The LunchBox Express Full Story
I sat down with Joey Young and Dan Heilberg (owners of the LunchBox Express) to get a proper perspective of one of the newest, coolest restaurants in Charlottesville. I wanted a full description of the food, atmosphere, menu, vision & future, and the reason behind their decision to go bricks and mortar.
Their menu includes wraps, burgers, wings, sandwiches, a deli, beer, bratwursts, cheesesteak, occasionally barbecue, and a few surprises…along with a to-go breakfast.
Their excitement and enthusiasm made for a fun interview. Check out their facebook page.
“You can get a bite to eat, drink a beer, chill, and watch some sports…bring your family…or go out with your co-workers after work. It’s a laid back homey atmosphere.” They also sell convenience items such as cigarettes, drinks, lottery tickets, candy, local jams, Mad Hatter, and even City trash stickers. “We’re a one-stop shop.”
“We’re not fast food, but we’re food fast. You can be in and out in 10, maybe 15 minutes, and you don’t have to sit down and be served.”
What’s their standard? “Our food isn’t crazy fancy or expensive but it’s really high quality. We serve a really good burger and Philly cheesesteak.”
“We’re looking to get as much local stuff here as possible: food, bands, stand-up comedians, artists-we’re all about being local.”
David & Catherine Glover first enjoyed the LunchBox Express at Floyd Fest and have been impressed ever since. David had the Philly cheesesteak and Catherine ordered the Lisa Leslie Veggie Wrap.
“Really good and delicious. They are a vegetarian-friendly restaurant. The No Bull veggie burger and cheese burger are great choices, too.”
I asked them what makes The LunchBox unique and they agreed the location and food are difference makers.
“Great up-and-coming location, fresh food, simple, and enough variety. It’s just good.”
Skylar Stoddart is the most loyal customer by a mile. “I’ve been here about ten times, it’s a good place to watch tv and relax. I ordered the Christi’s Bottom Bunzz Burger.”
Recommendation: the deli.
Favorite beer: gotta love the local stuff but I like the Loose Cannon the most.
“A unique feature of The LunchBox is the community of friends and cool customers. I can’t wait for the outside backyard to open. You can get your grub and go, or stay as long as you like.”
I sat down with a group of four friends who were clearly having a good time and had just finished their meal. Here are some key phrases from our conversation:
Ryan Hill- BBQ: lots of flavor. “One-stop shop.”
Scott Keller-appetizers: chicken fingers, fries, and southwest egg roll. “Good food, good beer.”
Brendan Regan- The G.O.A.T. “Big city food and entertainment with a small town feel.”
David Breen- speechless
“The LunchBox is less expensive than most restaurants in Belmont with the same great atmosphere.”
The most exciting thing for these two guys is the backyard that will open as soon as Mother Nature warms up. “It’ll have a canopy, patio and chairs, VIP section, live bands, outside seating, music…it’s going to be a really great place to hang out and eat.”
Two for Thursday
In addition to good food and atmosphere, Dan and Joey have good staff as well.
Amity Madison and Jenna Fields are enthusiastic waitresses and add plenty of pizazz to the restaurant.
If you eat on Wednesday you might get lucky enough to see Amity wear the chicken costume.
Dan and Joey are keenly aware of the impact their relationships have had on starting their business.
“Our friends and family helped us so much that now we want to give back to them. We’re so thankful for them.”
When asked yes/no if they thought The LunchBox Express would be a local favorite within two years, 10 out of 10 customers said yes.