After 16 years at its Hyde Square location, the Bella Luna Restaurant/Milky Way Lounge finally packed it in Sunday and hit the streets with an anything-goes parade from its street-level restaurant and basement bowling-alley nightclub to its soon-to-be home at the renovated Brewery complex on Amory Street.
Co-owner Kathie Mainzer floated through the teeming afternoon crowd in a bright blue muumuu and a Princess Ardala tiara. “I’m so proud of the way this family’s grown,” she told me right before twirling around to say hello to Mayor Menino. Kids grabbed balloons from volunteers, bleary-eyed students finished to-go breakfasts, and a guy on stilts paced the sidewalk, warming up for the narrow route down Paul Gore Street.
Menino grabbed a mic on the makeshift pick-up-trailer float and remembered pioneer days in the old Hyde Square. “This neighborhood — folks didn’t want to come here,” he said, thanking everybody for making the Bella Luna and Milky Way “a home for people to come who didn’t have a home, a place to come for dinner.”
“The greatest man in America!” said co-owner Charlie Rose. “When we moved in, people asked if we were going to put bars up on the windows. We said, ‘No way, and we’re going to stay open till one in the morning. Come on down.’ ”
The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band — horn players, drummers, and folks with washboard chest-plate armor to skraketty-skrat with — kicked into some New Orleans swing and the parade was off. Car alarms joined in on the choruses and bemused residents popped out onto their triple-decker porches. A hundred yards back of the Brass Band marched the Bloco Afro Brazil drum corps — a dozen persons in bright yellow and green pounding funk and samba beats.
At the Brewery, the two bands played a face-to-face throwdown of “When the Saints Come Marching In.” People grabbed free cupcakes and hot cider from the refreshment tables (courtesy of new Brewery neighbor Ula Café). The new spot is still fenced off for construction, but as one twentysomething reveler told his friend, “At least I have a clue where this place is now.”