Meet Emily and Ryan! The duo bringing you cozy neighborhood feels and a killer food and beverage program
Meet Emily! Emily grew up in Delaware and moved to West Philly after graduating from college in 2004. Philly had always been a place they came to in high school to hang out and go to shows, and the scrappy (and affordable) nature of the city was so appealing. After a decade spent galavanting around town, playing in bands, and working a combination of food service, office, and writing jobs, they settled down a bit with their partner Ryan, had a baby and started thinking about the future. Ryan’s dream had always been to open a bar of his own (having worked in the industry since he was a teenager), and an opportunity presented itself to do just that at a cute but derelict corner spot in Port Richmond. Emily just figured she’d be along for the ride in a more supportive role, but was soon happily sucked into the day-to-day operations.
Meet Ryan! Ryan also grew up in Delaware – in fact Emily and Ryan met in high school. After a stint in art school, Ryan moved to Philadelphia, where he dedicated much of his energy to playing music. He paid the bills with restaurant and bartending jobs, which it turns out, he was very good at. After he and Emily had their daughter in 2013, he started focusing more on the future and decided to more avidly pursue his career goal of owning his own bar.
The Lunar Inn and Tinys Bottle Shop opened in March of 2019. But things really started in 2017, when Emily, Ryan, and their former business partners met Mike and Lena Parsell, who are co-owners of A-Frame Constructs. This design/build/real estate company had already built out and opened Martha in Kensington and were interested in finding people to help develop a property in Richmond Street that they owned. It was a corner bar right off Allegheny Ave. that had been vacant for decades and was stripped down to the bones. Ryan quit his job as a restaurant manager and helped Mike to build out the space, which took the better part of 2018.
The co-founding crew had a vision of a comfortable, welcoming bar and restaurant that could tow the line between neighborhood joint and natural wine bar – a space that felt special and beautiful, but not fancy and uptight. A space with great records on the turntable and a wide selection of offerings in both style and price, where neighbors old and new could feel at home. They got to enjoy that vision coming somewhat to fruition for just under a year before COVID-19 closed everything down. From there, it’s been a wild ride of twists and turns, pivots and adaptations, but the vision remains the same.
Roses and Thorns
“Becoming part of a community, and building a little mini community within the larger picture, is one of the most special parts of opening a public-facing business. The people, both regulars and staff, who have become part of our everyday lives, are truly some of the best humans on the planet and we are so privileged to know them. Providing hospitality and helping people feel relaxed and happy is such an ongoing pleasure, and when someone says something as simple as, ‘I love this place,’ it eases all the stresses and hardships.
And there are a lot of stresses and hardships.
Pandemic aside, running a small business – especially in the food industry – is notoriously difficult, with new fires to put out pretty much every day. Striking work/life balance, especially as a family, is really tricky, and it’s something we constantly struggle to achieve.
But the sweetest rose is that, truly, running this business is pretty fucking fun. Despite all the chaos and uncertainty, we are at the helm of this crazy ship, pouring our energy into it and, at least sometimes, getting to see the fruits of that labor. While it’s definitely not true for all couples, we love working together and make a solid team. And, we basically get to throw parties every day for nice people and serve them delicious things, all with a team of creative, funny people by our sides.”