AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD ARRIVES ON MAIN STREET: THE MBA RECOGNIZES LUNA Y SOL
If you’ve ever traveled to Mexico, you know that Tex-Mex doesn’t really resemble that country’s cuisine. In fact, true Mexican food is very diverse and each region in Mexico has its own specialties and local variations on traditional dishes. When Jesus and Cutberto Reyes decided to open a Mexican restaurant on Main Street in Moorestown, they had something very specific in mind. They were eager to introduce the flavors of Puebla, Mexico on their menu so customers could taste the distinctive fare of their own family’s heritage and experience an authentic Mexican meal.
The brothers spent years honing their skills in American restaurants while developing their dream to open a place of their own. Four years ago Jesus noticed a vacant building on Camden Avenue near Lenola Road, and he and his family took their first step into restaurant ownership. Working on a small scale, they opened Mi Ranchito, a Mexican grocery store combined with a carry-out kitchen that dished up authentic Mexican fare. Word spread fast and the tiny food outlet was often filled with Mexican Americans hungry for tastes of home and other local residents who discovered the unique, flavorful menu.
Mi Ranchito’s success encouraged Jesus and Cutberto to take their dream to the next level. When a space became available in the heart of town last summer, they opened Luna Y Sol, the first Mexican restaurant on Moorestown’s Main Street. Along with Jesus’s wife Monica, they created a menu that expanded on recipes developed by their mother, Gregoria Regino, and added upscale dimensions to provide a fine dining experience.
Jesus manages the front of the house and the business aspects of the restaurant, and Cutberto is the head chef who creatively prepares food based on recipes and ingredients from Puebla as well as other popular items that customers enjoy. The brothers are particularly passionate about expanding the public’s awareness of and appreciation for the flavors of Puebla.
Puebla is one of Mexico’s top gastronomic destinations. The region is perhaps best known in the culinary world for its mole, a smooth, rich sauce made from several kinds of peppers and a remarkable number of other seasonings. The mole at Luna Y Sol, based on Gregoria’s secret recipe, is a signature dish and it is one of the reasons the restaurant has become so popular.
As you would find in Puebla, Cutberto creates everything to order for each customer. Salsas, tortillas, taco fillings and other preparations are made from scratch, and he varies the menu seasonally. He also uses Puebla seasonings in foods not native to that region, such as branzino, paella, grilled calamari, and ceviche, so diners can experience genuine Puebla flavors from a menu that offers a variety of selections. Adding to the festive atmosphere, the restaurant offers set-ups for margaritas, which are prepared table-side for customers who bring their own tequila. Luna Y Sol is also becoming a popular place to hold celebrations, and has a room that can accommodate private parties up to 50 people.
The family’s hard work, dedication, and attention to detail is evident throughout the restaurant, and Jesus credits his grandfather for instilling this kind of work ethic in the family’s next generation. The brothers travel to Puebla to visit their grandfather and reconnect with traditions when they can, and always come back with new ideas for their menu. Jesus notes that they are particularly proud to have brought the flavors of their ancestors to Moorestown, where he has lived with his family for a decade. “Along with enjoying a wonderful meal,” Jesus emphasizes, “we want everyone to feel comfortable here.”
The MBA Board welcomes Luna Y Sol as a vital new addition to Moorestown’s Main Street business district and is delighted to recognize Jesus and Cutberto Reyes with a Spotlight certificate of appreciation.
Photo: MBA President Steven Pazienza, Cutberto Reyes, Jesus Reyes, and MBA Vice President Craig Dennin.
Photo Credit: Tom Sheckels