By Suzanne Kukko
The aroma of fresh-baked bread is a familiar hug from a warm blanket. The earthy tones of the décor and the soft glow of the fireplace welcome you. The intimate stage in the back suggests great nights of performance and laughter yet to come. Welcome to La Luna Café and Bakery, a brand new establishment in the heart of Nipigon, a bustling little town just east of Thunder Bay. In a community where fishing and hunting are king, La Luna promises a refreshing little slice of culture welcomed by visitors and locals alike.
Owners and twenty-somethings Caitlin Brown and Daniel Howells were attracted to the area through their love of the outdoors—mainly hiking and rock climbing. They also saw an opportunity to get an early foothold in a community where things are moving and shaking: construction of a major bridge is underway, and a substantial waterfront development is in the works. Nipigon is also the hub for the largest marine conservation area in the world. For Brown and Howells, filling a culinary and cultural niche here was a no-brainer.
Brown, who is a certified Red Seal Chef, prides herself on using only the freshest ingredients, choosing local options when possible. “We use products from farms in Pass Lake, Thunder Bay, and Hurkett,” she says. “We serve coffee from Wolfhead and St. Paul’s, roasters who are both based out of Thunder Bay. We grow our own sprouts as well.” Focusing on quality and flavour, the café’s modest menu offers both vegetarian and vegan options. Java junkies take note: it’s the only place in town to get authentic cups of espresso and cappuccino.
The café is located directly beside Rotary Park, which boasts shaded eating areas and granite chess tables. Across the way is the award-winning Paddle To the Sea Park. “Our location couldn’t be better,” Brown smiles as she ladles up another steaming bowl of homemade soup. “We really lucked out.” And so did Nipigon, it would seem.
La Luna Café and Bakery is located at 46 Front Street, Nipigon.