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Jamaica Plain institution Bella Luna & The Milky Way to close

The restaurant, candlepin bowling alley, and gathering place won't reopen because of COVID-19.

A mural at the original Bella Luna location.

Jamaica Plain mainstay Bella Luna & The Milky Way will close because of the effects of COVID-19, owners told the Globe.

The restaurant opened in Hyde Square as a 19-seat pizza parlor in November 1993 and evolved into a local gathering place for candlepin bowling, themed dance parties, drag nights, comedy shows, and weddings. It relocated to Amory Street in 2009.

“We weren’t just serving pizza,” said founder Kathie Mainzer in a statement. “We wanted to support good-paying local jobs, make the neighborhood safer, and create a vibrant inclusive space where people came together to enjoy food, art, and music.”

“Our space has always been like a big community living room where people come together to celebrate important moments, dance, have fun, and share their talents,” Megan Mainzer said. “We are proud to have been a safe space where people could feel free to be who they are.”


The business shuttered in March, with plans for an eventual reopening. However, “During the winter, you accumulate debt,” Megan Mainzer said. “You plan on the spring, weddings, patio season.”

Without that, she said, they couldn’t recover.

“We don’t see how we can operate in this COVID world. We’re about social closeness, groups, music. Distancing isn’t our thing,” she told the Globe. “And I don’t see how we can operate at 25 percent. It’s not like we have 25 percent of expenses.”

She’s not sure what’s next after 27 years.

“I feel so lost,” she said. “This has been my life.”

Kara Baskin can be reached at Follow her @kcbaskin.