Luna owner moving to 'new chapter' after closure

Luna owner moving to 'new chapter' after closure

CHAMPAIGN — The owner of the recently closed Luna Restaurant in downtown Champaign said she's ready to do something different.

Raquel Aikman, who operated the restaurant for a decade, told The News-Gazette by email: "I am recently married and a new mom, and with just having turned an exciting 40, I am ready to start a new chapter."

Aikman said the restaurant — located at the south end of the former Illinois Central Railroad station at 116 N. Chestnut St. — "represented a lot of the culinary experiences I gained from my decade living abroad and three-year culinary school in Switzerland."

Aikamn said she wanted to thank employees and customers who have patronized the restaurant since 2003.

The restaurant, originally known as Cafe Luna, was first located in the College Corner Mall at Fourth and Green streets in Champaign's Campustown. It moved to the former train station in 2008.

The move gave it greater indoor seating, along with a patio.

Raquel Aikman's brother, Iren Aikman, who had worked at the old location, chose the new spot after he and his wife moved to San Francisco in 2007. When the restaurant opened at the new location, he said he planned to return to Luna several days each month, with Raquel serving as executive chef and manager.

Luna promoted the "small-plate concept," serving a wide variety of tapas as well as entrees and a selection of wines.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Restaurants
Categories (3):News, Restaurants, Business

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Uh huh wrote on January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

I went there once...and that was one time too many.  The service was horrible, I tried to order two different items on the menu but couldn't have either because they didn't have the ingredients to make them, it was rather expensive for the amount of food served, the food tasted like crap, and half of our party got food poisoning. 

Joe American wrote on January 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I agree with your sentiments that it was expensive for what you received.  The "small plate concept" is key for "rip-off".  I went once at the old location and it was such a turn-off that I never returned.  It's taken up good real estate for 4 years too many.

americanproud wrote on January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

I second Uh-Huh's "emotion."  I went there once, as well, and although there were maybe 4-5 customers total, I had to wait at the hostess station for 10 minutes before anyone acknowledged that I was there.  One of the waitresses was talking on her cell phone, and the bartender was wiping down the bar.  When the hostess finally saw me, she didn't even apologize for the delay.  She seated me, but no one came to the table to take my order.  I left without ordering and never went back.  Whatever happened to customer service?

fletcher6666 wrote on January 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

We loved this restaurant and I'm sad to see it go. We even received gift certificates for Christmas that will go to waste :(

syzlack wrote on January 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Apparently there are two couples still seated at a table in Luna who failed to see the note on the door and are simply assuming that the service is somewhat slower than usual.

ScottC wrote on January 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

It was really very good when it was on campus.  I don't know what happened, but it went way down hill despite the "nicer" location.  I hope the owners are reading this and will open something again with the original Luna in mind.  It was really very nice.

johnny wrote on April 23, 2013 at 6:04 am

I had an informal birthday party there, and despite being promised a chair, my friend had to stand the whole time.  This despite calling in advance with a head count, and there were only four or five of us.  Typical of the downtown location.