Raise your hand if you can relate.
You’ve just had the workout of all workouts. You’re tired, you’re sweaty, but perhaps most notably, you’re hungry to an extent that the entire world around you is starting to resemble a Loony Tunes episode - the one where inanimate objects are replaced with rotisserie chickens. The drive home (with traffic, gotta love rush hour) is going to take at least 20 minutes and you have serious concerns that your stomach may eat itself by the time you get there. You find yourself wondering …
“Is there somewhere I can stop for food that’s close, quick, inexpensive, isn’t fast-food and has something on the menu that’s high in protein”?
You’re driving home from work and you’re trying to figure out what you and your better half are going to do for dinner. The items in your fridge consist of Sriracha, half a bag of spinach and orange juice - and after careful thought and consideration, you’ve concluded that this combination does not a good meal make. The idea of fighting the evening-mob at Ralph’s is about as appealing as being locked in a room with Richard Perry and although you’d like to have a meal that’s cooked with fresh, all-natural ingredients, you and your partner have zero desire to dine out. Suddenly, a floating question mark appears above your head…
“Is there anywhere around here where I can pick up dinner to-go, that is healthy, made with fresh ingredients, and won’t break the bank?”
Lucky for residents of the 92103, the answer to both those questions is a resounding “yes.”
Enter … Luna Grill.
First introduced to Hillcrest in the summer of 2011, the fast-casual restaurant at Fourth and University serves near-East and Mediterranean cuisine. What’s perhaps most phenomenal, though, is that they have a number of hormone free menu items and never add MSG or preservatives to any of their selections.
Luna Founder and CEO Sean Pourteymour said the concept for the restaurant stems from a desire to open a place where people could get good, healthy food at a reasonable price point.
“We wanted to open a place where people could feed their kids and not feel guilty afterward,” Pourteymour said. “We make everything fresh. When someone orders something at the counter we don’t start cooking their food until the ticket comes in. We pride ourselves on the fact that nothing is pre-cooked.”
All natural meats and crisp, fresh produce are Luna Grill’s foremost calling cards.
“The produce is cut fresh on a daily basis to ensure freshness and crispiness,” he said. “We offer all-natural meats and if someone prefers to order a vegetarian or vegan meal, we have those types of menu items as well. We essentially wanted to replace your kitchen. We wanted to create a place where people could eat at every day if they wanted and not feel bad about it.”
Luna Grill is a place that’s affordable and fast - they use the best products they can buy and it’s easy to see their food is healthy, delicious and good for you. It’s a place where people who eat meat and chicken can dine out with their vegan friends and everyone will be happy. It’s a place where the staff can help you pair a beer or wine with your meal. It’s a place that serves a one-third pound of grass-fed all beef patty burger that, when ordered “Sean style,” will absolutely change your life (the “Sean-style” burger is not for those who aren’t a fan of spicy, but if you are, all I can say is “wow”).
Ultimately, what once began as a concept has fast grown into San Diego’s most preferred fast-casual dining destination. Luna Grill currently has locations in Carmel Valley, Mission Valley, Carlsbad, East Lake, Hillcrest and Liberty Station - and they are currently in the process of expanding to Orange County.
So the next time you find yourself craving something that tastes good and is good for you, stop by Luna Grill. Not only is their food fantastic and healthy - but dining there won’t empty your wallet.
Luna Grill is located at 350 University Ave. in Hillcrest. The restaurant is open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm.
For more information or to order online, click HERE.