Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas
Tucked into the energetic corner Main Street and North Mangum of downtown Durham, North Carolina, the rich aroma of rotisserie chicken and the upbeat mixtape of satisfied diners and feel-good music coming from Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas are sure to make you gravitate inside for a celestial empanada experience.
Shawn Stokes, chef and owner of Luna, worked in restaurants along the East Coast for 15 years before shifting his career path to international development with a focus on global food systems across Latin America where he partnered with coffee growers, farmers, cattle ranchers, and fisherman. After that, he ended up in Washington D.C. where he and his wife fell in love with Julia’s Empanadas. When they moved down to Durham, they decided to open up a little empanada shop of their own. Luna is a creative homage to the foods Stokes ate throughout South America with Southern-inspired flavors, for example, the pork carnitas empanada is also stuffed with hominy, corn, and collards.
Stokes’s background working with global food systems in Latin America strongly influences Luna’s philosophy, which focuses on sourcing stellar ingredients, investing in biodegradable or recyclable utensils and to-go containers for the restaurant, and most importantly, taking care of his employees by paying them a living wage and allowing for a good work-life balance with flexible schedules.
Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas is open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11am to 2pm and for dinner from 5pm to 10pm. They host monthly dinners as part of Durham Second Tuesday to raise money for local nonprofits and also “Meatless Martes” dinners every Tuesday.