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Savoring every bite of summer at Lumberjack’s

For this scorching hot summer, “Gather ye hotdogs while ye may” is our motto. (You’ll thank us right about mid-January for impressing this mantra upon you.)

We tried to figure out why a joint on the water (the Niagara River to be precise) is called Lumberjack’s. Then we went inside and discovered the lumberjack is the North Tonawanda High School mascot. School paraphernalia decorates the walls along with a couple of hanging pom-poms.

The second thing we noticed is a small bar serving beer and wine. After ordering a pitcher of Bud Light ($12) from the super friendly bartender, we thought “Why don’t more hot dog joints serve suds?” It’s a natural combination. Drafts ($4-$5), wine ($5.50) and even fancy mini Prosecco bottles on ice ($6) were available.

Lumberjack’s keeps it simple with the basics: Hamburger ($6.25), cheeseburger ($6.95), hot dog ($3.25), footlong ($5.25), Italian sausage ($7.25). Sides like Curly Q fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings are $3. Coleslaw, macaroni salad or potato salad are $2; chips are $1.

A combo hamburger meal is $10 ($11 cheeseburger) and includes fries and a bottomless soft drink. For waistline watchers, Lumberjack’s offers a small green salad at $3.50, a chicken sandwich ($7.25), and a protein burger (burger wrapped in lettuce with tomato) for $6.25.

Or you can blow your diet on the Buffalo Chicken Crunch Rolls (think a deep fried egg-roll-esque item filled with chicken and cheese) served with blue cheese dipping sauce ($6.50).

Order at the counter and the staff brings out food.

Two of our group went for fish. The fish fry dinner ($11.75) included a choice of two sides. The Labatt beer battered fish was a solid portion, served hot and golden. Yet it was just OK. We’ve had better, but also worse. Lumberjack’s’ specialty — addicting fresh cut, seasoned Curly Q’s — were delicious and made up for the average fish. The coleslaw was really good too, creamy yet crunchy.

The smaller fish sandwich portion ($7.25) came on a nicely toasted Costanzo roll with about half a head of green leaf lettuce. We love lettuce, but it was overkill. Half was removed.

The Mineo & Sapio Italian sausage had just enough peppers and onions on a toasted bun. The sausage had a nice kick, but wasn’t too hot.

In a town dominated by Sahlen’s, Lumberjack’s uses Wardynski hot dogs, which are just as tasty. Cheeseburgers come with American cheese only, but were definitely handmade and really flavorful on toasted a Costanzo’s roll. Our extra side of sweet potato fries was good, but some honey to dip would have made them better.

Any self-respecting hot dog joint serves ice cream. Here it’s Anderson’s hard ice cream in basic flavors. Cones/cups ($3 small/$3.75 large), floats ($3.75) and milkshakes ($3.75) are available. If we weren’t so full, we’d have tried the “Famous Root Beer Float” ($3.75). As our “small” cones and cup were big, we should have.

We marveled at how good Anderson’s handmade hard ice cream really is, like the cinnamon — sweet yet, hot as it should be.

Strolling the deck, we watched the sunset and savored ever last lick of summer.

Lumberjack’s Patio Grill

Where: 1000 River Road, North Tonawanda (693-4349)

Hours: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily June through August; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in September (last day is Sept. 24).

Seating: Indoor tables and chairs. Patio tables and picnic tables outside.

Ahoy: Lumberjack’s tagline is “Eat in or sail away.” Docking available.

Art: Tabletops designed with an 1800s map of North Tonawanda mark “Rattlesnake Island.” Yikes!

Extra: Cash only. ATM on site.

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