The Lunch Lady has undergone some recent changes in hours and menu, but a visit at lunchtime revealed that the restaurant continues to attract plenty of hungry customers.
Owners Mindi Meyaard and her husband, Brandon, have been running the establishment for a decade, starting out with paper plates and folding card tables at their former location on Argent Road and moving up two years ago to their colorful location at Riverwalk, just off Hwy. 170 in Ridgeland.
"Nothing leaves the kitchen without Brandon or [me] seeing it first," Meyaard said. She even takes the extra time to slice the crust off sandwiches for kids' orders. "We try not to get too big for our britches here. Sometimes if you get too big you lose sight of the important things," she said. "We always wanted to do this ourselves, not have someone else running the kitchen for us. We do all of the cooking, and we take a lot of pride in what we do."
Patrons are greeted by a wide array of vintage signs, magnets, kids' lunch boxes and random memorabilia covering the bright yellow walls. Meyaard said it all began with her mother's collections, such as miniature spoons representing each of the 50 states, as well as her grandmother's refrigerator magnets. Over time, friends and customers kept adding to the mash-up of decorations, bringing fun items from license plates to gag signs.
Server Sharon Gibson has been working in customer service and the food and beverage industry for a total of 16 years. "I have never worked in a restaurant like this," she said. "We don't have negativity here. I tell Mindi and Brandon all the time: These are the best customers in the world."
Meyaard agreed. "Our staff and our regulars are like a family."
The menu includes several tried-and-true staples such as the famous cheddar crisp burger, country fried steak and fried bologna sandwich. Some of the new additions are favorite specials from over the years, like the meatloaf plate and sub, Buffalo chicken salad and wrap, and the shrimp "croi-nini," which consists of homemade shrimp salad, smoked gouda and white American cheese, grilled together panini-style on a croissant.
There is something for everyone with a variety of soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches and platters to choose from, and most items range in price from $6.95 to $10.50.
The Lunch Lady is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features lunch specials daily. For carry-out orders, call 843-645-6331, or for more information visit www.thelunchladysc.com or The Lunch Lady Facebook page.
Shae Dalrymple is the assistant editor of the Bluffton Sun.