Family Focused and Flavor Driven
Photography by Daniel Smyth
What enables a restaurant to be so successful that it reaches its 15th anniversary, a rare benchmark for a privately owned establishment? Harry Stephens, owner of Bella Luna, would say it all comes down to service.
“As a child, I was taught that the restaurant business is as much about hospitality as it is serving great food,” Stephens says. “That commitment to personal and genuine customer service separates restaurants no matter the type of cuisine. Why come to the East End? We care that people are walking through our door.”
The atmosphere at Bella Luna is different than almost any other restaurant in the city. It’s as though you are walking into your relative’s home for a big family meal. The ambiance is unique, eclectic, welcoming and often reflects the celebratory feel of an upcoming holiday. But most importantly, you feel genuinely appreciated and embraced by Stephens and his staff, who want to invite you into their family.
“I built the restaurant based on family traditions and a tribute to my own family,” Stephens says. “I’m an old school guy, I’m interested in making a contact with people and establishing a relationship. A lot of people appreciate that.”
Paralleling the superb customer service is the exceptional food. Bella Luna is renowned for serving the best authentic Italian cuisine in the city. Stephens is committed to offering incredible dishes that tempt the most sophisticated of palates. He recently returned from a trip to Italy and made adjustments to his menu to adhere to the more traditional Italian flair. He found that in Italy, the ingredients were the stars of the dishes. The dishes weren’t oversized or over-sauced. Stephens brought Italy home to Bella Luna by incorporating these techniques and approach to cooking.
Stephens also recognized that our town was becoming more adventurous and open to new things. This allowed him to introduce new items authentic to Italy but unfamiliar to most Italian-American restaurants. Those dishes include octopus and potato and pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragu, which has become Bella Luna’s second best-selling entree.
The harmonious blend of true customer care and delicious food has led to a long tradition that will far exceed another 15 years.
Bella Luna is located at 4632 Eastern Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45226. You can reach them at 513.871.5862 or visit their website at www.bellalunacincy.com.