I haven’t been in as often as we used to. Covid really messed everything up. Miss the crew and miss Marie like crazy. We will be back! 100%

    • Kalilah September 9, 2022 (10:46 pm)

      I love you!!! ❤️ 

    • TODD D Martin September 10, 2022 (12:00 am)

      Knowing the owner and his family..I have always been treated, very nice. I love the place. Sometimes upgrades need to happen. I hope they don’t take too long, but they are not the only restaurant that has had issues. The pandemic was hard…many places and  didn’t make it. Props to Luna Park for hanging in there. The owner has saved many old buildings from destruction. Helped raise money to save other businesses…..and is a great community leader. I see so many help wanted signs in West Seattle. I am hoping for the best for everyone.  

  • sweetpea0821 September 9, 2022 (9:04 pm)

    PS   If anything and no matter how you feel about the temp closure, please come by the next two weeks and support those that will still be working hard to serve you those yummy breakies, burgers, and milkshakes! You are helping all the employees if you do!

  • John Bennett September 10, 2022 (8:55 am)

    Thank you Sweetpea and Kalilah for your responses. You have both been part of the Luna team for so long, you really know what’s going on. I started Luna Park cafe in 1988 after I purchased the building. At the time it was Pat And Ron’s Tavern. It was possibly the worst bar in West Seattle. The local police told me they got calls almost nightly, but didn’t respond because it was so out of control. When the bar moved out in the middle of the night, I put the building up for rent. I got no takers for months, probably because at the time the neighborhood was pretty sketchy and dirty. I was a regular at Websters ( where West Seattle nursery is now ), where my Friend Sandra worked. She suggested that I open a cafe in the vacant building. My restaurant experience was only that I had eaten at restaurants before so I kinda jumped in blind. We opened the day after St Patrick’s day 1989. From the start we had lines out the door. 33 years later Luna has been through a lot. Our plan when we designed the cafe was a simple soup and sandwich lunch counter but somehow turned into breakfast , lunch, and dinner, 7 days a week, 362 days a year. The kitchen was not designed for this kind of food production and is quite small. But somehow we made it work. Luna really took on a life of its own. We are on our 3rd generation of Batmobile riders and have provided first jobs for countless teenagers. Over the years we have had to reset, including the first week when we realized the building was infested with carpenter ants. We had to close and tent the building for 2 days. We have had other hurdles along the way , most recently the Avalon Way repaving  project in 2019. That project almost put us out of business with six figure losses that year. Not long after that we went into the pandemic and the bridge closed. Surprisingly we survived these 2 catastrophes. We restructured the business model to provide to-go ordering and we’re lucky to have outdoor seating. The closed bridge actually didn’t affect us as much as you might imagine. I think because most of our customers are faithful West Seattleites and have been patrons for so many years. I also feel like the bridge closure might have given us a “ captive audience”. We survived all these crisis’ only to realize that we needed to do another reset. The restaurant business is hard on a building and equipment. No matter how many bandaids you put on, eventually you need to close for a period and do a major revamp. This is one of many times we have had to do this over 33 years. It’s unfortunate and stressful and not easy for anyone… but it has to be done. We always reopen a better business for both customers and employees. Sorry for the long post, but I felt I needed to get this out. Hopefully Luna Park Cafe will be around for generations to come. On a last note, I doubt I can put into words my feelings about our beloved Marie. She was like a daughter to me. Best friend of my daughter and always a part of our family since she was a child. Her first job was at Luna making milkshakes and she worked her way up to manager. He tragic death was so unexpected and devastating. We will forever her miss her, and yes Luna will never be the same. We all love you Sweet Marie.

      Thank you,John Bennett Luna Park Cafe

    • Charles R. Cross September 13, 2022 (9:02 pm)

      Thanks for the full report John. I’ve always loved Luna Park, and I can say unequivocally that John Bennett understands old Seattle, design, and history better than almost any person I’ve ever met. I’d gladly vote him mayor, and let him run the whole city. I appreciate what he’s done with Luna Park, and I will certainly be back. 

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