Photo/IllutrationA city assembly member takes a piece of a famed melon on June 5, a day before the opening day feeding frenzy at a restaurant in Yubari, Hokkaido. (Tadaki Akino)

YUBARI, Hokkaido--A restaurant’s melon offer proved too appealing, and dozens of diners waited in line in a fruitless effort for dessert.

Melon no Terrace, located in the city’s Takinoue district, issued an apology on its June 6 opening day for underestimating the voracious appetite for the famed Yubari melons.

“We asked an estimated 100 visitors to leave,” a Melon no Terrace official said. “We apologize from the bottom of our hearts for causing the customers trouble.”

Once a coal-mining town, the city is known for its sweet, succulent melons as well as its long history of financial difficulties.

But the money was flowing at the restaurant on June 6, as customers crammed the eatery for a lunch priced at 1,200 yen ($11), which included an all-you-can-eat melon dessert for an extra 600 yen.

More than 300 customers showed up, and by that time, the restaurant had long run out of melons.

Melon no Terrace has already changed its menu.

On June 7, the restaurant started serving melons to only 30 diners at each of four times: 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Customers who arrive after the first 30 visitors will be given a numbered ticket for the next available time, according to the restaurant operator.

After one hour of devouring the lunch and the melons, the customers will be asked to leave.

The first Yubari melons of the season can fetch millions of yen at highly publicized auctions.