Luna Café brings cats and new cuisines to the Syracuse community

Cat Café opens near SU campus

Luna Café opened to the public after a pandemic-related delay, and they're ready to show off their furry friends and diverse array of dishes.
Published: September 11, 2021
Inside the cat lounge there are a variety of toys, tunnels and towers to entertain the cats.
Inside Luna Café's cat lounge, there are a variety of toys, tunnels, and towers to entertain the cats.

After waiting through multiple delays caused by COVID-19, special permit requirements, and building renovations, the Luna Café has opened its doors to the cat lovers of Syracuse. For students stuck in pet-free dorms and campus apartments, the Luna Café can provide stress-relieving quality time with cats.

Located on East Fayette St. only a short walk from SU’s campus, the cat lounge and restaurant serve a mix of Midwestern family recipes as well as traditional Japanese dishes. Visitors of the Luna Cafe can choose to sit down for a meal or head straight to the cat room where there are currently six adoptable cats ready to be entertained.

The cafe is open Tuesday-Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., and offers a 10 percent student discount with a valid student I.D.

Kamanii Hicks, a server at the Luna Cafe, enjoys a break in the cat room while preparing to open the cafe.
Luna Café server Kamanii Hicks enjoys a break in the cat room while preparing to open the café.

The owner, Josh Davis, was inspired to open the café after spending time in Japan and falling in love with the culture.

“I want you to walk in and feel like you are walking into a restaurant in Japan,” Davis said. To achieve this, the walls of the dining room are painted red with black trimmings to mirror the colors of the torii, a traditional Japanese gate. The cat café originally gained popularity in Japan, where a large population of people lives in apartments that prohibit pets.

Davis hopes that students will use the café not only as a place to eat and socialize with cats but also as a lounge to study and get out of the dorms.

The Luna Café is partnered with the Central New York Cat Coalition to find cats to place at the lounge. The coalition works with community members all over Syracuse to rescue and foster cats from the street.

Visitors can enter the cat lounge directly from the dining room.
Visitors can enter the cat lounge directly from the dining room.

Davis, who’s also the chef at the restaurant, drew on his own top-secret family recipes and Midwestern upbringing to create the menu for the café. In 2019, he debuted some of the recipes at the Taste of Syracuse festival, selling over 3,600 handmade meatballs.

“We have a lot of Midwestern specialties that aren’t really served a lot up here,” Davis said. “Like our barbeque meatballs, stuffed peppers, egg salad, and pot pie.” On the Japanese cuisine side, Davis serves dishes like onigiri, sake chicken, rice dishes, and mochi.

“The most popular dishes so far have been the okonomiyaki pizza and the sake chicken,” Davis said.

Soon, Davis hopes to start a Friday special called “Pie Day Friday.” The unique homemade pie flavors will range from strawberry-peach and cherry-pomegranate to s’mores and maple-glazed donut.

The Luna Café is named after Davis’s own feline companion, Luna. She’s nineteen years old and a bit grumpy, so it is unlikely that she will hang out in the café from day to day, Davis said.

Luna might not be around the café, but never fear, there are many other cats that are excited to make your acquaintance at this new Syracuse spot!

Avatar for Kayla Lohman

is a junior majoring in Magazine, Newspaper and Digital Journalism.