Lunch Box

Diner | Hamburgers
One of the best

Anita Dufresne knows all about steamed cheeseburgs (New Englanders often drop the –er suffix from burger). She mans the steambox behind the twelve-stool counter at the Lunch Box on East Main in Meriden. Locals certainly have their loyalties to steamed burger joints around town, and those new to town have probably heard of Ted’s across town, thanks to the Food Network. But the Lunch Box is a cut above with a juicier burger, tangier cheese, and a fresh bakery bun to bind the whole package together.

The Lunch Box may be the only steamed burger establishment to serve breakfast, and more often than not, even in the afternoons, you’ll see a few guys digging into plates mounded with eggs, sausage, and home fries. Plump omelets, waffles, and even blue pancakes are available, but the steamed cheeseburg deserves the spotlight here. Anita won the Most Creative Award in last year’s Battle of the Burgers competition, sponsored by Meriden’s Record-Journal newspaper. The “Military Burger” was topped with guacamole, blue cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato, and mushroom, though I’ll gladly take just bacon and spicy mustard on my steamed cheeseburg any day. Bonus points for offering both cherry and strawberry Fanta in cans, too! The Lunch Box is open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Sunday.

What to Eat
Lunch Box, Steamed Cheeseburger
Steamed Cheeseburger
The Lunch Box’s steamed cheeseburg is incredibly juicy, and its molten cheese is wonderfully tangy.
Lunch Box, Migas
Jenny, whose husband is from Texas, added migas to the menu.
Lunch Box, Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup
Donna said she had made the chicken soup just that morning. I believe her. It was homey and delicious.
Lunch Box, Military Burger
Military Burger
The Military Burger is invincible. It is a steamer topped with cheddar (of course), bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and onions. By the way, the bun is a beauty, sturdy enough to sop up much of the savory mess that inevitably crowds the plate.
Eggs and Kilbasa breakfast
Egg and Hot Cheese Sandwich
Rubin Sandwich
Directions and Hours
open now
Monday7am - 3pm
Tuesday7am - 3pm
Wednesday7am - 3pm
Thursday7am - 3pm
Friday7am - 3pm
Saturday7am - 3pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 16 MILES | 24 min

We're not saying that the steamed cheeseburger is the best burger variation on earth, but if you care about regional specialties, it is something you must have. Limited to a small region of central Connecticut and dating back to the 1920s, when anything fried was considered unhealthful and steamed food was the nostrum of the…

11 stops | 70 MILES | 1 hr 46 min

Close to the Road

America's Byways® are a collection of 150 National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The Merritt Parkway of Connecticut is a rolling, limited-access four-lane with bridges that display beautiful Art Deco styling of the 1930s. Opportunities to eat well just off the road are plentiful,…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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