With a full menu, a huge retail cheese and meat case and so much more, Luna has gone beyond coffee to make the culinary scene in Fargo stand out.
Luna, originally touted as one of Fargo’s oldest coffee shops, is located on South University Drive, in the midst of the city’s Hawthorne District, just north of Bernie’s Wines and Liquors. What once was a quiet neighborhood coffee shop has now transformed into one of Fargo’s best casual fine dining establishments.
Luna is owned and operated by proprietor Nikki Berglund. Several years ago, Berglund partnered with local chef Ryan Nitschke in order to create full menu offerings to go along with her neighborhood wine bar concept.
Inside, you’ll find a calm and inviting space featuring relaxing house music and soothing lighting. Luna’s walls are decorated with local art that is featured monthly and its servers are there to provide you with a top level dining experience.
Shop. Dine. Live. caught up with owner Berglund to get her thoughts on Luna’s transition and what plans she and her team have for the future.
Shop. Dine. Live.: How did you and Chef Ryan come to know each other and form your partnership?
Nikki Berglund: It was just pure good fortune really. He was looking and I was looking. Of course I had eaten his food already quite a few times so I knew how talented he was. At the time I hadn’t yet realized the full potential of Luna and really didn’t even know exactly what direction I wanted to go. When Ryan came on board, and we all started hashing out ideas, I knew fairly quickly that we were on the same page and the rest is history. What I appreciate most about him is the fact that I can just leave him be and he is constantly surprising me and amazing me with his creativity. I trust him. I think he appreciates the fact that when it comes to the kitchen, I stay out of his way!
SDL: Luna features a huge selection of cheeses and meats that customers can purchase from your take away cheese counter. What’s your favorite cheese?
NB: I have too many favorite cheeses to mention. There are so many great ones! As a wine person, I am most drawn to the ones that complement a nice glass of wine. I went to Napa earlier in the year and tried an aged goat cheese from Cypress Grove called Midnight Moon. Chef Ryan ordered it in, and it has become a favorite of both customers and staff alike. Really though, he orders in the most interesting things that are equal parts approachable and special. This is not the cheese you buy at the grocery store, because why would it be? They do their thing, and we do ours. We also source the majority of our meats from Red Table Meats out of Minneapolis which is fun as well. Chef Ryan has taught me a ton about both cheese and charcuterie to the point where I have decided to take it a step further and become a Certified Cheesemonger- yes that is a real thing! Our cheese case can look a little overwhelming and it feels really good to help people realize that it isn’t as complicated or expensive as it looks. You can come in, ask a couple of questions, and leave with a really nice selection of cheeses for no more money than you would pay at the grocery store for a big chunk or two. Getting people comfortable with cheese is really satisfying.
SDL: What do you think makes Luna unique and standout from the other casual fine dining establishments in this market?
NB: Honestly I think most everything about Luna is unique to Fargo which is something we are really proud of and also something that was a main objective in the first place. The Fargo/Moorhead restaurant scene has grown so much in the last 10 years and I love seeing the increasing diversity. It makes it easier for a concept like ours to be a success. Our restaurant scene is getting cooler all of the time and we are excited to be a part of that. Having a menu that changes daily requires a chef who is willing to constantly be creating and planning and utilizing what is available. I know a lot of people throw around the whole “farm to table” thing and even we hesitate to use it too often, but Chef Ryan has some amazing relationships with our local farmers and that is something we support as much as possible. Even in the winter there are farmers in and out of Luna constantly. I love that.
SDL: Can you give us a hint about what’s in store for Luna in the future?
NB: Oh man, Chef Ryan and I have so many fun ideas up our sleeves I wouldn’t know even where to start. For the time being we are just working hard at making Luna as successful as possible! We will continue to host wine and beer dinners which have been a huge success for us. My husband Paul and I live on 12 acres so we are going to dabble a little with sourcing our own produce for Luna this year, so that will be fun. As far as our future plans, you will just have to wait and see…but I promise we won’t disappoint!
Specials and Events
Luna hosts a monthly wine or craft beer dinner, as well as offers a variety of weekly specials and happy hours for its customers. Reservations to Luna’s monthly wine and beer dinners can be made by calling the restaurant.
Whether you’re in the mood for a cup of coffee, need a cheese platter for your next party, or are looking for a unique lunch spot or a romantic dining experience, Luna has everything you need. Stop by and visit, you’ll be glad you did.
By Aaron Black