Lunchbox

Diner | Hamburgers
Memorable
One of the best
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Anita Dufresne knows all about steamed cheeseburgs (New Englanders often drop the –er suffix from burger). She helms the steambox behind a twelve-stool counter at the Lunchbox on East Main in Meriden — one of a handful of restaurants in this small part of Central Connecticut that specialize in steamers.

So, what exactly are they? They are thick hunks of well-fatted ground beef cooked in a steam cabinet in an individual tray that allows them to wallow in their juices. Blocks of cheddar also are cooked in their own separate trays in the cabinet, just long enough to become viscous enough to seep into every crevice of the meat on which they are placed. The soft hamburger (no crust on a steamer) and cheese are layered in a roll, usually along with lettuce, tomato, pickle. onion, and mustard.

Most locals have loyalties to one or another of the steamed cheeseburger joints around Meriden; and culinary tourists likely have heard of Ted’s, across town, which had its moment of fame a few years ago on TV. But we believe the Lunchbox is a cut above. Its burger is juicier and its cheese tangier. And there’s a fresh bakery bun to bind the whole package together.

The Lunchbox may be the only steamed cheeseburger establishment to serve breakfast; and more often than not, even in the afternoons, you’ll see a few guys digging into plates crowded with eggs, sausage, and home fries. Waffles, French toast, southwestern Migas, even blueberry pancakes are available. Or how about a steamed cheeseburger omelet?

Anita’s Military Burger won the Most Creative Award in a Battle of the Burgers competition a few years back. This mighty mountain comes topped with guacamole, blue cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato, and mushrooms! It’s amazing, but we’d advise first-time steamed-cheeseburger eaters to keep it simple.

What to Eat
Lunchbox, Steamed Cheeseburger
Steamed Cheeseburger
Must-Try
The Lunch Box’s steamed cheeseburg is incredibly juicy.
Lunchbox, Migas
Migas
Must-Try
Jenny, whose husband is from Texas, added migas to the menu.
Lunchbox, Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup
Must-Try
Donna said she had made the chicken soup just that morning.
Lunchbox, Military Burger
Military Burger
Must-Try
The Military Burger is invincible.
Directions and Hours
closed now
SundayCLOSED
Monday7 am - 3 pm
Tuesday7 am - 3 pm
Wednesday7 am - 3 pm
Thursday7 am - 3 pm
Friday7 am - 3 pm
Saturday7 am - 3 pm
Roadtrips
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,…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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