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Lunchbox Laboratory

Does anyone know when the lunchbox laboratory is opening on 15th Avenue NW? I am anxiously awaiting.

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      1. re: bluedog67

        a lunchbox factory makes lunchboxes. A lunchbox laboratory makes food.

    1. So...did they open? Has anyone gone? How is it?

      5 Replies
      1. re: akq

        My issue of Daily Candy says shooting for Sunday to open.

          1. re: staffstuff

            www.dailycandy.com It's an email newsletter that comes out 1x a day with "what's hot/new". There's a Seattle edition, everything that is published in it is local (new boutiques, restaurants, services etc.) It's free. There is the occasional 'dedicated email' which is a paid ad, but otherwise, it's the editor's choice on what goes into each edition.

        1. re: akq

          A friend and I went to the Lunchbox Laboratory last weekend and it was excellent. The space is very cramped, the HVAC blows cold air on you inside and the menu (on large chalkboards) is difficult to see, which are the only three drawbacks to this place. In the summer when it's warm enough to sit outside on the picnic tables, this place will be killer.

          I had the "Juicy Lucy" burger (100% beef stuffed with Jack cheese). Other burgers include lamb, just beef, turducken, etc. You get a choice of sauces (they have a bunch). I got basil aoili on the burger (a great pesto aoili) and sides of several different spicy catsups. They have a meal deal with a burger, choice of side and a drink for $12, otherwise the burgers are $8-9 each, plus extra for cheese and other toppings. I got mac & cheese for my side and OMG was it good. 4 cheeses (I think) including crumbled blue on top.

          My friend got the kielbasa corndog. Wow. The masa was perfect - light, crunchy fried, and the dog was tasty with just a little spice. It was served with a mustard aoili and a sweet BBQ sauce (too sweet for my taste). he got tatter tots for his side dish, which come with either garlic or bacon salt. We got bacon salt (subtle) and they were great with the sauces.

          So the burgers, sides (skinny fries, thick fries, onion rings, tatter tots, mac & cheese...) are always on, and then they have several daily specials. Over the weekend their specials included meatloaf, cheese steak, the sloppy scott (I really wanted to try this one!), the kielbasa corndog, a killer tunamelt, etc. YUM. Everyone was very nice.

          Oh, actually there's one other drawback (well, I guess it depends on the person) - they have some odd sodas to choose from, but not the standard regular/diet coke/pepsi and I don't think they have iced tea. They serve the sodas in bottles, some of which are quite small...

          1. re: akq

            the 'odd' soda choice is b/c they only serve drinks made with cane sugar - no corn syrup or high fructose. So even the branded soda (Dr. Pepper maybe?) is imported from Dublin.

            I quite enjoyed the lamb burger. The beef burgers were moist and juicy. My husband did not like the buns. Loved the shoe-string onion "straws". Fries were ok. We ate on the road, so it deserves a second try to acheive a spot on our permanent rotation. I have to say I probably won't be eating in. Despite the really cool vintage decor, it is not only cramped as mentioned, it is pretty dingy. They have outdoor tables, but eating along 15th will be only slightly better than roadside on 99.

        2. Look up Nancy Leson's recent full story on the Seattle Times web site on this place. It is run by the former chef at Fork.

          1. I'm siked to try this place. It's a burger / comfort food place people. wonderful $12 burgers - locally sourced, skillet cooked - lunch boxex on the wall - sounds really, really cool...its opened, too. I just called. sounds busy

            1. I went yesterday.
              They tell me it was a soft launch (just burgers and fries).
              Full opening Wednesday.

              Burger was awesome.
              Incredibly juicy and delicious with a variety of topping and sauce options. (I went with bacon, carmelized onions and the house pickle sauce)
              Lettuce for the burger was my only complaint (it was chopped romaine as opposed to full leaves), but that's a nit pick. Just thought I'd note that though, so I'm not accused of being the owner... (j/k...)

              Also, a fun soda selection.
              Don't know if it was an opening day thing or if they plan on doing that all the time, but they had several soda's that I'd never seen available around here before.

              I love this place.
              It's EXACTLY the kind of place I would like to open if I had the money or the talent or the guts or the...

              And since I know he likes to kick around here, congratulations on the new spot and keep up the great work Scott. I'll be back soon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GreenYoshi

                Ooooh...see, I'm all about chopped romaine. I have to pull apart full leaf lettuce with my teeth and it gets in the way of my chewing action.

                I'm really excited to stop in sometime. I used to work with Allegra (Scott's fiancee) and I'd love to drop in and say hi and extend my congratulations in person.

              2. I stopped by tonight, the chalk board in the window stated that they open again on the 5th and closed Tuesdays.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gt1485a

                  Wow, just wow. Stopped by tonight, wife had a killer prime rib topped with creamed-spinach and sandwiched between buttery grilled-cheese style bread.

                  I had the kielbasa corn dog with a huge side of chili and fried onion topped tater-tots with some crumbles of chevre. Delicious, but too rich to finish it all!

                  Milkshake was also very good.

                  Overall a great experience and highly recommended, we will be back as soon as my heart recovers....

                  Lunchbox Laboratory
                  1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98109

                  1. re: jmarchun

                    We took one for the team tonight. My son and I stopped on our way through Seattle. Good Fun and a Great Meal!

                    I started with a Captain Eli's Root Beer. My entree was the Turducken Burger. I ordered it with the Wookie Cave aged cheddar. They have a special where if you order a drink, burger, and a side it's $12, so I ordered the blue cheese macaroni. Wow!

                    My son started with a Cold Mountain black cherry soda. (Their sodas are all small bottlers and the drinks are all cane sugar, not corn syrup.) He tried the Colorado Lamb Burger with chevre, and skinny fires.

                    They offer a number of sauces for dipping and spreading. We couldn't decide on one each, so we got a few on the side. The spread included their house special sauce - a 7 pickle tarter, Baconaise - a very bacon-y mayo, fresh basil aoli, and a horsy-dijon aoli.

                    The chef brought us out a sample of his Oregon beeny-weenie w/fried onions.

                    Again....GREAT eats! We were the only ones there on their first Monday. It's about twice the price of a McMeal, but in a totally different league. If I had it to do over again, I would try the kielbasa corn dog, and split things up to share.

                    1. re: jmarchun

                      If/when anyone notices the corndogs (any kind of corndogs) are on the menu could you drop a line? I've gone twice (great burger once and a great shake the next time) and really want to try the corndogs.

                      I agree with the overall opinion of the group, the fries aren't great. Mine were crispy but I think they were battered or floured which I didn't really enjoy.


                  2. Went yesterday, Burger Day. They had quite the selection of burgers. Some pre-made combos or build your own from: Meats:beef, ribeye, organic chicken, buffalo. They had tons of cheese to choose from, about 15 sauces, toppings: crispy onions, camelized onions, roasted peppers, and another onion, sides included: skinny fries, tater tots, mac& blue cheese, sweet potato fries with your choice of salts: sea salt and black pepper, bacon onion, smoked tea and another one i can't remember. Overall the food was excellent. I got a burger and side for $10. The burger must have been over 1/3 lb. probably 1/2lb....HUGE! Very tasty! Highly recommended. Closes at 8pm on weekdays.....

                    1. The food IS interesting and fun and tasty....they need to CLEAN & organize the place...hopefully they'll do it to insure return customers!

                      1. Finally got there last night. GREAT burgers! They have something like eight different choices of ground meat (regular ground beef, ground prime rib, ground lamb, ground kielbasa sausage, and an few others I'm not remembering), fifteen (I counted those!) choices of cheese, and god-knows-how-many choices of toppings and sauces. You even get a choice of salts on your fries (which are one of several choices of sides)! I had a ground prime rib burger with blue cheese, crispy onions, and a balsamic vinegar reduction. With my fries (skinny and crispy, with sea salt and pepper ) I got a house-made malt vinegar mayonnaise for dipping. The burger was outstanding, but I have to say, I now believe that French fries were born to be dipped in that sauce.

                        I will be back...soon!!

                        1. The sweet potato fries are skinny and outstanding. As are the shakes--I had a boston cream shake (custard flavor, chocolate swirl) and it was fabulous. And the nicest people own it!! Someone came in with a kid and asked for a kids menu, and the owners said basically they make her anything she wanted, from grilled cheese to a blt to a special burger. They are the type of people who will bend over backward to make sure you are happy.

                          1. Does anyone know the hours? I'd like to get over there, but working in bellevue makes getting to ballard for anything but dinner and weekend lunches hard.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: vanillagorilla

                              I know that they said they were going to cut back the Sunday brunches to one a month--the last Sunday of the month, if I remember right. They just weren't getting enough brunch business to do it every week.

                              1. re: vanillagorilla

                                I believe they are open until 8:00 p.m. except for Tuesdays (closed). Not sure about Sundays. I finally went on Saturday and had the best burger I've eaten in years (ground Prime Rib). Also, they were serving incredible fresh strawberry shakes that day. I will definitely be going back soon.

                                1. re: Roo

                                  I was looking forward to this place, as it is in my hood, but sad to say there's nothing to see here, folks, so you can all just save your energy and go someplace else. I hear Zesto's is just down the street a bit...
                                  ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... >>Oh heck - I can't go through with it. This is thoroughly the most satisfactory burger presentation I've ever seen. The meats, the condiments, the sides, the shakes (oh my) - it's all so thoughtfully made and balanced in-house . The food tastes as if a classically trained chef had turned his hand to the burger-business. Hmmm... Their "Mission Statement" says: We will strive to produce quality, somewhat healthy food in a timely manner using both proper and improper scientific and classic cooking techniques to ensure we get the most out of our ingredients. The majority of our items will be made on premise and will constantly change to assure freshness and desirability. This criteria will be reflected among all of our services at the Lunchbox Laboratory and we will bust our ass to get you the best product in the most hilarious and earth friendly way." And boy, do they succeed. OK, so I struggle to find a way to rectify heart-attack I am clearly due from the excess of this place, but oh, baby...

                                  1. re: Roo

                                    today they closed around 7:30pm, so be careful not to show up too close to 8pm...also if you want your burger medium rare, they only do medium (and although the prime rib burger i had was juicy and tasty, it wasn't your typical char-grilled taste, almost had more of a meatloaf quality, but still one of the best around, definitely coming back to try more)

                                  2. re: vanillagorilla

                                    Vanillagorilla, I know they are open all day Saturday.

                                  3. We finally made it to the laboratory on Friday night, and at 7:30 pm were able to order burgers to go. We got the Super Dork (pork, duck, gorgonzola, bacon, grilled onions), Dad's Burger (burger, sliced turkey and more) and the Redman (burger, red pepper katsup, havarti, bacon), with sides of tater tots, sweet potato fries, and mac and cheese. The other two in my party finished their burgers, though the Redman eater knew she should have stopped sooner and suffered a bit during the night!

                                    Sides were good, with the sweet potato fries coming in first, the mac and cheese (a very rich dish) second, and the tater tots a little greasy. We couldn't have imagined having a shake, but they looked fabulous.

                                    I ate about a third of the super rich, Super Dork and saved the rest. It was too fabulous not to eat, but seeing it in the frig kept bothering me until I came up with a plan to slice the patty horizontally and make a new and thinner burger. Dumped the bun for a freshly grilled one, chopped up the bacon/onion/cheese topping and spread over the two half moons of meat, reheated briefly in the microwave, and reconstructed. This time I managed to eat 3/4 of it with the cat nibbling at the leftovers. It was even too rich for her.

                                    So here's my take. Scott clearly has a unique version on hamburgers and it's drawing folks in. I say reduce the size of most of the burgers by at least a third and spend some of the savings on fixing up the shortcomings in the building they "inherited." We've moved past the days of excess that resulted in monster steaks and broccoli trees, and we burger lovers are more than happy with 1/4 - 1/3 pounders. I much more enjoyed the leftovers when the meat to topping ration was halved. It was rich, but this time not too rich. The price was very fair, even if the burger had been smaller.

                                    I'm betting with time they will also simplify the menu. With all the specialty burgers and shakes, prep is labor intensive. Allegra seemed shot, and she had the whole next day in front of her!

                                    P.S. Romaine is now served in half leaves, at least for the to-go orders.
                                    P.S.S. Owners shared that plans are in the making to add on the nail salon space to the south and connect the two with covered, outdoor seating. Stay tuned!

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: zoogrrrl

                                      zoogrrrl, nothing personal, but i really hope the restaurant doesn't read your post! You're telling them to turn their place into a Red Mill or ordinary burger joint, not to mention telling them they are not charging enough for what they give! Please do'nt encourage them to simplify the menu either, we can always use more choices, not fewer. People who prefer smaller and less interesting burgers can find them at a million other burger joints, or order fewer burgers and split them. the more the LL becomes like other burger joints, the less they will differentiate themselves from the pack, and the less business they will get. Right now they have cornered a niche market, people come from far away to get what they can't get at their local burger joint, they should hang onto that. Also what's wrong with the building? We don't go there to admire their decor, we go for the great food. i for one would rather be served fabulous burgers from a hole in the wall than get ordinary burgers from a spiffy polished diner with shiny new Naugahyde upholstery and a rotating 60's Mustang on top, or whatever. PS i agree with somebody above that romaine is not the best choice of lettuce, i hope they can switch to Bibb lettuce instead.

                                      1. re: barleywino

                                        barleywino -- I could have gone to Red Mill, since it's closer to home, but didn't. I don't want the unique features to change. But I hate to see food wasted, and of the 8 or so people who were eating while I waited for our order, all but two left a fair amount of food on their plates (actually more like a gratin oval).

                                        I'll probably split a burger next time. I'd love to try the ground prime rib. But I still run into the meat to bun ratio being off for my taste. (How do you keep revising your posting while I'm responding?)

                                        I think the hole in the wall will work better for me when it's a little warmer. I also think we agree more than disagree! Nonetheless, redirecting or saving a few bucks might ensure they stay in business for us to even be talking about it!

                                        1. re: zoogrrrl

                                          zoogrrl, thanks for your detailed report, and for the encouraging news that they are going to gobble up the nail salon. I"ll split the super Dork with you next time!

                                      2. re: zoogrrrl

                                        I specifically LOVE the thick, juicy burgers. (My favorite burger place in the world is RF O'Sullivan's in Boston where they basically serve you a meatball in a bun)

                                        It's certainly not an "everyday" burger, but that's what so great about it.
                                        barleywino is right. If you want thin, you should go to Red Mill or Dick's.

                                        1. re: GreenYoshi

                                          GreenYoshi, I still remember Yumyum's review of RF O'Sullivan's a few years back: "With it's sports TV, sketchy bathrooms and crap wine, this is a guy's place..." but the burgers there rule

                                        2. re: zoogrrrl

                                          OMG nooooooooooo! There's no good way to cook a 1/4 to 1/3 pound burger well. It's just too easy to overcook them. Besides, by lowering the amount of meat, you're lowering the meat to bun ratio. And to me, it's all about the meat. Do what I do: eat half the burger and save the other half for later. Or split it with your dining companion. Just don't mess with the size of the burgers!

                                          1. re: Lauren

                                            Yeah, what Lauren said. (Scott, if you're reading this, your patties are perfection...don't mess wit' 'em!)

                                            1. re: bbqer

                                              I went yesterday for the first time, and I thought my burger was fabulous--rich, juicy, wonderfully beefy. I agree with Lauren and bbqer--I'd rather split a fabulous burger than eat a smaller overcooked one.

                                          2. re: zoogrrrl

                                            I've heard they are expanding! With more room I hope they focus on improving the quality of the fries & onion rings they're serving now....perhaps even making them from scratch, in the future, on the premises.....I'm praying for it!

                                          3. I tried the Dork (with NY sharp cheddar and the super garlic sauce) and the Juicy Lucy aka the Heart Attack: a beef patty stuffed with brie (swoon) that we greedily topped with bacon. Both burgers were delicious. I loved the Dork. Lots of flavor, super juicy, but not overwhelming. The buns are also frikkin delicious. I much prefer the brioche style to a regular bun.

                                            We loved the space, the staff and the burgers - but I was surprised how ho-hum the fries were. The regular fries were mediocre at best, and I couldn't taste the fancy bacon-onion salt that came on them. The sweet potato fries were ok - but I've had much better at Geraldine's Counter and King's Hardware.

                                            Overall, I like the concept - and the bazillion gourmet choices.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: burritobelle

                                              I went back Saturday evening and was a little disappointed in the fries this time--they were less crispy than before and seemed a little undercooked. I think they're getting a bit overwhelmed with all the business and haven't quite worked out how to keep up. There was a sign on the door saying something to the effect that due to the review in The Stranger and other good press, they'd been hammered and were closing for an hour to catch up. They had re-opened but the sign was still there. The other problem was that the place was absolutely FREEZING inside! I actually asked if they had the A/C on, but they said it was just the over-active exhaust system. I didn't mind that it was too crowded to find a seat, so we had to get our burgers to go and eat in the car--it was actually warmer out there, in spite of the occasionally dallops of sleet on the windshield! And I did end up with plenty of mine down the front of my shirt, but it was worth it--DAMN good burgers, still!

                                              1. re: burritobelle

                                                We visited yesterday for the 2nd time and I got the Dork with hoisin/balsamic sauce and provolone - it was really good - with the sweet potato fries, which were pretty good, if a little too skinny. My friend got the tuna/salmon melt special and that was good too, the Dork was much better though. My other friend got the regular normal burger and it was pretty much raw in the center - is this common? I thought medium rare was bright pink inside but not raw. We commented on it to them and they said we cook them medium rare...he won't be returning. Also got a milkshake, it was just OK. The first time we went was much better, but I'll return. Soda selection is great. It is a bit chilly in there though - when we went before it was super hot, so I guess they got the exhaust taken care of but a bit to the extreme. Also, was reminded I can share a burger next time. They are large.

                                                1. re: thevioletpear

                                                  kinda funny...i asked for medium rare and the girl said we only cook them medium...i also ordered the heath bar shake but there was no heath bar flavor or crunch whatsoever (she claimed it was powdered heath bar)...it was super chilly in there

                                                  1. re: barleywino

                                                    I also ordered medium rare and was told that they only cook them medium.

                                                    1. re: Lauren

                                                      The whole medium rare / medium thing is so strange. While I was there, I heard someone ask for well-done (I know, crazy) and they said they only cook medium-rare. Not sure what the true deal is but I do know that my buffalo burger was delicious.

                                                  2. re: thevioletpear

                                                    Medium rare means something to different people. To me, medium rare is still red in the middle, but warm there (130 degrees or so). Rare would be the same color red in the middle but still cool. Dark pink would be medium. And anything else should get you shot.

                                                2. I just went here today, and it was great. I had a 100% Beef patty with balsamic-hoisin and the Irish Dubliner cheese. The kaiser roll was very good. It was light and a crisp top bun. I also tried my friend's curly fries--they were alright. Right before I left, I ordered a Boston Cream shake, which was excellent. Granted, I don't drink shakes that much, but I loved the small chunks of fudge on the bottom. Overall, a very satisfying meal.

                                                  1. I *finally* was able to check out Lunchbox Laboratory tonight and boy am I happy I did. There were quite a few mouth-watering choices to be had, but as I am a girl of simple tastes I went for the prime rib burger with sharp cheddar, carmelized onions and mayo (I think it was the malt vinegar mayo). I also had a side of mac & cheese, tater tots with smoked tea salt, and a nutella shake. I knew from my fellow hounds that I was ordering way too much, but I wanted to try a little of everything that sounded delicious and figured what I didn't eat, my SO would happily wolf down later tonight.

                                                    Now for the big question...was it good? Most definitely. Whoever decided on grinding up prime rib and slapping it on a burger deserves a hug. It was the juciest, yummiest meat I think I've ever had between two slices of bread product. I think if I could have the LL meat on a Quinn's brioche roll (do they make their own bread?), that would be my perfect burger. Lots of nice sharp cheese and I was on my way to a happy tummy. My only complaint is that I didn't even really notice the carmelized onions were there. I don't know if there needed to be more of them or if the flavor just wasn't there, but I found myself adding the red raw onion to get that taste I was after.

                                                    The mac and cheese was great. I can't wait to eat it tomorrow for lunch...or breakfast. I loved the addition of blue cheese and am very glad I ordered it - even if it was cheese overload (in a very, very good way!).

                                                    All in all, I can't wait to go back. It's not a place you can go everyday nor would I probably be able to go more than twice a month without tremendous amounts of guilt. However, when only comfort food will do this place will be on my very short list (along with Quinns).

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: mariannas

                                                      We went again and this time the two of us split a burger. Allegra said "you're learning." We love this place.

                                                      1. re: mrnelso

                                                        I was there a week or 2 ago and had one of their creations called the Hot Head. I think it might have been the best burger of my life. I urge everyone to try this combo when they go next time: Prime Rib meat, bacon, pepper jack cheese and jalapeno ranch sauce...it was truly amazing.

                                                    2. I think I saw a mention of a falafel burger at LL. Any other veggie burger options there? Thanks.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Boychucker

                                                        The falafel burger there is really not recommended....very greasy and minimal flavor.

                                                      2. anyone know why LL was closed on a tuesday? we drove up yesterday at 6pm, and the place was dark.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: elicia

                                                          Because they are closed on Tuesdays . . .

                                                          1. re: Roo

                                                            they need to update their website. which, is super fancy graphics-wise, and takes forever to load. and maybe have an answering machine.. cuz those are the two things i did before going over.

                                                        2. Stopped by a few Sundays ago, was totally un impressed ! They seemed to be so overwhelmed with 6 people in line, grill was way backed up, and the gal behind the counter was visably flusterd and running around like a chicken with her head cut off

                                                          Never made it to ordering, and doubt if we'll go back.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: tilt

                                                            I know I'm a lucky guy, for many reasons, but I've somehow managed to be there when it's easy - every time. Half a dozen visits and we've never waited more than the 5 minutes it takes to read the menu. We work, so can't do lunch, but have done evenings, mostly near to closing, and have always enjoyed the (odd, yes) experience.

                                                          2. I have finally found a place that knows how to cook a hamburger. I've been searching Seattle for 10 years for a juicy hamburger thick enough to be pink on the inside and I *finally* found it. I ordered off the suggested combo menu, having a prime beef patty with crunchy bacon, cheese and jalapeno ranch. It was absolutely divine. Lunchbox Laboratory has a fan for life.

                                                            1. I just heard that LBL was closed indefinitely. Is this the case?

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: zoogrrrl

                                                                We just ate there at 1pm today. They were hopping (though when did they raise their prices?).

                                                                1. re: zoogrrrl

                                                                  I ate there today around 3 and they had a steady stream of customers. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays though. My new favorite topping is their candied basalmic onions. Oh soooooo delicious.

                                                                  1. re: mariannas

                                                                    Haven't heard about closing or seen it, but I agree with you about the candied balsamic onions. I had the ground prime rib burger with the onions and gorganzola sauce a couple weeks back and it was unbelievable.