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A Hawaiian wave goodbye to Bella Luna

September 04, 2003

Jenny Marder

A Hawaiian restaurant is slated to take the place of Italian eatery

Bella Luna, which was planned for Downtown but has crumbled under

financial strains and charges of shoddy management.

The restaurant, No Ka Oi, will occupy a prime spot on Main Street,

between the Sugar Shack and the Longboard Restaurant and Pub,

formerly home to the Champagne Bakery. The building was to house

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Bella Luna, which never got off the ground, partly because of

problems associated with former Huntington Beach mayor and convicted

felon Dave Garofalo, one of the lead partners of the failed venture.

Now, the property's landlord, Dennis Boggeln is ready to turn his

back on pasta primavera and face a future of prime steaks, Hawaiian

fish and baby back ribs.

Boggeln likened No Ka Oi to an upscale version of the Downtown

sushi joint Tuna Town. It will target a slightly older crowd. Plans

call for a full bar, front and back patios and a tropical decor. A

sweet, full-bodied coffee brewed from Boggeln's own coffee plantation

in Hawaii will be served, and partners are looking to recruit a chef

who lived and worked in the tropical island state for a least 10

years."I feel good about it," Boggeln said. "It's a good location, we

plan on serving some good food, and I think our liquor license will

go through. It's unfortunate that we couldn't have opened six months

ago, because we missed the summer. Fortunately though, we're getting

to the holidays, and Huntington Beach is getting to the point where

there's going to be some more winter business in coming years."

Six months ago, Boggeln's sights were set on Bella Luna, which its

partners had hoped would be a chic Italian restaurant that served

steaks and seafood in addition to pasta.

Boggeln is partnering with Ron Quick, a landscape contractor, and

Tony Zazula, manager of a local Starbucks, to open No Ka Oi. The

threesome is two down from the team of Bella Luna investors. Garofalo

and Joe Carchio, owner of Jersey Joe's an Italian deli in Huntington

Beach, have dropped out.

Carchio attributed Bella Luna's demise to inadequate funding,

delayed construction and personality conflicts.

"It was just too many partners. A few guys just couldn't get

along," he said. "They were underfinanced, and they didn't think they

would need as much money as they did. Construction slowed down, and

before you knew it, money was gobbled up in rent."

Unlike the other partners in the Bella Luna venture, Carchio never

invested financially, but he agreed to contribute his chefs, his menu

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