There are few things I love more than a pop-up restaurant.
There is something so pure about wide-eyed food entrepreneurs who want to test a restaurant concept before diving into a brick and mortar where they will inevitably have their souls crushed by nasty Yelp reviews, permitting hassles, jacked-up rents and ever-increasing food prices. It’s a brutal business not for the faint of heart.
But pop-ups like the recent Lunch Box hamburger cafe inside Sebastopol’s Ramen Gaijin (who were once themselves a pop-up at the Barlow) give in-the-know diners a chance to be in on the fun. Owners Derek and Meghan Harn, who are Sonoma County transplants, have been popping up their oh-so-tasty temporary burgeria every couple months for just a few hours — until the 100 burgers and 100 pounds of fries are gone.
Lunch Box burgers are the kind of messy, smushy, everything-good-about-beef burgers that make you remember why Beyond burgers are a pale comparison.
Is it the brisket and chuck blend? The fancy sauce? The onion butter? All of the above?
Paired with “dirty fries”, that are another mess of crispy fries, chevre ranch dressing, bacon, green onion, roasted garlic and pepperoncini that require a handful of napkins and a stout appetite. You can get the fries plain with ketchup and garlic chili aioli, but really, why? We love that our vegetarian friends can have the same experience with the aforementioned Beyond burger. Lunch Box will even do a vegan version to make the whole thing extra inclusionary.
They’re planning for one more pop-up this year (we hope), so make sure you’re good and hungry. Follow their progress at lunchboxsonomacounty.com.