Goodness in a "Box"
Recently, on a rare Friday when I had to work at FedExForum, I decided to hit Lunchbox Eats for lunch. Located south of the arena on Fourth and Pontotoc, it was a very convenient option. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve dined there so I had an idea of what to expect. Lunchbox Eats features an eclectic menu of dishes that put a twist on school cafeteria and Southern cuisine. Most of the entrées are either hit (Homeroom Chicken & Grids; please read my review on Urbanspoon) or miss (3rd Period Smoking Birds), despite the menu descriptions. This day, I’ve decided to get the Graduation Burger. On paper, it seemed like a smart choice. So with my fingers crossed, I ordered it.
The Graduation Burger is humongous. The “burger” is a half-pound meatloaf sandwich topped with pepper jack cheese, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, a tomato slice and fried onions, all within slices of lightly toasted bread. In appearance, the sandwich takes a cue from the Primanti Brothers, a popular Pittsburg diner. The Steel City restaurant is known for putting fries and other side items into the sandwich. Although I have never had a Primanti Brothers sandwich (although I might get an opportunity soon), the Graduation Burger comes close. It’s a complete dinner condensed into an enormous sandwich.
After a couple of bites, I immediately got a sense of fullness from the sandwich. Unfortunately, this meal-in-a-sandwich came apart, for the gravy and other juices broke down the bread. Even after it disintegrated, it was still enjoyable to eat.
SIDE NOTE: If Lunchbox Eats continues with this sandwich, it should consider crafting sturdier bread for it. The choices of wheat (which is what I had) and white bread aren’t suitable for a sandwich like the Graduation Burger. Although I’m clueless in offering advice on this, experts like Chef Jason Doty of Bluff City Coffee Shop can lend their expertise in creating the perfect “bun” for the sandwich.
The meatloaf was very tender and tasty, boasted by the richness of the thick gravy. I liked how the pepper jack cheese melted into and accentuated the meatloaf. The fried onions’ zesty flavor gave the meatloaf a nice boost although it didn’t need it. Combined with the other toppings, the Graduation Burger is a very hearty and delicious sandwich.
As for ordering sides, I intended to order fries with it. However, paying $3.49 for a pound of it didn’t appeal to me. From both a budgetary and appetite perspective, I had no need for a “Five Guys” experience. Instead, I went with a more appropriate choice of Mac ‘n Cheese. Although it wasn’t as creamy as I’m accustomed to, it still was a good match for my meatloaf sandwich.
SIDE NOTE: A few days after my visit to Lunchbox Eats, a friend and I talked about one of its beverages. She recommended the Lemonade of The Day, which can come in a variety of flavors ranging from peach to my friend's favorite, watermelon. The restaurant makes this daily feature in-house and charges $3.49 for it. Although my friend loves it, the price is a bit high for me. After spending $13.59 (not including the tip), I would have been reluctant in ordering the drink. However, given the enormity of my meatloaf sandwich, I could have replaced the Mac ‘n Cheese with the lemonade and still had a great meal. The next time I visit, I’ll keep that in mind.
Once I finished eating lunch, I pulled out my debt card to pay for it. What happened next was a revelation into the future. Instead of taking it to a cash register, my server swiped my debit card on an iPad. At first I thought it was neat, but that soured when I asked for a receipt. My server said that if I wanted a receipt, I would either have to give my e-mail address or cell phone number. I decided to do neither, because I felt it was intrusive to my privacy. Granted, this method of transaction isn’t much different from online purchasing at websites like Amazon. Even so, I didn’t feel comfortable with a restaurant having that much information about me. To some, my stance may seem like “tin foil hat” logic, but that’s how I feel.
Putting aside my privacy concerns, my visit to Lunchbox Eats was great. It was satisfying to the point that I didn’t have a want of food for hours. I was so full that I almost felt like unbuttoning my pants at work. However, the likelihood of getting accused of sexual harassment prompted me to just chill. Whenever I return to Lunchbox Eats, I hope the next visit is as good as this one.
A Word of Thanks
I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of my blogging efforts for the past 2½ years. It’s been a bumpy ride and I’ve made mistakes along the way. Despite that, I’ve done my best to produce something meaningful and thought-provoking about my dining experiences. Those who have visited this blog may not always agree with what I’ve written, but I hope they were enlightened nonetheless. As I move forward into 2013, I want to make the blog even better for those who appreciate it. Because of them (as opposed to the “haters”), I feel that blogging is a worthwhile endeavor for me. Again, thanks for the support because it means a lot to me.