Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe & Restaurant will soon be opening a second location in downtown Mauldin.
The family-owned Italian restaurant, which currently operates out of its location at 123 S. Main St. in downtown Greenville, plans to open the second location in downtown Mauldin at 306 N. Main St., in the spot formerly occupied by the Turtle Shell location.
Luna Rosa co-owner Jose Ortiz said they expect to open the doors of the second location within the next three to four weeks.
“We’ve been watching this area grow and have seen how its been making real concerted efforts to do so, and just realizing there’s not a lot in the way of Italian or sit-down restaurants in that area,” Ortiz said. “I think this spot is perfect to attract that existing clientele who may want to do something different but might not feel inclined to drive to Simpsonville or Greenville.”
Outside, the new location will feature roughly 70 parking spaces, an outdoor raised deck with a canopy and a plaza area, which Ortiz said is a major factor in hosting future events.
“We’ve got some plans in the works for exciting parking lot blowout parties outside in conjunction with the patio area, and we’re talking with our neighbors about working together to host these big parking lot parties,” he said.
Inside, the restaurant will feature a mezzanine level, a basement level and a backdoor area all connected by stairs. A key feature of the new space is a small entertainment stage, which Ortiz said he expects to put to use with live acoustic acts, DJs and/or karaoke, depending upon what they feel is appropriate for the audience.
Ortiz said the bigger space means the new restaurant operating at 50% capacity would still be able to seat more customers than the current location in Greenville operating at 100% capacity.
“I think it’ll be easier not only for us to work, but for the clients to feel fairly comfortable, with the ability to space out and distance themselves,” he said.
The restaurant is opening with the help of a $5,000 grant from the city of Mauldin, and Ortiz said the quick progress on opening would not have been possible without the help of Mauldin city officials, especially Economic Development Director Van Broad and his team.
“He’s been instrumental, and I’ve got to give him and the city of Mauldin a lot of credit in making this happen,” Ortiz said.
As for whether the Ortiz family plans to continue operating the location in downtown Greenville, Ortiz has no doubts.
“Absolutely we will,” he said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the business over the last 13 years, and especially with the pandemic, is that having multiple locations is the only reliable way to survive in an industry with such razor thin margins. That’s almost a necessity nowadays.”