Young Chefs Give 'The Lunch Box' New Life

Jamie Lovejoy and Ramon Rios officially reopened the location in late November, offering a friendly atmosphere and quality, home-cooked food at a family price. Now business is really picking up.

Left to Right: Denise McNair, Town Manager, Ramon Rios, owner, Jamie Lovejoy and Mayor Rachel Rochette. (Credit: Submitted by Berlin Economic Development Coordinator Jim Mahoney)
Left to Right: Denise McNair, Town Manager, Ramon Rios, owner, Jamie Lovejoy and Mayor Rachel Rochette. (Credit: Submitted by Berlin Economic Development Coordinator Jim Mahoney)
Don’t sweat the small stuff – leave the cooking to us.

It’s a phrase that Jamie Lovejoy and Ramon Rios, owners of The Berlin Lunchbox, don’t just use for their restaurant. It may be the motto, one they are willing to share openly around the restaurant, but the phrase serves as a way of life.

“We pride themselves on the quality of foods they serve and in their customer service,” Lovejoy said in a press release. “As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a smile and encouraged to make yourself feel at home!”

The 224 Berlin Turnpike Restaurant has been open under new ownership since November 2013, but on Thursday the two were finally able to calm a moment to celebrate opening their own restaurant. For the two Connecticut residents, ownership was always a dream and after establishing their own place.

Now, that dream has come true. And it could be a dream diner for those seeking a relaxing and fun experience.

Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette said she’s excited to see what the owners, both who graduated high school within the last eight years, will be able to do.

“It is great to have young people starting new businesses in Berlin,” Rochette said. “Congratulations to Jamie and Ramon and I wish them the best of luck with their new restaurant venture."

Walking into the turnpike restaurant, patrons are indeed greeted with a welcoming feeling. There are games to be played, including a classic Nintendo Entertainment System straight out of the 80s set up for enjoyment.

But it’s the food that Lovejoy and Rios will tell you in the restaurants pride and joy. The menu features numerous items including The Berlin LunchBox serves traditional American style food such as burgers, wings, and hot sandwiches.

Some of the most talked about items on the menu, the two said, are the “Taters” and the “Chili and Chips”. The taters are homemade mashed potatoes with smoked Gouda cheese and caramelized onions, breaded, deep fried, and served over our signature marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. The chili is also made from scratch and starts off sweet, but ends with a kick.

The two each graduated with degrees from the culinary program at Johnson and Wales University and Rhode Island, moving on to complete a resume that included work as head chefs, running catering for major parties and more.

The experience provided the tools necessary to open their own business, Lovejoy said, and after returning to Connecticut in 2012, found the site of The Lunch Box and instantly fell in love with it.

“Working in Rhode Island, we gained incredible experience and met amazing chefs! We both had the same dream of opening a restaurant where we can serve our favorite traditional foods, how they are supposed to be," Lovejoy said.

In the future, the two hope to expand services and alter the menu to meet the most popular needs and include breakfast services.

The rest, as they say, is history – or in this case for a pair of young business owners, history in the making.

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Mary Lou Foran January 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Had lunch at the new LunchBox on Saturday. Will definitely return! Everything was fresh, tasty, and it felt like visiting with friends. I highly recommend this place to everyone...lets support these folks, help them be successful, and enjoy some great food at the same time.


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