Are deep-fried artichoke halves something you’d expect to find in a restaurant at the end of a building which also contains a truck stop? A truck stop on a freeway as busy as I-75, at the first real town between industrial cities such as Toledo and Detroit?

Probably not. But here in Luna Pier, Michigan, such a restaurant opened this morning. The owner of the Sunoco station, one J.R. (no last name), has aptly named the place Luna Kitchen.

For a truck stop restaurant, Luna Kitchen has a rather agressive menu. Breakfast sandwiches are rather normal, with the most impressive offerings being the meat (bacon, ham or sausage) egg and cheese sandwiches. Lunch gets a bit more complex, including a Luna Burger (two patties stuffed with cheese), a Thai Turkey Salad, and some small pizzas with toppings that include shrimp or artichoke. Dinner is even more fun, with real rotisserie chicken, whole fried fish or, if you’re so inclined, a turkey leg.

But the more interesting items are the sides, which include the above artichokes, yellow rice, zucchini fries, Fried Green Tomatoes, and other deep-fried items such as banana pepper rings, pickles, cauliflower or, as shown below, deep-fried eggplant.

Finally, there are currently five real fruit smoothies, which contain no ice or dairy products. There’s the Luna Surf (orange juice and banana), the queasily-named JuneBug (strawberry and banana), Sunshine (pineapple, orange and banana), Kiwi Tide (strawberry and kiwi) and Pure Strawberry (ummm … guess …) Here, Sonya and Julie (or is it Julie and Sonya? I dunno …) are seen making JuneBug and Luna Surf smoothies for Mary and I.

So how’s the food? The deep-fried artichoke halves are already favorites of mine. The artichokes aren’t overdone, so they’re not soggy in any way. This means they also have a nice, rich artichoke flavor, which I was really looking forward to. (The things are going to become addicting for me, I can tell already.) The eggplant was a little on the soggy side but not too much. Considering the real opening isn’t until Monday May 3rd (although you can go in already), this will likely be corrected.

But the smoothies were just wonderful. Thick and rich, and 100% fruit, I do believe the medium-size 20 ounce serving will end up as a problem in the morning. Maybe I should have shared …

To get there: The Sunoco station is east of exit 6 off I-75 in Michigan, six miles north of the Ohio line. Luna Kitchen is in the east end of the Sunoco building.


‘Luna Kitchen’ Now Open in Luna Pier — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Dave, if you know the recipe for the batter, etc. for the fried artichoke and fried eggplant, please post the recipe on the Splendid Table recipe section. I use egg and milk, and then flour, but these look like there is more to it than that. 🙂 They look so delicious.

  2. @Debbie they may be using a food service package … I honestly don’t know. But there are certainly recipes out there. The Artichoke Advisory Board of California has one toward the bottom of this page that uses a modified commercial fish batter mix. And Saveur Magazine has this recipe from Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. No, I don’t like her but the recipe looks good. 🙂

  3. When this place first opened up, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to try everything on their menu. Well, it’s a year after they opened and I can say I officially have tried everything.

    All their fried foods come in pre-frozen and taste as such. Their chicken is always dry and bland. The only saving grace this restaurant has is their burger.

    Don’t waste your money on the more extravagant listings on their menu. This truck stop restaurant is no match for Gander’s but in a pinch, their burgers are well worth the stop.

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