Luna Café, a new restaurant serving pre-show meals and picnic baskets, debuted Wednesday at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista.
Operated by the nonprofit Kitchens for Good in San Diego, Luna Café offers take-away picnics and three dinner table seating options on show nights at the city’s long-established outdoor theater. Moonlight season kicked off this week with performances of “Mamma Mia,” running Wednesdays through Sundays through June 30.
San Diego-based Kitchens for Good is a social enterprise with the mission to break the cycles of food waste, hunger and poverty by providing a culinary workforce training program and, upon graduation, jobs for at-risk students and unemployed adults.
Nightly dinner seatings are scheduled at 5:30, 5:45 and 6 p.m. Diners have a choice of an “Americana” menu or a menu themed to the show. For “Mamma Mia” performances, the theme dinner during this show’s run includes a hummus starter, Greek salad, choice of three Greek-themed entrees and baklava for dessert. The cost is $39, including sales tax but not tip. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance.
As part of the change in management, Moonlight has also upgraded the cafe seating area at the amphitheater with a new floor and bar. New tenting, lighting, tables and chairs will be installed before the opening of the season’s second show, “Disney’s Newsies,” in mid-July.
There is also a new “build-your-own” picnic basket option. Diners can choose from main dishes such as fried chicken, cheese and charcuterie plates and sandwiches, a variety of side salads and baked desserts. A choice of three items is $15 plus $35 refundable basket rental. Orders can be placed online at kitchensforgood.org/donations/moonlight-build-your-own-picnic-basket/.
Finally, Moonlight has expanded and upgraded its concessions menu with new hot and cold food items including carne asada tater tots, beer mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken Milanese sandwich, BLT & Blue cheese salad and strawberry shortcake. Items range in price from $3 to $9.
As in years past, Moonlight patrons can bring in their own picnic items but alcohol is not permitted by state law. Wine and beer are available for sale by the glass and bottle, along with soft drinks and bottled water.
Reservations for dinners are required at least 24 hours in advance by calling (760) 724-2110. Menus are available at moonlightstage.com/plan-your-visit/luna-cafe.
The Moonlight summer season continues with “Mamma Mia,” running through June 30. Next up is “Disney’s “Newsies,” playing at 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays July 18 through Aug. 4. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will be presented at 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays Aug. 15 through Sept. 1. And the season closes with “Chicago,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, Sept. 12 through 29.
Moonlight Amphitheatre is located in Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. For complete information, visit moonlightstage.com.