Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lunchbox Eats

Lunchbox Eats
288 S 4th Street

Lunchbox Eats is very close to my office, and it was opened by the daughter of my former supervisor, Kaia Brewer. I remember when she went off to culinary school! I believe that officially makes me old.


I've eaten there several times and had been dying to take the monkeys (Satchel, 8, and Jiro, 6) ever since it opened a few months ago. Because it's only open for lunch during the week, it proved quite difficult. Finally, I got a chance to take the monkeys and Warren over winter break.


Lunchbox Eats does a fairly bustling business, but due to the holiday week and our early arrival, we nearly had it all to ourselves. I tried to steer the monkeys towards a four top, but they really wanted to eat at one of the larger, family style tables. These family style tables are actually prep tables, so they are higher than a normal table and feature stools. Adjustable stools. Luckily the monkeys don't weigh enough to actually adjust them without assistance, but believe me, they tried!


Once everyone settled, we tackled the menu. I already had a list of favorites, so I told Warren about them. He decided on the Graduation Burger which is meatloaf tunneled with pepper jack cheese and topped with mashed potatoes, gravy, and crisp onions. It's served on giant (homemade?) bread. Yum.

Everything is pretty hearty at the Lunchbox, and apparently it all sounded good to the monkeys. They were naturally drawn to the After School Scooby Snack--chicken strips and fries--because of the name, and they both wanted macaroni & cheese, corn on the cob, and Bird & Noodle soup. I explained that would be WAY too much food and scaled their order back a bit. I grabbed Jiro's order form/quiz sheet and circled Scooby Snack and corn on the cob. I figured the Scooby Snack would be big enough to share, so I circled corn on the cob and Bird & Noodle soup on Satchel's sheet.

I circled field trip greens on my sheet, which I consider to be the healthiest choice at the Lunchbox, but in a last minute fit of indecision, I scratched it out and circled the Chicken & Grids, which is a very high fat/calorie sandwich consisting of chicken and waffles, and some macaroni & cheese. I rationalized my decision two ways. First, I really wanted my guys to try these two dishes. Second, Lunchbox Eats has really weird wooden flatware. Maybe it's bamboo and super eco-friendly, which would be awesome, but I have to say that eating a salad with a wooden fork sucks. You can taste the dryness of the wood in every bite.

When our lovely waitress came for our sheets, mine was a mess and the boys all teased that I had failed the quiz.


While we waited for our food, we chatted about the ambiance. The school theme is played out with great school chairs, giant alphabet letters on the wall, lunchboxes on the counter, etc. It's super cute. The monkeys asked why the wall was all broken up and we explained that exposed brick was awesome. Then they started finding shapes in the remaining plaster. (See the fish over Warren's shoulder in the above picture?)

I have a serious chair addiction, and I love the chairs (not the stools!) at the Lunchbox.


Our trays soon came out and I made everyone pause while I took pictures. They were all ravenous and eager to dig in, but they obliged me.


Here you can see Jiro's Scooby Snack in a paper bag--very cute--with the corn on the side. He also had some BBQ sauce for dipping the chicken and melted butter for the corn. Yes, a cup of melted butter!


The portion wasn't as massive as I was expecting, but was plenty enough to share. (At check-out I learned that we received a kiddie sized Scooby Snack for half price.) I should add that if you wanted one of Jiro's Scooby Snacks, you had to impersonate Scooby Doo. Both Warren and Satchel did fine impersonations!

Warren was thrilled with his burger. Look at the size of it!


It looked pretty sad all alone on his big tray though! My meal was much more balanced.


Lunchbox Eats has the best macaroni ever. It's super spicy, so I only had to share with Warren. I also let him have my homemade relish and pickles. he wanted my honey mustard too, but I stopped him. (He thought it was nacho cheese!)


Satchel was a little let down by his lunch initially. The corn was too hot to eat, as was the soup. However, once the soup cooled he wasn't too thrilled about eating it with a shallow wooden spoon. I told him about my disdain for the wooden forks and then he whimpered, "Why didn't you warn me?" Honestly it never crossed my mind. I gave him half of my sandwich to tide him over and then I asked our awesome waitress if they had any metal spoons. Thankfully they did. Problem solved. Happy monkey.


Satchel liked that the soup had alphabet noodles. He said it was "alphalicious."

I'm hoping that once their supply of wooden flatware gets used up, they'll move on to regular, reusable silverware. (They could order slightly shorter straws too!)

The little kinks, are just that. Overall Lunchbox Eats is a great place to take yourself and the kids. Just don't go if you are dieting! We all left very full, and very happy.


The total bill was $38 plus tip. A little steep for lunch, but worth it for a special treat. Beware that the credit card machine doesn't allow you to add your tip separately. Bring cash or have your tip added in before taxes.

p.s. None of us visited the bathroom, but I'd been on previous visits. Super cute but no changing table.

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