Popular Siouxland food truck opens first restaurant

Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 4:53 PM CDT
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JACKSON, NE (KTIV) - Tess Etherington, co-owner of The Lunch Box, has lived in Jackson, Nebraska for over 20 years.

A nurse by trade, she ended up transitioning to the food service industry when the Director of Food Services position became available at her children’s school, Siouxland Christian.

She originally got the idea to serve food when she noticed several construction workers working on the road in Jackson, and thought it would be a kind gesture to provide them lunch.

With her new experience and the benefits of working at a school, she decided to kick off that idea right in her driveway.

“In the summers I’m off work,” said Tess Etherington, Co-Owner of The Lunch Box in Jackson, NE. “And so we decided to start that thing where we can serve people lunch. And we bought a little camper, a little Winnebago camper, and we converted it to kind of a lunch trailer.”

Before ever working in the cafeteria and buying the camper, Etherington and her husband considered buying the Sweet Tooth: a longtime Jackson ice cream shop that was selling their building.

However, without food service experience, they decided to hold off.

Now, nearly 5 years later, that idea has come to fruition.

“And really, we just look at that now as being the Lord’s timing because I had never cooked for that many people before,” said Etherington. “And so working at the school the last four years has really helped me to know how to cook for a large amount of people.”

The Lunch Box officially opened their doors last Tuesday, and the response has been overwhelming from the local community, many of whom are excited to see the Sweet Tooth’s old facility re-open.

Etherington says she hopes to continue the legacy the Sweet Tooth established, even adding ice cream and milkshakes to the Lunch Box menu.

“We just wanted to honor her tradition too and her legacy, and what she built, the business that she built here” said Etherington. “So, it’s just been incredible. We’ve had--we’ve been so busy!”

Tess says without all the support she’s been given through this journey, none of this would have been possible.

“We’re just so thankful for the community and for family,” said Etherington. “Church family, it’s just been amazing. So we’re very grateful to be here.”

The Lunch Box also has big plans for the future.

Now that they have a brick and mortar location and the capacity to hire more staff, they’re planning on staying open year round, and adding new items to the menu.

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