Every summer in Ely, it’s the same story: The locals come out of hibernation and take their places at the restaurants, gear stores, and gift shops that line Main Street. Canoe-topped SUVs and van loads of Boy Scouts will pour into town day after day for one last meal before they head out into the BWCA. The Ely Steakhouse and Journey’s End Cafe are among the popular spots, but the most popular is The Chocolate Moose.
Connected to Piragis Northwoods Company off of Central Avenue, The Chocolate Moose is an easy stop after picking up the last few pieces of necessary equipment. The menu features an array of sandwiches including a Canadian walleye version ($11) with homemade tartar sauce. The blue mushroom burger ($9) is the most popular burger on the menu. The six-ounce black angus burger is topped with portabellas, caramelized onions, and blue cheese. It isn’t the gluttonous burger found at the Blue Door or the Nook, but after a week of beef jerky on the trail, it’s a burger to remember.
What can’t be found at the Blue Door, the Nook, or any other burger joint south of Ely is Dorothy Molter’s Root Beer ($2.50). Dorothy Molter lived on Knife Lake for over 50 years; she made homemade root beer famous among BWCA paddlers, who would visit by the thousands each summer. Her cabin has been transported to Ely, where it has been transformed into a museum. Root beer is still made in her honor to support the museum and is sold in establishments all over town. It is one of the tastes of Ely and can stand up to any bottle of Sprecher’s or glass of 1919.
Dessert at The Chocolate Moose is the best in town. The pie list reads as long as the menu and includes peach-raspberry, strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, apple, rhubarb, raspberry, cherry-rhubarb, apple-rhubarb, cherry, and white chocolate pecan. A slice ($4) or a slice with ice cream ($5) is enough to feed two and is made fresh daily using as many seasonal berries and fruits as possible.
The Chocolate Moose
101 N Central Ave
Ely, MN 55731
OWNER: Trish Bulinski
Summer: 7am-9pm daily
Fall: 8am-8pm daily
Closes Oct. 4 for winter