Luna 2 Woodgrill & Bar
2609 East College Avenue, State College, PA 16801
Mon – Sat: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
In March 2010 the long closed Pizza Hut on East College Avenue in State College opened for business as Luna 2 Woodgrill & Bar. Sister restaurant to Facia Luna on South Atherton St. in State College bragged a slightly different woodgrill focused menu. Within the first couple of months of opening, many locals complained that the menus of the two restaurants were not the same. No deep-fried fare at all, some patrons didn’t like that the kids couldn’t order french fries. I was glad that Luna 2 stood on its own and feel that after a year and a couple of menu tweaks, they have settled into a groove.
Unless you are familiar with the area, you have to be looking carefully where to turn into what is a long offset row of stores and restaurants on West College Ave. It is on the north (non-Nittany Mountain) side of Rt. 26/ College Ave., just East of the McDonald’s by the Nittany Mall. Tucked between Long John Silvers/A&W and Carpet World, you may recognize the shape of a renovated Pizza Hut building but don’t let that put you off. Look at it at the ultimate way of recycling what was a crappy pizza chain into a sweet local restaurant with Italian inspired food. There is parking on either side of the building.
We have never had to wait to be seated but have been there at times when they have gotten backed up. Patrons can choose to sit or stand around the beautifully black marble-topped 10 seater bar as they wait. Those who opt not to order soft drinks or iced tea have plenty to choose from the full bar, 10 seasonal beers on tap (note the chalkboard on the wall for the list and descriptions) and many wines by the glass or bottle. Drink prices are all reasonable and, unlike some places that just have a limited pub menu, you can order from the full food menu if you choose to sit at the bar for your meal.
The interior is nice and dark, finished in wood with 12 wooden booths and 10 tables that can seat as few as 2 to as many as 8. There are 3 carefully placed televisions that most usually have ESPN broadcast. One of the tvs is at the bar at the other two are placed high enough that the interior doesn’t scream “sports bar” as you try to enjoy your meal. I cannot ever remember the volume being turned up on any except maybe once during the World Cup at the bar.
The very worst I can say about Luna 2 is that table service has not been the best and even some established wait staff can be unreliable. We have been left sitting unattended without even our drink order taken for over 5 minutes when the place was not busy. Other times we have gotten an attitude that our server is less than pleased to be working. Once she almost threw our food on the table and another time (a different waitress) answered our request to sit outside with a 20-something attitude of “if that’s what you really want”. I mostly attribute the untrained food service glitches to a pretty high turnover. That’s typical for this college town but I try to pass it on to management if it’s really bad (only the time we were ignored).
If your server is on top of his or her game you are almost certain to have a nice meal. I love to choose to sit in the outdoor seating area with the 5 foot high vanity fence. It blocks out enough noise and visual distraction from the road but the southern view allows gazing at Nittany Mountain.
Attire is casual but the location is nice enough for even a pre-theatre crowd since it doesn’t draw a lot of the college crowd. Children of younger ages seeem to be well accomodated but I hesitate to call it child friendly.
The current menu is about to change but has quite a few options for lacto-ovo vegetarians. They are about the drop the Wood-grilled Piquillo Peppers which, at the time of this review, I had yet to try but are adding a Cheesy Bread Sticks option. I had the advantage of previewing this new menu item today. They are served much like a 10″ pizza cut into 2″ strips and a sliced down the middle to make it 10 different sized bread sticks. The crust was olive oil coated, baked with mozzarella and sprinkled with oregano, basil, course black pepper and a little garlic powder. They came out hot, were served just as their pizzas are, on the baking pie tin and put onto a rack to ensure the bottom didn’t cool or draw moisture. They are served with a very small cup or marinara sauce or ranch dip. The cold sauce was about enough for 5 of the smallest sticks and had a fresh taste to it. I found them to be very filling (took the 6 largest inside sticks home) and just a little oily.
I think our favorite is the Tomato Bruschetta that comes with or without mozzarella. Even in the winter, the tomatoes taste fresh as they are chopped and served with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil over 5 crostini slices. We have split this with the added mozzarella and it’s a light meal by itself.
Other vegetarian apps include the Artisan Mac & Cheese (we think it’s a tiny portion) and the Tuscan Hummus with Veggies & Crostini.
Beware of what sounds like a veggie option, the Sweet Pepper Medley has anchovies in it.
Although the sides have some options I cannot recommend them because they are over priced. Pencil thin Grilled Asparagus end up costing more than a a dollar apiece.
All of the salads have the base of a course romaine lettuce and all but the Cesar salad are vegetarian. Each of the House, Misto and Aegean salads can be ordered in starter or entrée sizes.
The House Salad has red onion, green pepper, mushrooms and cheese and features their tangy house Champagne Vinaigrette.
The Misto Salad has red onion, grape tomatoes, bleu cheese, pecans, dates, sundried cranberries and Champagne Vinaigrette.
The Aegean Salad has feta cheese, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, red onion and is served with a Greek Vinaigrette. All three salads are nice and the entrée size is sometimes served with a homemade roll.
The wood grilled pizzas have quite a few mix and match options and can not be odered by the slice. The smallest pizza is a 10″. The style of Luna 2’s pizzas are no sauce but hunks of tomato, not my favorite style but they do it well. Of the many toppings a veggie person can choose from the only thing I will note is that the black olives are of the salty Greek style, the kind used on the Aegean Salad.
Currently the best regular vegetarian sandwich choice is a very tasty Vegetable Curry Wrap. I won’t list the ingredients because I am told it will not be on their new menu. If their promised veggie sandwich replacement of the Portobella Burger does not thrill me I will highly encourage them to have the Curry Wrap on their daily specials board or bring it back onto the regular menu. Gosh, everyone has a Porto Burger, it’s sad the wrap wasn’t popular enough to stay. All sandwiches are served with a small bag of Middleswarth Potato Chips and a pickle.
With the exception of the Linguine Marinara the rest of the pasta entrées offered on the current menu are not vegetarian. They have, however, always been great allowing us to request the house made Garlic & Chive Linguine with their wonderful Vodka Sauce since it had been offered on their first menu.
A vegetarian can be assured a good meal at Luna 2 Woodgrill & Bar. There are enough choices on the menu, the staff is open to answering question about menu items and the rare treat of Gazpacho on the daily specials make it worth returning to try something new or to just enjoy a snack and a drink at the bar. The things that I feel are lacking are a few better veggie sides or soup and consistent wait staff service. A real plus would be the ever important vegetarian/vegan notations on the menu. Even though the staff has been great about answering questions, it can make a vegetarian dining experience most enjoyable knowing that care has been taken to examine and label each menu item. Wi-Fi would be a great addition too.
Although they don’t update it nor their homepage as often as is promised on each, here is the Luna 2 on facebook
Winner Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 – Best Portobello & Best Appetizers.