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New owners turn Big Easy into Sol Luna

A new restaurant in Hood River will be a bit of a Dutch treat.

Mike and Shawna Caldwell sold the Cajun restaurant Big Easy last month to Cyriel and Amy Vanderwalle, who will reopen the 13th St. establishment as Sol Luna, a Mediterranean restaurant. Big Easy closed Labor Day weekend.

Cyriel Vanderwalle, a native of The Hague, Netherlands, has closed Sol Luna in The Hague and the couple will reopen it in Hood River in mid-January, Amy Vanderwalle said.

“We heard through the grapevine that they were considering the sale, and asked them,” Amy said. The Vanderwalles have been coming to Hood River for years for windsurfing and other recreation, and friends encouraged them to inquire.

The restaurant will probably include a “kids’ zone” upstairs, and a wide selection of dine-in or take-out options on display in a glass case. The menu will emphasize Spanish tapas, along with some French and Moroccan dishes. Cyriel’s specialties are veal and lamb.

Tapas are small dishes, both meat and vegetarian, that are mixed and matched for a meal the size of the diner’s choosing.

The Caldwells decided to sell the Big Easy, which they opened in 2001, after the birth of their second child.

“One restaurant per child was enough,” joked Mike. The Caldwells opened North Oak Brasserie in 1999 and Stonehedge Gardens in 2000.

News that they would have a second child — Griffin, now four months old — came along three months after Big Easy opened. The Caldwells also have a daughter, Sophie, 2.

“We know it’s going to be a great restaurant,” Mike Caldwell said of Sol Luna.

But parts of Big Easy will remain on the menus at the Caldwells’ other restaurants.

“I feel every town should have a Cajun restaurant, so what we’ve done is taken four of the best recipes at Big Easy, and they’ll show up at Stonehedge and North Oak.”

Which ones, and where?

“They’ll have to find out,” Caldwell said.

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