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Little Mexico's Tortilla Matriarch

One of the pillars of Little Mexico's legacy lives on today with tortillas sent all over the country.
| |Photography Courtesy of Luna Family
Tortilla Titan: Maria Luna came to the U.S. as a young widow. A used corn grinder she purchased changed her life.

The legacy of Maria Luna, the founder of Luna’s Tortilla Factory, is alive and well after five generations, and the business continues to contribute to Dallas’ culinary landscape nearly a century after its founding.

Maria Luna was widowed before she arrived in Dallas as a single 23-year-old mom with two children in June 1923. Without knowing any English, the San Luis Potosí, Mexico, native purchased a used corn grinder—an investment that changed her life. In 1924, she opened Luna’s Tortilla Factory, selling her homemade tortillas to families in Dallas’ Little Mexico neighborhood. In 1938, she opened a factory at 1615 McKinney Ave.—now a Dallas landmark and where the company remained for 69 years until 2007. (Meso Maya occupies the spot today.) Luna’s Tortilla Factory was in a prominent location at the time for Mexicans and Mexican Americans and built a loyal clientele, sharing the richness of Mexican favorites with all of North Texas.

In 1938, Maria Luna’s son, Fransisco X. Luna, took a more significant role in his mother’s business at age 19. Maria died in 1972. Today his son Fernando Luna spearheads the business and is humbled and impressed with their resiliency through the years, despite the struggles endured. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t give thanks for where I am or what I am doing. I love the business. I enjoy the business, and yes, it’s very demanding,” said Fernando Luna.

Luna’s Tortillas has been in business for 99 years, serving a multitude of customers with homemade tortillas. Despite the challenges, Luna’s Tortillas endured. In 2021, the family closed its newest restaurant concept, Luna’s Tortillas and Hacienda, which couldn’t survive the downtown that followed the pandemic after opening in 2008. But the tortilla factory remains.

Today, the business cranks out 600 dozen tortillas per hour and sells to dozens of hotels and restaurants around town. Clients include the Omni and Hilton Anatole hotels, and even “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” Chef Dean Fearing, formerly of The Ritz-Carlton, purchased the company’s products on the regular. The factory has added clients in Chicago, Denver, and Kansas City in the past several months. “I’m getting calls every third or fourth day that someone has tried this tortilla, and it’s not [a business] here in Dallas. It’s out of state. Although, here in Dallas, business is amazing.”

For the past 30 years, the Luna family has hosted a Día de los Reyes Magos (Epiphany holiday) event, transforming over the years into a black-tie affair where guests donate toys to Children’s Medical Center Dallas to the ARCH Center within the hospital. Each toy is placed in the Luna Closet, providing comfort to children.

The City of Dallas named a park on Maple Avenue after Maria Luna, and fittingly, a Dallas ISD food services facility is named for the Dallas entrepreneur. Luna’s will turn 100 next year.

“We’re very proud that we’ve been able to serve the community of Dallas for 99 years, and hopefully, we can make it to 100 years,” Fernando says.