The day before Bar Luna, the new bar by Bella Luna owner Turgut Balikci, was supposed to open on the Upper West Side, an email circulated to all who’d been invited to the opening party saying that it was canceled due to a delay in obtaining a liquor license. The problem is: the bar wasn’t actually applying for a new license, but was rather just getting the old license transferred from Neptune Room, which had originally occupied the space.
A source at the restaurant tells us that the real reason the opening has been delayed is that Sean Chudoba, who was the executive chef at AYZA, another Balikci joint, and who was supposed to helm Bar Luna’s kitchen, pulled out at the last minute.
“Sean is no longer working with our company,” said the source, who wouldn’t elaborate on why Chudoba left, but suggested it was on bad terms. “We have a new chef. We will introduce him to [the staff] this week… and we will open next week.”
The self-taught chef earned some recognition after an appearance on the Food Network’s Chopped in which he went up against Einat Admony of Taim and Luis Gonzalez of Knickerbocker Bar & Grill. On the show, Chudoba talked about once cutting his hand during the evening rush. “I sliced all the way to the bone. I had the guys bring me a beer and some aspirin for the pain and I cooked through with one hand–got us through the rush.”
Bar Luna will now be cheffed by one Jacques Belanger.