Bella Luna marks 20 years in JP

November 22, 2013
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Bella Luna/Milky Way Restaurant & Lounge is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with parties, T-shirts and Prince.

Founded in Hyde Square in 1993 by Kathie Mainzer, Charlie Rose and Carol Downs to create community through food, art and entertainment, Bella Luna/Milky Way moved in 2009 is now located in the Brewery Complex at 284 Amory St.

“In the life of a small business, we’ve had our share of challenges. It’s a milestone,” Mainzer told the Gazette.

Following a private reception slated for Nov. 20, after the Gazette’s deadline, the anniversary celebration was expected to feature LoveSexy, a Prince cover band.

“We like to showcase a wide variety of music and we thought this was lively and celebratory. It’s romantic and danceable,” Mainzer said.

Bella Luna and the Milky Way was originally intended as a job-creation project in the then economically depressed Hyde Square. Mainzer and Downs raised the $50,000 needed to open their doors by asking for $1,000 loans from friends and family.

“We’d like to tell our story. A lot of people might not know how we got started,” Mainzer.

Bella Luna served pizza, subs and salad at its 19-seat original location in Hyde Square. It now boasts 160 seats, a full menu and liquor license in addition to its event space. Its website is milkywayjp.com.

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