Mezza Luna Italian Family Restaurant
High-Efficiency Natural Gas Equipment Saves Family-Owned Cape Cod Restaurant Energy and Money
• High Efficieny natural gas fryers recover quickly.
• Gas convection ovens save money.
• Dishware sparkles with naural gas booster water heaters.
• Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Mezza Luna Italian Family Restaurant at Buzzards Bay in Cape Cod, Massachusetts has been owned and operated by the same family since the 1930s. When a seven-alarm fire ripped through the old building causing Mezza Luna to burn to the ground in the fall of 2007, chef and third-generation owner EJ Cubellis struggled with the loss, but ultimately decided to turn the disaster into an opportunity to go green. It took 15 months to rebuild, and during that time Cubellis committed to installing the most energy-efficient equipment he could into the new, state-of-the-art Mezza Luna kitchen.
“Sometimes when people open restaurants they are not sure how long they are going to be around, but I knew that I was going to be here the rest of my life,” Cubellis says. “I knew I was going to be here 40 years so it made sense to try to save as much on energy as possible over the next 40 years.”
Manageable Costs Thanks to Efficient New Natural Gas Equipment
Cubellis says he thought the utility bills for the new 9,000-square foot restaurant would scare him, but he was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t much higher than they were for the old 6,300-square foot building.
“When I got the first bills, I opened them up and said, ‘It’s not bad.’ I mean a little bit more, but I have 36 burners and I used to have 12,” he says. “And why aren’t the bills much higher? Because of energy-efficient gas equipment.”
“When people walk in here and see all of this new efficient gas equipment they say, ‘that’s incredible,’” Cubellis says.
Mike Pace, Senior Engineer, National Grid C&I Energy Efficiency Programs, worked with Cubellis and his team to help identify the most energy-efficient equipment they could purchase. He says part of the reason for this intense focus on efficiency is that for restaurant’s, energy costs per square foot are about 21 ⁄2 times higher than that of other commercial facilities.
Owner, EJ Cubellis, made a commitment to go green when he rebuilt Mezza Luna. He worked with his local utilities to find incentive programs that would help him purchase energy-efficient equipment.
Mike Pace, Senior Engineer, National Grid C&I Energy Efficiency Programs, worked with Cubellis and his team to help identify energyefficient equipment for Mezza Luna’s kitchen.
High-Efficiency Natural Gas Fryers Recover Quickly and Save Energy
Pace says with a standard efficiency deep fryer, when frozen product like French fries or fish hits the oil, the temperature drops dramatically. With a high-efficiency fryer, the recovery rate is much faster and uses less gas to get back up to temperature, saving production time, energy and money.
The three Pitco Solstice 110,000 BTU high-efficiency fryers at Mezza Luna save an estimated 1,296 therms compared to standard efficiency fryers, resulting in a $1,684 annual cost savings.
That’s important to Cubellis because it’s not just family heritage that plays out on the Mezza Luna menu in classic Italian dishes like spaghetti and ravioli – its Cape Cod heritage is also evident. Local seafood is delivered to the restaurant fresh daily, giving the fryers a workout in preparing countless plates of deep fried scallops, shrimp, clams, and fish ‘n’ chips.
Mezza Luna’s Gas Convection Ovens Save More Than $1,289 Annually
The four 55,000 BTU Blodgett natural gas convection ovens selected for the Mezza Luna kitchen are also high-efficiency pieces of equipment.
“We chose them for Mezza Luna specifically because they are extremely wellbuilt and well-insulated compared to standard efficiency models,” Pace says.
They save an estimated 992 therms compared to standard efficiency convection ovens, resulting in a $1,289 annual savings and they lower the cost of serving fresh baked “Nona’s homemade bread” with all the Italian specialties served at Mezza Luna.
Gas Booster Water Heater Cleans Dishes More Effectively
Efficiency in the Mezza Luna kitchen goes beyond cooking. A Hatco PMG-100 105,000 BTU booster water heater can produce 241 gallons/hour at a 40°F temperature rise. The sanitizing180°F hot water effectively removes lipstick, orange pulp, sticky sauces and many other types of food residue.
In addition, Mezza Luna has seven highefficiency pre-rinse spray valve stations, which clean better and, depending on usage patterns, can save up to $7,000 per year. Together these energy saving additions improve the cleaning and sanitizing of dishes and eliminate the need for harsh environmentally-unfriendly chemicals.
Changing the World – One Piece At A Time
“EJ’s commitment to energy efficiency was really documented in his reaching out to the local utilities, finding out what incentives were available and what was the best equipment to put in,” says Domenic Muso, Program Manager National Grid C&I Energy Efficiency Programs.
Mezza Luna partnered with both National Grid and Cape Light Compact to take advantage of the incentive programs they offered. These incentives helped Cubellis defer the cost of his green purchases, which also included a high-efficiency condensing boiler. This type of boiler traps the latent heat of flue gasses and puts that heat back into the system. It improves the efficiency of the overall heating system.
Other improvements that keep diners comfortable as they enjoy traditional Italian family favorites like homemade lasagna or chicken picatta included rooftop air conditioners, a white roof, programmable thermostats, high-efficiency windows and insulation improvements.
When asked what restaurateurs can do to help save the environment, Cubellis answers, “For my business, I chose to go green. It’s tough when you’re one guy, how do you change the world? You can’t, but I’ve changed this little piece of the world right here.”