Pioneers in Business: The Liberta Family

The 2019 Clovis Hall of Fame honors Franco and Carmela Liberta for the Spirit of Clovis Award. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

In the heart of Old Town Clovis, Luna Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant has served customers with Italian cuisine while sharing their traditions and heritage with their community. 

The business originally started with husband and wife Franco and Carmela Liberta who moved to Clovis when, according to Luna’s “Birth of a Restaurant”, the health of their children was being affected from living in New York. It was the decision to move to Clovis that initiated plans to open a business for Franco and Carmela.

The Liberta’s brought with them a family history of delis and pizzerias which provided them with a foundation to build upon. Moving forward with hopes of starting a business brought Franco and Carmela to the conclusion of owning their own restaurant. 

Upon sharing the idea of starting their own business the Libertas were initially met with criticism from nay-sayers who would say that they would never accomplish their goal. With borrowed money for the groceries, the Libertas persistence rallied the family through to opening day in 1969.

Initially opening with no employees, the restaurant saw success on its grand opening in downtown Clovis.  This success allowed the family to hire some customers on the spot to help with the evening crowd.

Built on the dreams and persistence of building a better future for themselves, Luna Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant is still open to this day. The restaurant continues to be run by the Liberta family, after the passing of Franco and Carmela, their sons David and Bert continue sharing their family’s traditions and cuisine with the Old Town Clovis community.

Luna’s has turned into a local favorite because of the foundation built by Franco and Carmela, and residents remember the impact the restaurant has had on the community.

One unique way the restaurant continues to impact the community it serves is by its effort to hire local youth and teach them valuable lessons of the service industry that can be used throughout their career. Ranging from a good work ethic to having the opportunity to meeting members of the community, Luna’s impact on its community members continues to remain in the forefront.

In an earlier article by Valerie Shelton, that commemorated the life of Carmela Liberta in 2018, Sassano’s manager Bob Parks recalled when Luna’s first opened and said it quickly became a go-to place to eat, he said, not only because of the food chef Franco prepared but because of the warm family environment the Liberta family created.

Adam Ricardo Solis has written for The Collegian as a staff reporter covering a variety of topics and transferred from Fresno City College to Fresno State where he majored in agriculture business. He is excited to incorporate what he has learned about the agriculture industry in the Central Valley into future articles while also covering a variety of other community matters.