I opened the door and was greeted by a waitress who told us to sit wherever we liked. Five tables were crammed in the front with several additional ones in two small areas to the back. The walls were painted a sage green. Lunch boxes hung from the ceiling along with a sagging fan. The kitchen was behind a small counter. It looked cramped and well worn. A television hung on one wall and played an endless series of advertisements.
We took a seat towards the back and waited for a waitress. The table was covered in a beige table cloth. On top sat a salt and pepper shaker; a sugar/sweetener holder; and a bottle of ketchup. Four light colored wooden chairs awkwardly surrounded the table. If all of them were full it would be a very uncomfortable situation. A waitress arrived with two menus. She took our drink order and immediately reappeared with two large plastic tumblers. She then asked for our order. I initially went with a burger until I changed it at the last second to a Ruben.
The sandwich and waffle fries arrived on an oval tan plate. To the left was the Ruben sandwich. It consisted of rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. The sandwich was golden brown in color and the cook had forgotten to cut it in half. I should have stuck with the burger.
After remedying the situation by slicing the Reuben in half I took a bite. The bread was soggy and the predominant flavor was sauerkraut. It tasted like it was from a can. The corned beef was sparingly laid on the sandwich and was rather flavorless. I thought they forgot the thousand island dressing until I peeled back the top slice of bread. It was there but imparted no flavor to the sandwich. As for the waffle fries, they were a mass of conjoined potatoes which I had to pry apart to eat. My friend Joe also ordered the Ruben sandwich. He was disappointed with his and noted the corned beef tasted like packaged deli meat. The sweet potato fries he ordered were sub-par as well, overly greasy, which hid the flavor of the sweet potato.
On the way to the Lunchbox I was excited to show my friend a Tallahassee legend. By the time we finished I regretted my decision and wished we had eaten someplace else. While the service was attentive and the place had a funky vibe, the food was below average and the restaurant could use a good cleaning. Breakfast is supposedly the Lunchbox’s claim to fame, and I would consider stopping in one morning to see if they could redeem themselves with a short stack of pancakes and some crispy bacon.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: