You know those gatherings/events that are too big for your home but not quite big enough to rent out a whole event site? Well, the good news is that there’s a new spot in town for just such an event!
Oh, and did we mention that it’s expanded from the gorgeous Bella Luna space with a delicious and specially tailored Bella Luna menu? Not only that, the space has it’s own wood-fired oven, kitchen, and bar. If you aren’t planning a family or friends gathering in the near future, maybe you should just so you can utilize this fantastic space.
Why did you decide to create this space?
WL: Primarily I wanted to provide a versatile, aesthetically pleasing event space for our clientele – a place where we can offer our award-winning pizzas as well as additional artisanal dishes more appropriate for larger groups.
Bella Luna has been open for two and a half years now. As our popularity has grown, we have begun to receive more and more requests to host larger parties, events and meetings. These opportunities have also presented a dilemma, because they require that we close the restaurant to our regular customers in order to accommodate special groups. The new event space — complete with its own wood-fired oven, kitchen and copper-topped bar — allows us to host parties of 30 to 120 without closing the main dining area of the restaurant.
WL: In addition, adding another wood-fired oven in this new space creates an opportunity for us to begin hosting dinners that feature other foods besides pizza and pasta, something Chef Colin and I have long wanted to do. For example, on June 21 we partnered with Shenandoah Valley Organics, Friendly City Food Co-op, and Old Hill Cider to host a four course dinner that features SVO’s organic chicken, roasted in our wood-fired oven. We called it the “Valley Dish.” We hope to continue these dinners (and others like them) on a regular basis to showcase Chef Colin’s talents and the incredible bounty of the Shenandoah Valley.
How much can the menu be tailored?
WL: We now have a separate Event Menu that features many of the items on our current menu, as well as new items that we are offering just to larger groups. Also, this menu includes gelato and pastry options hand-crafted from Bella Gelato & Pastries, our sister store just across the street from Bella Luna.
Have you already hosted events in this new portion of Bella Luna? If so, what has been the response?
WL: Yes, we were able to open just before JMU graduation. The first group was the JMU Women’s Lacrosse Team and their parents. It was a tremendous success! Thus far, the feedback we’ve received from all the groups who have used the new event space is that it has a wonderful, comfortable feel. They’ve really liked the aesthetics–warm and inviting yet open and spacious–while still having a sense of privacy. The convenience of the private, copper-topped bar has been appreciated, too.
We’ve also had groups interested in watching sporting events (like European soccer) on the 65″ flat screen. It’s been great to make the room available for things like this.
WL: We’re really excited about all that this new event space has to offer. We hope it is another asset to the growing and diverse array of options that the downtown restaurants are bringing to Harrisonburg.