At Lunchbox Laboratory, nostalgia on the happy-hour menu
Happy hour at Lunchbox Laboratory, with an arcade room and 1970s TV-theme lunchboxes, features such childhood favorites as tater tots with all the fixings and pork rinds.
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The owners of Lunchbox Laboratory must have been fed tofu for lunch as kids and given Fig Newtons instead of chocolate-chip cookies as treats.
I reckon Lunchbox Laboratory is their revenge on their parents or maybe an attempt to capture their lost youth.
For happy hour, its version of tater tots is like cafeteria food gone amok. They are served like nachos, covered with melted cheddar and Jack cheese, sprinkled with bacon bits and scallions, topped with squirts of sour cream and a hot ketchup called "Satan's Tears."
As anyone who has been to this burger paradise on South Lake Union knows, its burger is gluttonous. Its sign proudly boasts that Lunchbox Laboratory is "where 6 pieces of bacon ... is just average!"
Its happy hour follows the same mantra. The meaty corn dogs served with a mustard-mayo sauce is one of its lighter happy-hour snacks.
(Eastsiders, you will get yours soon enough: Lunchbox is scheduled to open Jan. 30 in Bellevue at 989 112th Ave. N.E.)
The Seattle location is a 5,000-square-foot restaurant with an arcade room and 1970s TV-theme lunchboxes such as "Six Million Dollar Man" on display. Unfortunately, the canisters of Tang stacked behind the bar are not props. A lot of cocktails are made with Tang, Kool-Aid or Yoo-Hoo.
Just don't go there. They taste like you would expect — too sweet, more a sip of nostalgia. Stick to beer. There's a good selection of rotating beers on tap.
Pork rinds are trendy now, and Lunchbox serves up the biggest portion I've ever seen. You couldn't get this many pork rinds if you bought a bag of it at your grocery store. Like the nacho tots, these are addictive, and you may hate yourself afterward for eating so many. They're fried in-house and served with two sauces: buttermilk ranch and a creamy hot sauce that will have you dipping again and again.
The burgers served during happy hour are lighter than its regular version — two cheeseburgers done in the style of McDonald's and Dick's Drive-In, served with fries or tots, in honor of its late chef Scott Simpson.
Lunchbox Laboratory, 1253 Thomas St., offers happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. and again 9 p.m. to closing (usually around 11 p.m.) with $1 off draft beer and wine, $2 tall boys, $3.25 wells, $4 selected cocktails and food specials from $1.99-$4.99 (206-621-1090 or lunchboxlaboratory.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.