Lunchbox Laboratory

Written by on December 10, 2015 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – South Lake Union, Seattle, Washington

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU

How I heard of this place: On the search for a good burger nearly a decade ago, a friend and I decided to give this Ballard area 400-square foot hole-in-the-wall a try. Now, four years after its opening, we made it to the SLU 5,000-square foot location.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Outdoor Firepit

Type of cuisine: LunchBox Laboratory got started in a 400 square foot building in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle by the MacGyver-like culinary vision of Food Alchemist Scott Simpson. The original concept was born of Scott’s love for his mother. By mixing nostalgic Americana comfort food with an off-the-wall twist, he was able to create that unique restaurant that she would have enjoyed and been proud of. The restaurant quickly became nationally famous for not only its delicious shakes and the “world’s best burgers,” but also for the particular personality that Scott brought to the table and included in all of the products.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Host Podium

Ambiance: “In 2011, Scott partnered with John Schmidt’s Neighborhood Grills and Arnold Shain taking the Lunchbox Laboratory to the masses by opening a 5,000 square foot location in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Here they were able to add a full bar with eclectic cocktails that would match the uncommon burger and shake recipes that they were known for in a full service setting. The space also included classic video games from the 80’s, outdoor seating and the opportunity to expand on the already popular LunchBox menu.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Bar

While the original location came with a locally-owned flair for the unique and quirky, this new locale follows suit with the land of Amazon’s trendy, hipster, pretentious vibe. The quirkiness remains by way of the plethora lunch boxes displayed for all to see and giggle at.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Dining

What I ordered: To start, our party of four ordered the Gavacho’s Totchos ($7.99): a heaping mound of tots topped with cheesy sauce, crumbled bacon, green onions, sour cream and Satan’s Tears Ketchup,

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Gavacho's Totchos

as well as the Buff Poppers ($6.49): fried jalapeño and cream cheese fritters

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Buff Poppers

coated in a corn nut-panko crust served with house-made buffalo sauce and a sour cream drizzle.


Our burgers, the whole reason for being here included my choice of the James West ($13.99): super-beef coated in cowboy steak rub, house made Guajillo cream cheese, bacon, Papa’s BBQ sauce and onion rings with a side of tater tots,

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU James West Close-Up

my husband’s selection, Burger of the Gods ($12.99): super-beef, crumbled bleu cheese, candied balsamic onions and Super Gorgonzola spread, with a side of garlic tots .

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Burger of the Gods Close-Up

One of our dining companions selected the Tear Jerker ($12.49): super-beef, Pepper Jack cheese, Lunchbox onions, jalapeños, Habanero Mayo and Satan’s Tears Ketchup with a side of Caesar salad,

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Tear Jerker

while the other stuck with the run-of-the-mill The Classic ‘MeriCAN ($12.99): super-beef, American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, bacon and Billion Island sauce and a side of fries.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU The Classic 'MeriCAN

A vanilla shake? Okay.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Vanilla Shake

What I loved: The Gavacho’s Totchos!

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Appetizer After

I recall the original burgers being more robust, so large, in fact, that one could hardly fit the entire sandwich in one’s mouth. These ones, while still abundantly flavorful are more flat, and seemingly more sparse. Seemingly.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Tablescape

Why I loved it: The memory of Scott Simpson, creator of the Lab is ever present in the unique combinations and the giggle-worthy lunch boxes. The food, too, is still epic and deserving of more than one trip back.

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU Lunch Box Display

Cost: Average to high, but on par with over-priced Amazon-ville establishments ($11.49 – $13.99 per burger experiment)

Lunchbox Laboratory SLU More Lunch Boxes

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