I snagged the last table for a late lunch at Lemon Wolf Cafe.

My neighbors dined on chicken salad and taquitos as the “yacht rock” station, my new fave, played overhead.

Patrons on their way out of the Beaver Bay eatery reported the food is great, and there’s a lot of it. I figured as much: The dessert table housed tempting frosted sweet rolls the size of my head.

Nibbling deliciously on-point chips and salsa, I scanned the menu — a hangover burger, a Jimbo BLT and a lighthouse salad. I went with the fresh fish sandwich, pleased with the side dish choices of fries, onion rings or soup at no extra charge.

The onion rings were lightly breaded and crunchy. Nothing crusting or flaking here, prompting me to ponder the makeup of its breading.

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A large fillet of pan-seared fish, buttery, juicy and well-seasoned, spilled out of a lightly golden hoagie. A drizzle of the special sauce — I’m guessing Thousand Island adjacent — pooled onto the slices of fresh onion, lettuce and tomato, a dot slightly dripping onto the plate.

After a few bites: “Is it doing its job?” the owner asked.

“Oh, yes.”

Lemon Wolf Cafe's lemon tart comes with a gluten-free crust, blueberries, whipped cream and a strawberry sculpted flower July 16, 2021, in Beaver Bay, Minnesota. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)
Lemon Wolf Cafe's lemon tart comes with a gluten-free crust, blueberries, whipped cream and a strawberry sculpted flower July 16, 2021, in Beaver Bay, Minnesota. (Melinda Lavine / mlavine@duluthnews.com)

It’s plenty of food for $10.99, and I boxed half my sandwich away to save room for the gluten-free lemon tart.

Blueberries, whipped cream and a strawberry sculpted into the shape of a flower rested on a firm and flaky crust. Atop the lemon filling was a thick, citrusy syrup to die for. The berries were fresh and plump, and I felt fancy staring at that strawberry flower.

Needless to say, I’ve daydreamed about this dessert several times since.

The owner moved through the dining area, chatting up first-timing tourists and locals.

The rustic, comfortable and cozy cafe boasts walls painted chocolate-brown. Woodland creatures grace stained glass. A caddy carved in the shape of a fishing boat houses a bear, a moose and salt and pepper shakers. Wolves howl against a black backdrop, and black bears perform somersaults on wall hangings.

It’s a space rich with playfulness, comfort and quality, one to experience for yourself.

Lemon Wolf Cafe

711 MacDonald Ave., Beaver Bay

218-226-7225

facebook.com/myLemonwolfcafe