Ballard's Lunchbox Laboratory Reinvents the Burger Joint

In our July Cheap Eat, we'll show you where you can overindulge whild eating over-the-top comfort fo

Category: Eat + Drink Articles


Scott Simpson knows comfort food: His Blue Onion Bistro (now under new ownership) became a cult favorite for its homey fare. He’s also flirted with high-end high jinks, sous vide steak and lobster corn dogs at the short-lived Fork. But he’s finally hit his full stride with Lunchbox Laboratory, a retro tchotchke-filled 15-seat burger joint on Ballard’s 15th Avenue, which opened in January. It’s a build-your-own place: Choose from six (or more) house-ground burger meats (lamb, prime rib, et al.), 15 homemade sauces, 15 cheeses, and then start thinking about the extras—chopped green olives, anyone? I worked my way through Simpson’s artery-unfriendly menu like a carnivore on a mission. At the end of the day, the fantastic Colorado lamb burger ($9), which I topped with goat cheese and basil aioli, was the knockout. Runner-up was the awesomely cheesy mac ’n’ cheese (a side dish, $5) tied with the juice-dripping prime rib burger ($9), which I had piled with maple bacon and sharp cheddar. Overindulgence is inevitable here, so just go ahead and order the tater tots ($3) tossed in smoked tea salt (or bacon salt); they’re pretty hard to resist.
Lunch and dinner Wed.–Mon. Ballard, 7302 1/2 15th Ave. NW; 206.706.3092;

Photo by Victoria Lahti