Lunch in a box, and kindness in Sabrina McNall's workplace

Sabrina McNall in her sandwich shop, Sabrina
Sabrina McNall in her sandwich shop, Sabrina's Lunch in a Box. McNall guides her business with an overriding philosophy of kindness and respect for all people.
— image credit: Daniel Nash

After sitting for several minutes in Sabrina’s Lunch in a Box, a new breakfast and lunch restaurant on Alder Avenue in Sumner, it becomes apparent that it is a sandwich shop with a message.

Underneath the counter, a painted board reads “Be Kinder Than Necessary.” Similar inspirational sayings adorn the walls of the eatery.

“They’re things that I believe: being kind to everyone,” owner and manager Sabrina McNall said. “I wanted to make a friendly place for people to come.”

Lunch in a Box is McNall’s first foray into restaurants and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. As long as she could remember, McNall wanted to open a deli-style “simple sandwich shop,” she said. She loved entertaining, she loved people, and she loved cooking for large groups of people, she said.

Within the past year she began to pursue her dream, and in March she was able to open her doors to hungry Sumnerites.

“(My husband and I) were at a good time in our lives to do it,” she said. “Our children were getting older and we were finishing up our mortgage.”

While McNall said she loved her job as the general manager of a gutter company, it was time to give her idea a try.

She learned everything she could about the restaurant business, including where to get food with the best quality-to-price ratio.

She developed a menu of seven breakfast items and 11 lunch items, including her original bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich—a current bestseller.

While looking for commercial space, her husband’s barber advised him of an opening in the 909 Alder Ave. shopping center.

McNall sat down with the owners of the building, and the restaurant equipment in the space, and explained her dream. They responded by “opening their arms,” McNall said.

The community has done the same.

“As soon as we walked through these doors, people came by to meet me,” she said. “They gave me advice, which I took and tried to do as best I could.”

McNall has raised awareness for Lunch in a Box by distributing $2-off coupons to local businesses, which she said she hopes will spur continued repeat business.

“I love this place; it’s homey,” she said. “I don’t plan on leaving.”

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