of the Gateway
Point Fosdick Square has been a hive of restaurant activity this year.
Applebee’s opened its doors in March at the new development on Point Fosdick Drive Northwest next to the Uptown Gig Harbor Shopping Center, and Jersey Mike’s Subs opened earlier this month.
In September, the latest addition to the complex’s restaurant lineup will be Lunchbox Laboratory, a new branch of the Seattle-based eatery.
“We like that location a lot,” said Chuck Huck, the general manager who is working to open the Gig Harbor store. “It’s a really good community over there, and definitely a growing community.”
Huck said Lunchbox Laboratory was interested in expanding from Seattle and making a foray into the South Sound, and it identified Gig Harbor as the best location to do so.
The company opened its first restaurant in Seattle in January 2011. A second location opened in Bellevue soon afterward, and Gig Harbor will be the restaurant’s third space in the region.
Lunchbox Laboratory was founded by Scott Simpson, a restaurateur and self-described “food alchemist.” Simpson’s desire was to take classic American food, such as burgers and shakes, and serve them with experimental twists.
The restaurant is known for its burgers, which are cooked in a pan, rather than on a grill, and then baked in an oven “so the juices are sealed in,” Huck said.
Its menu includes a variety of unusual options, including “dork” (duck and pork meat ground into a patty) and “churken” burgers (chicken and turkey). The restaurant conducts weekly “experiments” with new recipes, and many of the results are selected for the menu.
“We’re definitely an edgy-type restaurant,” Huck said. “We do a lot of crazy things.”
The burgers often are packaged in “lunch boxes,” which include sides such as sweet potato fries, homemade potato chips and macaroni and cheese.
Huck said milkshakes are another of the restaurant’s specialties. Lunchbox Laboratory was ranked sixth in the nation on a USA Today list of America’s best shakes.
The Gig Harbor location also will be stocked with a full bar. The Seattle and Bellevue locations offer draft beer, wine and specialty cocktails.
No concrete date is set for the Gig Harbor branch’s opening, although Huck said he expects the restaurant to open sometime around the second week of September. The location, in a small building complex that includes Great Clips, has not been occupied since it was built, and Huck said that being the space’s first tenant appealed to Lunchbox Laboratory ownership.
Construction of the store’s design is still in the early stages.
Huck said management is not yet certain how many employees the new store will hire. It’s expected to meet this week with restaurant owners to discuss the start of the hiring process. He expects the store to field a large staff.
“It’ll be a pretty significant amount (of employees),” Huck said.
Further expansion could be in Lunchbox Laboratory’s future. For now, Huck said he is focused on getting the Gig Harbor location up and running, and finding out how the South Sound market reacts to the company’s unusual take on American standards.
“We’re really looking forward to opening,” he said.