Every inch of Magnolia Cafe feels intentional.

From the ceiling fan with white, leaflike blades to the birch display case for coffee mugs, and the yellow flowers in old honey jars resting in the center of each table. The vibe at this Carlton eatery is sunny and personable.

During my March visit, before restaurants shut down due to COVID-19, specials were written on a chalkboard near locally made beard balm and mittens with a Northland artisan’s photography on the walls.

On that weekday afternoon, the specials were chili, pasties and chicken strawberry salad. There was also a mix of Irish Creme lattes, Shamrock shakes, something with matcha.

I went for a mango smoothie with berries, and I could taste hints of almond milk, creamy strawberry and tiny raspberry seeds, all with a natural, not-too-sugary sweetness.

Not in the mood for something hearty, I went with the build-your-own sandwich.

And, I had my choice of cranberry wild rice, sourdough, a tortilla or gluten-free bread; turkey, ham, chicken, bacon or veggies; provolone, swiss, cheddar or Pepperjack.

I’m usually left wanting with restaurant veggie and dressing choices, but here, I was impressed.

My chicken on GF bread came out brightly stacked with spinach, tomato, yellow pepper, white onion and creamy hummus, the whole thing warm and crisp from the panini press.

The chicken was plump and well-seasoned.

My side of grown-down-the-street carrots were fresh, crunchy and sweet.

It was a refreshing and light lunch at a reasonable $6.95.

Magnolia Cafe opened about three years ago in Carlton. Since, it has expanded into the back of the building, where I sat, working after my meal.

My gaze floated over to the shelf filled with Scrabble, Yahtzee and Operation — thinking, it would be perfect entertainment after a lazy weekend brunch in the sun at this cafe.

The cafe currently is open for online orders and has a pickup window. In addition, three picnic tables are available for outdoor dining.

Magnolia Cafe

206 3rd St., Carlton

218-499-5911

magnoliacafecarlton.com