Since its founding by Maria Luna in 1924, Luna's Tortillas has fed hungry Dallasites their favorite fresh tortillas and tamales, growing into a prominent business through five generations of management by her family. Feb. 27 marks the company's 97th anniversary, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there won't be the huge birthday bash the event deserves.
On a happier note, Luna's plans to keep the masa flowing despite seeing a steep decline in sales. Their regular clients include a long list of local hotels and restaurants, and with travel and dining out decimated by COVID, Luna's business has fallen off, too.
“We currently produce 600 dozen corn tortillas per hour," says Margarita Luna, wife of Fernando Luna, Maria's grandson who operates the business with help from his family. "Luna's still cooks and grinds our own corn daily for our operation. The homemade flour tortillas are made seven days a week for our retail customers.”
That sounds like a lot of tortillas, but it's far off-peak from Normal Times. Luna's provides tortillas, chips and other menu items to the Omni hotels, the Anatole hotels, Fairmont, Ritz Carlton and Hotel Zaza. Some restaurants that use Luna’s products include Tupinamba, Chips Burgers, Blue Goose, and Jose on Lovers.
"We were working six, 10-hour days before the pandemic," Margarita Luna says. "It has now turned into four, six-hour days per week, for about 30% of what we were producing a year ago. The business was on an upswing in September, then the second surge of COVID began to affect more drastically than at first. [We're] not only working 30-40% of the factory, but the restaurant is now doing 25-30% of what we were doing five months ago.”
Luna's Hacienda is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a large patio and tables set up for social distancing. The menu offers favorites like breakfast tacos ($2.60 each), breakfast burritos, lunch and dinner plates. Some favorites are the guiso de rez y papas in salsa verde ($14.75), the fajitas or any of the chef’s selections. Tacos, seafood and caldos (soups) round out the extensive menu.
Tortillas, tamales, chips, salsa and masa (no minimum quantity) are available to go for at-home meals or family gatherings.
Maria Luna first opened her legendary tortilleria on Carolina Street a year after emigrating from Mexico. Luna’s started with tortillas, but its tamales draw the hungry from across the city, especially during "tamale season" around the holidays. You can purchase them year-round by the dozen ($15) with a variety of fillings — beef, chicken, pork, spinach, beans or sweet tamales.
The tortilla factory has relocated over its nearly century in business. One of the early locations, at 1615 McKinney Ave., is a registered Dallas landmark and has a plaque describing Maria Luna’s legacy.
In June 2018, Luna’s moved from its Harry Hines location to 2225 Connector Drive in Northwest Dallas. The space has a larger area for the tortilla factory and room for the restaurant. Customers walking into today's Luna’s Tortillas y Hacienda are greeted with the business' original sign, which has been in the family for generations and is a familiar landmark.
Like many businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, keeping its employees working has been a big motivator at Luna's.
“It is very important to our family, our employees and their families and the city of Dallas to keep the business open and functioning as much as possible," Luna says. "Working at 25-30% capacity has put a financial burden on the company.”
Luna’s is grateful for the support of its regular customers and is trying to find ways to get new customers for dining in and takeout. While an anniversary party is not possible during the pandemic, the company will be offering weekly specials to commemorate the day. You can keep track of them on Facebook.
Luna’s Tortillas, 2225 Connector Drive (Northwest Dallas). Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.