Noodling in: Marco & Luca conquer the Corner
Looks like UVA students are finally discovering Marco & Luca dumplings now that they’ve opened a new shop on Elliewood Avenue where Sublime All-Natural Food & Juice Bar used to be. Indeed, the student writer of a Cav Daily review earlier this month hadn’t managed to make it down to Marco & Luca’s on the Downtown Mall in three years, but now that it’s right across the street, the popular dumplingery is discovered as if for the very first time. So was the use of cash.
“A small sign quickly caught my attention: “only cash and check orders accepted.” Panic engulfed me,” writes Hunter Terry. “Having trusted my debit card during the entirety of my adult life and hardly remembering what cash looks like, I was rightly flustered.”
Fortunately, you don’t need much of it. Three bucks buys you an order of dumplings, three-fifty an order of noodles. Indeed, the appeal of these doughy, pan-fried Downtown delicacies have been as much about the price as the taste.
Of course, its hard to believe that Marco & Luca owners, husband and wife team Dragana Katalina-Sun and Sun Da, hadn’t already opened a Corner location years ago. Their fast, simple, and cheap concept is tailor-made for college students. In fact, Dragana says that people have already been encouraging her husband– who mans the Corner location– to stay open late at night, giving the White Spot and Littlejohn’s a run for their munchie money, but Dragana says they aren’t quite ready to take that task on”Šyet.
For now, the Corner location is open until 8:30pm Monday through Thursday, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
“He’s always wanted a location on the Corner,” says Dragana of her husband, who describes him as a “doer” and herself as a “talker.” Indeed, part of the charm of the downtown location has always been how Dragana seems to have something to say to everyone.
And the secret to those dumplings?
“I think it's important to keep it simple,” she says.
Dragana says the menu is exactly the same as the one Downtown, though the space is a little smaller. When Dish visited around 1pm there was a steady stream of customers coming through the door.
“It starts at about 12:30,” she says
Two years ago, Dragana tried opening a health food eatery based on Donna Gates’ book The Body Ecology Diet in the little Second Street window where Marco & Luca got its start, but found she “couldn’t handle it” and closed last year.
“It was losing money, and I had three kids to take care of,” she says, “but I really miss it.”
If fact, she says they are still planning to open “something” in the little Second Street window. “Something quick,” she says. “It’s a great place for that.”
Apparently, so is the Corner.