St. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A St. Petersburg staple is closing its doors after 70 years in business.
Munch’s Restaurant and Sundries will be closing on December 30th. Restaurant owner Larry Munch said his parents started the restaurant in 1952. He bought the restaurant in the 1990s and is now retired.
“I’ve had people come up and tell me they can remember when I was running around here in diapers,” he said. “I don’t remember that, but I can remember washing dishes back when I was like 12 or 14 years old.”
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Munch said her mother lived until she was 98, and worked at the restaurant until she was 88.
“The last few weeks that he was still with us he said, ‘Larry, don’t work until you’re 88-years-old. Retire early and enjoy life,’ so that’s what I’m doing,” Munch said.
Munch said it will be bittersweet to close the doors for the last time next week.
“I don’t think it will hit me for two weeks, two to three weeks and then suddenly, I will probably wake up one morning and go, ‘oh, I don’t have to go to work anymore,’ and I think I will miss the camaraderie of all the customers and other things. This is probably what I will miss the most, “he said.
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“It was very rewarding. We raised several families here and I have employees who have been with me for 28 years. I have had some who have worked for me for 38 years. They raised their families. than here,” Munch said.
On Wednesday, customers packed the restaurant. For most of the morning and part of the afternoon, the line was out the door. Many took one last photo where they call it a St. Pete institution.
“I’ve been here forever as long as he’s been here, so he’s got a lot of memories for me,” Nancy Daugherty said.
Daugherty said she has been coming to Munch’s since she was a baby. His parents used to take him at least once a week.
“My dad would always sit at the far end of the bar on the other side. They had a stool for him, so he sat there,” he said. “He would bring me, and he would always have a cheeseburger, his favorite, and they would always have apple pie for him and if we came in the morning, he would have chocolates and I think these are the best my memories with my mom and dad. come here,” Daugherty said.
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Daugherty said he was shocked Wednesday in honor of his father.
“I was heartbroken because it’s such a big deal in this community, in this neighborhood, so it was hard,” he said of the restaurant’s closing. “Everybody comes to Munch’s. If I meet people who haven’t been to Munch’s, I’m like, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t been to Munch’s,’ and I tell them where it is.”
Jim Siebert, another customer, has been coming to Munch’s for 46 years.
“It’s just a real weird old place, how many are left? That’s it as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Tom Jones and his friends have had lunch at Munch’s once a month for the past 40 years, he said.
“I don’t know that we can replace this place,” Jones said. “It’s irreplaceable, so we’ll still eat lunch somewhere, but it won’t be the same as coming to Munch’s,” Jones said.
Munch said he is not yet sure what the new owner plans to do with the property. The restaurant is open next week Monday-Friday 8 am to 2 pm
Munch said they will have some of the most popular items from the restaurant’s 70 years in business on the menu, such as Munch burgers and beef sandwiches.