The burger diner Lunchbox Laboratory is a nod to an era when “Mork and Mindy” inspired our clothing and Fonzie-isms entered our vernacular. Retro lunchboxes and ‘60s-‘70s themed toys rule the dining room. There’s a picture of the Six Million Dollar Man on the menu. Tang appears on the menu – as an actual beverage option.
The Seattle burger chain’s Gig Harbor outpost opens Friday on Point Fosdick Drive in the same shopping complex as Safeway. Lunchbox Laboratory has cloned itself once in Bellevue, but this is its first venture into the South Sound ‘burbs.
The restaurant has collected a national food media following for its duck and pork “dork” burger – a lighter-tasting-than-you’d-expect patty topped with a sloppy tangle of grilled onions, garlic mayo and Monterey Jack cheese. Not to be outdone by the magical merging of duck and pork, the restaurant also blends chicken and turkey for a “churken” patty. The standard beef burger patty is American-style Kobe beef and there’s also a lamb patty and a bean-based veggie patty.
Expect reasonable prices considering the caliber of ingredients – $9.99-$13.49 (with a choice of shoestring fries, tots, sweet potato fries, housemade chips, etc.). Much of the burger menu emphasizes fussy ingredients with competing flavors, but there is one burger that harkens to a more simple concept – the burger modeled after one of Seattle’s most famous, the Dick’s Deluxe. A build-your-own option could scale a burger down to the territory that burger purists appreciate – beef and bun, maybe some cheese.
The shake and cocktail menu is where the restaurant really explores its experimental laboratory theme. The Astronaut’s Mimosa – a combination of Tang and champagne – is about as experimental as I ever want to see in a cocktail.
Friday’s official opening probably will bring long lines – make a note of it. If you see diners in the restaurant today, that’s for a USO fundraiser party. More details at the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Lunchbox Laboratory Gig Harbor
Opening: Friday, Oct. 25
Where: 4901 Point Fosdick Drive N.W., Gig Harbor, 253-432-4061, lunchboxlaboratory.com