The Lanford Lunch Box was a successful restaurant Roseanne co-owned along with her sister Jackie, her mother Bev, her friend Nancy, and her adversary Leon.
The restaurant was introduced by Jackie. During the time she drove a grocery truck, she stopped at numerous diners and enjoyed the sandwiches. The name of the restaurant is from D.J. Conner. The money to pay for it came from Beverly and Nancy.
This restaurant was opened shortly after several disasters occurred with The Conner Family. Roseanne and Jackie lost their father. Dan lost his business. Roseanne lost her job also, and was interested in Jackie's restaurant. The Conners could not pay their bills either. After borrowing money from Jackie, they needed a permanent solution. Beverly still had the money from her divorce as well as selling her burial plot to Roseanne and Jackie's stepmother. She effectively became majority owner, as the only other person that had some money to open the restaurant was Nancy.
For a while, Jackie brought them many tavern sandwiches from different places to taste test. After they found a recipe, they decided to buy an old pizza restaurant. The restaurant, as The Lunch Box, opened in late 1992. It was very successful but had many challenges.
Beverly became an active partner in The Lunch Box, which caused stress for her daughters. They met Leon, one of Roseanne's former bosses. He is still in a position of authority as a health inspector. Roseanne and Jackie demanded that Beverly become a silent partner, but she had a much better decision. She sold to Leon, who acted like Roseanne's boss yet again.
With Leon making even more unfair decisions than Beverly did, Roseanne had more stress. She was working by herself until she got mugged by a lunatic. Dan decided that each worker needs to work in pairs. The discussion of Leon, being the only male worker, came up also. Roseanne told Dan to talk to him. At first, Dan thought it was pointless to talk to Leon until Leon demanded Dan to remove Roseanne's position from The Lunch Box. In other words, Leon blamed Roseanne for the mugging instead of protecting her. Leon said that he wants to take over The Lunch Box, but Dan refused his offer. Dan said he is going to tell Roseanne what Leon said, and warned Leon that Roseanne and Leon will be working on the same shift.
Darlene hated The Lunch Box. Her various activist campaigns threatened The Conner Family's main source of income. Four years later, she was behind the counter with Becky, drinking a gag gift from Roseanne to Leon about his sobriety. Becky herself became an alcoholic. D.J. stole a car and crashed it. As punishment, he worked at The Lunch Box. Another time Roseanne used the Restaurant's phone to bust D.J. and Darlene for skipping school and lying about it. Roseanne met Flo and her son Elijah, a family that sold restaurant equipment. Eventually, Roseanne pretended to ground D.J. so they wouldn't have to listen to Elijah's sporadic talking, mumbling, and singing. When The Lunch Box replaced their stove, the company kept delivering multiple stoves to them. Roseanne wanted to keep or sell them, but D.J., now very religious, got angry.
Four years after The Lunch Box opened, a new restaurant opened nearby. This restaurant offered a spotless atmosphere, salad buffets, and tavern sandwiches with lean greaseless meat. Nancy brought over sandwiches, which Roseanne loved. But after losing all of her customers, Roseanne broke into the enemy restaurant to vandalize it with rotten fish.
Five years after The Lunch Box opened, Roseanne was shown winning the lottery in excess of $108,000,000.00. They decided to back out of The Lunch Box. At the end of season 9, Roseanne was at her desk in the basement. She walked around her house, which still has its old furniture. She said that many things she told us actually happened differently, and fabricated the lottery adventures to cope with her loss of Dan, and the near death of Darlene's daughter. They did not sell The Lunch Box.
Indeed, Some two decades later, it is revealed that Beverly still owns The Lunch Box. However, the property ended up being leased as a Chinese restaurant which none of The Conners worked at. Jackie missed The Lunch Box, and showed up drunk.
Towards the end of 2019, Jackie is told that The Chinese Restaurant, like many other businesses in Lanford, closed its doors, and left the building. Jackie immediately attempted to buy the property again, and discovered that Beverly still owns it, and had been owning it secretly. Beverly told Jackie and Becky that Darlene is the successor of the property. During several weeks, Jackie and Becky demand Darlene open up The Lunch Box again, but Darlene kept saying no.
Since Darlene holds the money they need, she's the only thing standing in Becky's and Jackie's way. Darlene thought she was making the best decision for her family. But when Beverly moved in with Dan, Becky moved in with Jackie, Both Jackie and Harris leave Dan's house, Dan finally puts his foot down. Darlene sees that the family is torn apart before the restaurant is even opened.
The next episode Beverly gives them a plant, but wants nothing else to do with the restaurant. They knock down the wall for a new brick pizza oven, bringing pizzas to the building again. They said it would also bring historical significance. Unfortunately, they discover why the Chinese restaurant moved out. Beverly forgot to do maintenance on the building. There is an infestation of mold which wiped out an infestation of rats. The building needed to be reconstructed. Dan said that Jackie needs to lose her life savings or lose the restaurant. Even after Jackie spent her life savings, it seemed very unlikely that they would be able to pay for additional expenses. She decided to delay or cancel the restaurant entirely. The columnist decided to modify his article and publish it anyways, resulting in many people showing up for moral and even financial support. They gave Jackie and The Lunch Box things they could no longer keep, but still be able to enjoy as regular customers.
The Lunch Box is still under renovations through the end of 2019.
In alphabetical order by first name:
- Becky (particularly since late 2019)
- Beverly (owner since late 1992)
- Darlene (owner since late 2019)
- Dan (construction and maintenance)
- D.J. (founder of the name)
- Florence (supplier)
- Jackie (founder of 1992 and 2019 menus)
- Molly (part time temporary worker as punished by Roseanne)
- Nancy (minority owner since late 1992)
- Roseanne (founder of the waffle bar)
Since Season 10 was in development around April 2017, the tavern sandwich restaurant most likely went out of business in 2016, putting Roseanne and Jackie out. It is not stated when or if Nancy sold her share of the building.
- Tavern Sandwiches
- Sodas, but initially with no soda fountain
- Bags of chips
- Desserts, in a pie carousel
Until Late 2019Edit
- Chinese foods
Since Late 2019Edit
Since Roseanne's 10th season was in development as early as April 2017, It is most likely that the tavern sandwich restaurant shut down in 2016 with the Chinese place taking over by the end of 2016.
In Our UniverseEdit
According to Yelp and Restaurant Guru, The Lunch Box was located at 1314 Connor Street Prospect Heights, IL 60070.
Roseanne And Tom's Big Food DinerEdit
Around the same time The Lanford Lunch Box was developed, Tom Arnold and Roseanne developed a restaurant called Roseanne and Tom's Big Food Diner. They opened it in January 1993 and closed it around the same time the Roseanne in the Hood episode aired. It included merchandise. It was located in on Elm Street in Eldon, Iowa. These two restaurants are based off of The Canteen Lunch. The menu of all three places are identical.
Canteen Lunch In The Alley is another restaurant with an identical menu as The Lunch Box, with the sandwich known as a Canteen Sandwich. They have been open since 1927. It has an open kitchen design with stools around the counter. Since a tavern sandwich has loose meat, they have to be wrapped in thick wax paper. Spoons are also included to gather loose meat that fell out. They are located at 112 East 2nd Street Ottumwa, Iowa 52501. It moved there in 1936, and in 2000 supposed to be turned into a parking garage. Rejecting offers to move, they built the parking garage in 2004. Canteen Lunch is still open inside the parking garage. It still has its sign "Ottumwa's Landmark". In 2018, it started a yearly eating contest.
Maid-Rite is a Tavern Sandwich franchise that has over 100 restaurants. Many have been open for a long time, including the first four locations are still open today. At least one of these locations is added to The National Register Of Historic Places. The headquarters are located in Urbandale, Iowa, which is where Tom Arnold is from.