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Luna’s Bistro to offer small plates for Barkley movie crowd

Luna's Bistro, next to the Barkley movie theater in Bellingham, shown July 28, 2015. The restaurant is closing on Aug. 3 for two weeks to remodel and change the concept. It will go from a more formal Italian restaurant to a casual spot serving small dishes to share.
Luna's Bistro, next to the Barkley movie theater in Bellingham, shown July 28, 2015. The restaurant is closing on Aug. 3 for two weeks to remodel and change the concept. It will go from a more formal Italian restaurant to a casual spot serving small dishes to share. The Bellingham Herald

Luna’s Bistro will serve its last meal as an upscale Italian restaurant on Monday, Aug. 3, then close its doors for two weeks for a remodel that will turn it into a casual tapas spot near the Barkley movie theaters.

The name of Luna’s Bistro, at 3004 Cinema Place, will remain the same, but the menu will get a major revamp. Owner Jesse Cantu, who also owns the popular Jalapenos Mexican restaurants, has brought in two chefs to develop a menu of small plates for people to share. Dishes will range from shrimp cakes to fried ravioli, sliders to caprese salad. The prices will be roughly $3 to $9 each, so people can order a few plates to pass around or just get a snack before a movie.

Along with the menu change comes a new look, including swapping out the carpet and some of the artwork, and separating the lounge.

The change wasn’t because people didn’t like the Italian concept, Cantu said, but because it wasn’t a good fit for being right next to the Barkley Regal Cinema Stadium 16. .

“We feel like people who frequent the movies would like something casual. They’re in shorts and sandals,” Cantu said.

The menu and hours are designed to appeal to people before the movies or after, Cantu said. While the focus will be on small plates, Luna’s will offer a few full entrees, such as chicken, pasta and steak dishes. Small and large sandwiches also will be on the all-day menu.

Six of Luna’s most popular pizzas will remain, with a personal 6-inch size available along with a larger one to share. Of course, tacos also will be served.

Cantu aims to reopen Luna’s Bistro in its new format on Monday, Aug. 17. Hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A daily happy hour will be 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cantu hasn’t given up on the Italian restaurant concept, even though Luna’s format lasted less than a year. He said he may open an Italian spot elsewhere in the future.

Reach Debbie Townsend at 360-715-2280 or debbie.townsend@bellinghamherald.com.

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