LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – As businesses start re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most beloved places in Los Lunas, The Luna Mansion, is closing its doors for good. The historic building, which was built in 1881, has been a staple in Los Lunas for decades and was turned into a fine dining restaurant in 2009. The restaurant closure is sad news to the community.
“I was very sad, it’s a really great place to go hang out,” Regina Chavez, who lives in Los Lunas, said. “Me and my cousin would go probably every Wednesday and it was fun up there. It was fun, it was a great place.”
“I was so sad. I grew up here my whole life and that place is larger than life. It’s probably one of the first things you think of when you think of Los Lunas,” Bernadette Chavez, a Los Lunas resident, said.
Joell Himeur is part of the Torres family, who took over and restored the historic building in 2009. The building was a steakhouse in the 1970s and then boarded up for years before the Torres family turned it into a fine dining restaurant. She said the pandemic and family are behind the decision to close. Take out and delivery during the public health crisis didn’t make sense for the restaurant’s fine-dining menu.
The Luna Mansion was a family purchase but is now mostly in the hands of Himeur and her sister. And after also running another restaurant across the street for over 30 years, Himeur said it was just time to say goodbye to the mansion.
“My parents are getting to the point where they kind of want to be in more of a retirement mode, so it kind of came down to my sister and I,” Himeur said. “We want to have time with our families and we want to be able to, like, enjoy the fruits of all the hard work we’ve put into these restaurants for the past 30 some years now.”
There is no word yet on what exactly is next for the historic building. Himeur said the Torres family has some ideas and the buyers have expressed interest.
“Because it is a joint venture, we’re all kind of putting our input in on what we’d like to see happen,” Himeur said. “We’re just grateful for the ten years that we had to offer it to the community. Hopefully, the mansion will see something great in the future, I have no doubt it will. Because, it’s just a remarkable, beautiful, you know, historic place in New Mexico that I know people just love to come and see it.”
Himeur said she hopes the mansion will be able to be accessible to the public in some way. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Luna Mansion was built as a gift from the Santa Fe Railway in exchange for the right-of-way through the Luna-Otero land grant in 1880. It’s also the only known Victorial, Southern Colonial structure constructed of adobe and terron components.