The Lunchbox Eatery
An autumn drive through the southern Sheyenne River Valley provides breathtaking views of open meadows, tree-lined rolling hills, robust farmland, and thriving pastures. As visitors drive slowly down Main Street in Fort Ransom, a community of 77 residents, they are welcomed by a restaurant with a charming front porch with an eclectic pop of green paint called The Lunchbox Eatery.
This quaint restaurant full of Americana charm serves culinary fare rivaling that of larger cities. The owners prepare everything from a made-from-scratch daily menu, family meals-to-go, craft cocktails, LB Bakery baked goods, as well as provide off-site catering.
This culinary couple brings talent and varied backgrounds to the table to provide an authentic experience to guests. Proprietor Andrew Johnson attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Minneapolis, Minn. After completing his formal education, Andrew worked at various prominent local restaurants in the Fargo-Moorhead area, such as the HoDo and Ushers House. Since an early age, co-proprietor Madalyn could be found in the kitchen, making soups, lasagna, and other family favorites.
Madalyn gained her experience first-hand working at various establishments, from sushi to fine dining.
Their shared dream of owning a restaurant became a reality in 2016 when they purchased what is now The Lunchbox Eatery. The Johnsons said, “We absolutely love this tiny community and couldn’t imagine raising our children and restaurant anywhere else!”
On top of the accomodating service and the delectable meals provided at The Lunchbox Eatery, this area is home to numerous entrepreneurs who offer services ranging from guided hunting to a newly reopened tubing resort, Thrill Hills.
The Fort Ransom area is a community based on not solely agriculture, but also tourism. Fort Ransom and the surrounding Sheyenne River Valley are hosts to a state park, numerous hiking and cross-country ski trails, kayaking opportunities, abundant wildlife, picturesque views, snowmobile trails, and North Dakota’s only registered waterfall in the Sheyenne State Forest.
Guests looking for more than a day trip have unique lodging opportunities ranging from yurts to camping to cottage rentals. Events like Sodbuster Days demonstrate early settlers’ farming methods, and the Arts and Crafts Festival, whose purpose is to preserve arts and crafts heritage, cultivate the community’s strong sense of history.
When asked, the Johnsons were happy to share one of their favorite recipes with Cass County Electric members in this month’s Highline Notes issue. If you need more of their fare, this hidden gem in rural North Dakota is worth the drive!
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup room temperature
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 cup pepperoni
Let the warm water, yeast, and sugar sit for 5 minutes in a bowl. In a stand-up mixer or by hand, mix the water, yeast and sugar mixture with the remaining ingredients and then knead for 5 minutes. Form into two loaves, place in greased bread pans, or place on greased pan for free-form and let rise until double (about 30 minutes). Bake at 300° for 35-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180°-200°. Enjoy!