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Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox is the brainchild of Brian Cartenuto, a two-time winner on the reality cook-off competition Cutthroat Kitchen. A Niceville, Florida, native, Cartenuto chose Deerfield for the second location of his casual eatery, what began as nothing more than a dive in an old parson’s building in his hometown in the Panhandle. Armed with nothing more than a panini press, home fryer, and two toasters, Cartenunto hypnotized locals with a short menu of sandwiches, Southern-style blue-plate specials, and burgers from his eight-seat lunch counter. His master creation is a half-pound patty of Florida Seminole Pride beef arranged in a multilayered Jenga pile of fried onion rings, melted American cheese, mixed baby greens, and celery-salted tomato on a toasted, onion-encrusted bun. Pink Tucker sauce — Cartenuto’s insanely addictive version of a Louisiana remoulade, or Comeback sauce — is the glue that attempts to hold it all together. It can make it easy to overlook the menu’s other highlights, a short list of whimsical “snacks” like fried pickles, mini corn dogs, and a heart-attack-inducing take on popcorn drenched in maple syrup, butter, and bacon. Evoke childhood memories with his PB&J bonbons, a lunchtime treat fashioned into hush puppies with a molten peanut butter center. They’re served on a dollop of fresh blackberry jam with a shot glass of milk.


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