Lake Avenue Cafe in Duluth, MN

Jena Modin / Heavy Table
Jena Modin / Heavy Table

In ’94 and ’95 the Duluth Chili Cook-off was swept by Lake Avenue Cafe’s Thai Chili ($7.25). Even with Thai Krathong less than a block away with a wide array of authentic Thai dishes, people still stop into Lake Avenue Cafe for the award-winning Thai chili. It has taken home the gold in back-to-back years, and tourists and locals continue to flock to the cafe for a bowl near one of the many windows that border the cafe. Located in the DeWitt Seitz building, Lake Avenue Cafe is one of the many options available in Canal Park.

Jena Modin / Heavy Table
Jena Modin / Heavy Table

Little Angie’s offers a view of the lift bridge and the Amazing Grace has live music and homemade bread, but the Lake Avenue Cafe has a wall of windows that catch the Eastern sun, making it a quaint lunch spot to warm up at on a fall day with a bowl of award-winning chili.

Besides chili, the lunch menu includes sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and a daily soup of the day, the soup du jour. One soup du jour was the Thai butternut squash soup, smooth and warm with an accent of Thai spice, available in a cup ($3.75) or bowl ($4.50).

The pesto pizza ($8.50) and the eggplant pizza ($8.95) feed off of seasonal ingredients. The popular dilled chicken and vegetable pita ($9.50) is a gyro-style sandwich that comes with a cucumber yogurt sauce. Patrick Cross, chef and owner of Lake Avenue Cafe, uses the influences of Thailand and other countries to develop dishes that are different from other cafes.

Jena Modin / Heavy Table
Jena Modin / Heavy Table

Dessert at Lake Avenue Cafe is no exception. Homemade hot chocolate ($2.75) can accompany a sundae topped with homemade fudge or a slice of tiramisu ($5.25). The tiramisu is made with homemade lady fingers and is not extremely rich. It is moist and flavorful, a good balance of sweetness and texture.

For those looking for an early lunch spot near a window, the Lake Avenue Cafe is the best in Canal Park. It doesn’t have a view of the lift bridge or Lake Superior, but on a cool autumn day the rays of the sun can be worth more than a view.

Lake Avenue Cafe
DeWitt Seitz Marketplace
394 Lake Ave S
Duluth, MN 55802

OWNERS: Patrick Cross and Mary Immerfall
Sun-Thu 11am-9pm
Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Options available
BAR: Beer and wine
ENTREE RANGE: $4.50-$9.50

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