The people behind The Lunch Room are Phillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo. We are good friends and next-door neighbors who love cooking and serving vegan food. We share a philosophy that “work” should be the pursuit of what you love and should reflect your values and interests. Our work embraces freedom, creativity, fun, egalitarianism, social justice, and community.
The Lunch Room began as a twinkle in Joel’s and Phillis’ eye in the summer of 2010. We started out by preparing dinner parties and brunches for friends, featuring experimental vegan dishes. We then named and branded our business, purchased our signature cafeteria trays, and from October 2010 through February 2011 hosted a series of “pop-up” dining events at local retail establishments.
The Lunch Room’s next step was to open a food cart. The Lunch Room cart operated during the 2011 and 2012 seasons at the downtown Ann Arbor food cart courtyard, Mark’s Carts. There we developed and honed a menu, made many new friends, and built our business. We were even voted “Best Food Cart” in Current Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards! In October 2012 The Lunch Room wrapped up a successful second season at Mark’s Carts and decided to move on to bigger adventures.
In August 2013 we opened our restaurant in Kerrytown.
We now have two restaurants:
- The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe, on the north side of Ann Arbor within the Huron Towers. This location is steps from the mighty Huron River and across the street from the VA Hospital and U-M North Campus.
- The Detroit St Filling Station, at the corner of Detroit St and Catherine St in the Kerrytown neighborhood and just a block from downtown Ann Arbor.