Think Inside the Box

Where to find some of Virginia’s best boxed lunches. 

Not too much, not too little—a thoughtfully packed boxed lunch with just the right balance of sweet and salty makes for the perfect midday meal. It’s easy to tell who’s getting it right—just look for the long line stretching out the door at places like Sally Bell’s Kitchen in Richmond where patrons wait patiently for sandwiches, salads and sweets made for the sophisticated, yet nostalgic palate. Here are some of our favorites around the state:


At Baggby’s, a gourmet restaurant shop on the iconic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, they know you’re never too old for a chocolate-chip cookie. The cookie inside the bagged lunch (along with a sandwich, a bag of chips and a can of soda) is small enough to be consumed in just a couple bites, but sometimes that’s all you need to get you through an afternoon at work.

Magnolia Foods  

Craving a packed lunch just the way Mama made it? Order a number 11 at Magnolia Foods—creamy peanut butter and strawberry jam on soft, classic Pepperidge Farm white bread. Go full-on nostalgic and order it with a side of chips and a peanut butter cookie, or adult it up a little with a side of spicy sesame noodles and a cappuccino brownie for dessert.

Next Door Bake Shop

Feeding a crowd? Next Door Bake Shop offers boxed lunches for groups, with 10 percent off the price of 10 sandwiches and 20 percent off the price of 20. Choose gooey, melty paninis served with chips, pretzels or fruit, or if it’s an earlier lunch (or breakfast), opt for the bagel sandwiches with fruit or a mini muffin.  

Sally Bell’s Kitchen

At Sally Bell’s Kitchen, your lunch is carefully, lovingly arranged in a white box just for you. Choose from classic sandwiches like chicken salad, egg salad and pimento cheese, pair it with a side like macaroni salad or a fruit cup, and top it all off with dessert—we recommend the cupcakes, but you can’t go wrong with a mini sweet potato pie, either. As if that’s not enough? They also throw in half a deviled egg and a cheese wafer.

Taste Unlimited
Suffolk, Newport News, Norfolk, Suffolk, Virginia Beach

It’s a hefty lunch menu, so take your time deciding. Whether you go for a signature sandwich like the Virginian (prosciutto, turkey, baked ham, provolone, romaine, tomato, banana peppers and balsamic vinaigrette on Italian flatbread), a chopped salad with housemade dressing or a chicken caesar wrap, for an extra $4 you can make it a boxed lunch by adding a side of chips and either a freshly-baked cookie or a dessert bar.
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