ABOUT US

Bella Luna features hand-crafted, farm-fresh food in a warm and inviting environment. Located in the historic Livery Building in downtown Harrisonburg, Bella Luna offers wood-fired pizzas, hand-made pastas, fresh seasonal salads and sandwiches, and delectable desserts.

The bar boasts a wide selection of local microbrews and hard ciders on tap, hand-selected wines and artisan cocktails.

Wood-Fired

Center stage at Bella Luna is an open kitchen with a massive, wood-fired oven. Guests are able to watch as their pizzas are hand-crafted and baked in the 900 degree oven. Our chefs follow a traditional, time-honored method of pizza-making, begun over 200 years ago in Naples, Italy. The intense high heat and live flame of the Bella Luna wood-fired oven create textures and flavors which conventional pizza ovens cannot match. The oven uses a sustainable fuel source: local white oak.

Artisanal & Seasonal

Bella Luna menu items are made from scratch daily, using the finest ingredients available. Our seasonal menu features produce, meats and cheeses from local farms in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. Our pizzas, pastas and breads are made using organic flours.

Colin 

EXECUTIVE CHEF

A native of the Shenandoah Valley with an impressive pedigree, Chef Colin Auckerman has a passion for local food, and has “come home” to Bella Luna’s kitchen. Working primarily in farm-to-table restaurants for most of his career, Auckerman has learned to appreciate working with local producers.  At Bella Luna he has built relationships with many area farmers, sourcing as many products locally as possible.  Auckerman strives to showcase the wonderful produce, meats and cheeses the Valley produces by preparing simple, honest food. That translates to menu items that are authentic, inspired, and by turns, rustic and refined.

Originally from Bridgewater, Auckerman has honed his culinary talents in restaurants from Charleston, West Virginia to Barboursville, Virginia.  Drawn to culinary arts at a young age, he realized he was comfortable in the fast paced environment of a restaurant kitchen while still in high school.  After a few years working in Harrisonburg and a stint at the Staunton Grocery, Auckerman moved to Charlottesville looking for more opportunities to learn.  There he spent three years as Sous Chef at The Local, then moved to Charleston, WV to take the reins at Bluegrass Kitchen for two years.

Finding he missed the Valley, Auckerman returned to Harrisonburg, and took a position at the acclaimed Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyards.  After spotting a sign in the then-under construction Bella Luna restaurant, Auckerman sought out owner Wade Luhn.  It turns out that his priorities and goals matched Luhn’s concept, and in November 2013, Auckerman accepted the Executive Chef position. Auckerman’s culinary skills, creativity and work ethic, along with his commitment to locally-sourced ingredients, have contributed greatly to Bella Luna’s success.

To live vicariously through Colin's culinary escapades, find him here.

Wade 

OWNER

Proprietor Wade Luhn has a passion for genuine hospitality, artisan craftsmanship, and sustainable local agriculture. These sensibilities, along with his experience in the restaurant business, CSA farming and green building projects, led to the opening of Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza in 2013. His interest in providing an authentic experience of hospitality, where people come together to enjoy locally-sourced seasonal cuisine in inviting, convivial surroundings, has been a guiding principle as the Bella project has grown.

A long-time resident of Virginia, Luhn was raised in Northern California and graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a degree in International Relations. He soon turned to more hands-on, tangible relationships in his career pursuits. In addition to his extensive restaurant and hospitality experience, Luhn also worked in sustainable agriculture for over seven years, eventually managing a large CSA farm in the Berkshires. He has been involved as well in numerous green building and historic renovation projects, both as carpenter and general contractor. Luhn has lived in the Shenandoah Valley since 2004, and currently resides in Harrisonburg with his wife and family.

In May 2015, Luhn opened Bella Gelato & Pastries, Bella Luna’s sister restaurant, located just across the street. Bella Gelato & Pastries offers quality espresso drinks, artisan pastries, and hand-crafted gelato utilizing high-quality milk from a local family-owned dairy. In the spring of 2016, Luhn launched Bella Banquets, a catering and private event space next door to Bella Luna, designed with the same ideals of hospitality as the original venture.

Luhn is currently focusing his energies on Bella Festa!, a mobile wood-fired catering endeavor. Its stunning centerpiece is a fully restored 1950s vintage truck, which houses a wood-fired pizza oven, beer taps and gelato freezer, and will bring the Bella vibe directly to your event. Bella Festa! will begin catering events in April of 2017.  

In the future, Luhn hopes to purchase about 10 acres of Shenandoah Valley bottomland, to pursue his love of small-scale, sustainable farming. The farm would produce vegetables, fruits and meats for Bella Luna.

The Bella projects receive frequent creative input from Melanie Doyle Luhn, Wade’s wife. Melanie has a doctorate in French Civilization and has lived and taught in France for several years, as well as at the University of Virginia and James Madison University. Her sensibilities regarding hospitality, food and drink have been critical in the restaurant’s ongoing success.

Sean 

LEAD MIXOLOGIST

Sean Allen, Bella Luna’s affable, creative, and efficient bar manager, is a Virginia native son who has also lived in Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee before settling in the Shenandoah Valley. A graduate of JMU, he has culinary and barista experience as well as mixologist credentials. Sean’s innate creativity sensibilities and passion to create underpin his bartending skills, which he earned locally at the Artful Dodger. 

At Bella Luna, Sean enjoys finding the unique mix of ingredients to create a particular flavor profile and crafting new cocktails for guests to experience, along with serving the classics. He takes pleasure in the quick bar pace, in conversations with new or long-time guests, in the perfect beer pour, and in the last drop poured into a Martini.  Sean’s favorite drink is a pint of bitter or a sticky, dark stout. With a Bella Luna wood-fired pizza he would choose a crisp, zesty pale ale or IPA.

Sean’s decision to call Harrisonburg home was cemented by his extensive living and travel experience in at least 39 states. To him, the Shenandoah Valley is a reassuring geographical reminder that there are people and places beyond, but also a whole world’s worth of activity to explore within its confines. Sean personally appreciates the Valley’s unique character: the room to be alone with the sky, rushing waters to cross or float in, proximity to large cities without having to live in them, and the generous people who are striving to make this little piece of the world a better place.

When not behind the Bella bar, Sean might be found road-biking, hiking, camping, reading, gardening, making his lovely wife laugh, or planning to spoil his first daughter (he is excited to become a new father in 2017!).

Interested in joining our team? Download an application here.