A new café serving Mexican-style crepes, caramel frappes, and macchiatos, marquesitas and old-fashioned cookies and cheesecakes, is already becoming a popular community gathering place for students and faculty of nearby schools in East Aldine.
Café La Luna, at 2421 Aldine Mail Route Rd., is a cozy community coffee house with a stunning crescent moon-shaped chandelier that hangs over wooden tables and chairs lining its red brick halls. The aroma of coffee beans fills the space where young people on break from school visit with friends or take advantage of the wi-fi to shop online.
The restaurant’s motto is “Good Vibes, Good Food, Great Coffee.”
Café La Luna opened in early December with free samples on opening day resulting in “an impromptu birthday party” for students from the close by Lone Star College East Aldine Center, said assistant manager Bryan Garcia.
“It was a little chaotic, but it was a lot of fun,” Garcia said.
The venue is owned by Dr. Miguel Morales, a family practitioner at 2409 Aldine Mail Route Rd., near the Alivio Family Medical Center. The center is next door to the café.
“He just wants everybody to have a good time, and let the stress stay outside,” said Garcia, 19, a student at the University of Houston.
“He intended for this to be a place that is stress-free, and as a person working here, it certainly feels that way,” Garcia said. “I get to take the time to get to know the customers, and to ask how they’re doing.”
Morales, who is from Chicago, starts every day by coming into the café – just to check the flavor of the coffee, Garcia said. “He wants to make sure we’ve got it right.”
“It’s just so different from every other job I’ve had,” Garcia said.
Garcia, who graduated from MacArthur High School last spring, said his previous fast-food jobs were “very hectic.” And he’s always loved to cook, even as a kid.
“We’re hoping that this can become cool as a place for people to come and hang out and relax,” Garcia said. “And with all the schools nearby, this could also become a good place to study away from home.”
Before nearby schools went on winter break, Garcia said he enjoyed seeing some of his former teachers from MacArthur, as well as faculty from other Aldine ISD schools.
And even though students were facing semester exams, the 19-year-old knowingly smiled when asked if they were studying.
“Not really,” he laughed. “But maybe they will, when they come back in the spring.”
In addition to sweet treats and coffee, Café La Luna’s unusual menu features specialty “sweet or savory” crepes that were developed by Irais Morales, the owner’s wife, Garcia said.
“If there’s such a thing as Mexican crepes, that’s what we serve,” Garcia said. “This community is largely Hispanic, so they want those flavors. I guess you could also call it a French breakfast taco.”
(Most traditional crepes are not stuffed with pork and cheese, but at Café La Luna, they are.)
The menu is posted on chalkboards or via a QR code, where its unusual offerings are posted or explained by friendly and helpful staff. The menu also is available on Instagram @Cafe_laluna_ and on Facebook at CafeLaLunaHouston. For more information call 713-518-2543.
The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Jan. 2. Afterward, as teachers and students return to school, the restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
— by Anne Marie Kilday