My husband, Bill, and I set out to fulfill the “All-American Dream” for our family – to work for ourselves by establishing a new business. We realized that the best way to accomplish this goal was to find a need in the community, and then determine a way to satisfy it. At that time, in January of 1981, Oyster Point Business Park in Newport News, Virginia employed about 700 people who needed a convenient place to enjoy lunch. Thus, there was a need for a restaurant within the business park. We saw a way to serve this special business community and fulfill our dream at the same time.
And so it was that February 18, 1981, The Lunch Bell began as a sandwich shop with 52 seats, including seating at an old drug store style counter. We thought about omitting the counter section several times until a salesman said he never felt alone eating at a counter where he could talk to the waitress. Then we knew we would keep it. The restaurant also expanded outside the limit of the current facility to include business and corporate catered lunches and affairs. In January of 1986, The Lunch Bell relocated across the street to 703 Thimble Shoals Boulevard, and a second dining room was added for private meetings, business lunches and afternoon meetings. We enjoyed that location for 17 years.
We relocated and expanded once again in June, 2003 to a new building in a beautiful area known as “City Center” and are located at 694 Town Center Drive. This area houses some of the stalwart businesses of Newport News, as well as some of the city offices. We have been serving the entire Peninsula for about 7 years from this new location and don’t see an end in sight!
Thank you for helping us to fulfill our American Dream for over 30 years!
Betty Swain, with husband, Bill