St. Pete’s iconic Munch’s Restaurant & Sundries, as seen on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ will close next week

Larry Munch hopes the new owner keeps his beloved diner alive.

click to enlarge St. Pete’s iconic Munch’s Restaurant & Sundries, as seen on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ will close next week
Munch's Restaurant and Sundries / Facebook
A popular and longstanding no-frills diner experience in St. Pete will soon come to an end.

Munch's Restaurant and Sundries—which has operated in south St. Pete since 1952—will close its doors next week, as owner Larry Munch recently finalized the sale of both his business and the property.

However, there's a possibility of the property's new owner continuing the historic restaurant, since their $2.7 million dollar purchase came with the business's name and equipment as well.

A representative of the buyer, Brian Wedlake, told the Tampa Bay Times yesterday that "the new owners hope to find a new operator with a shared vision of tipping their hat to the past while embracing the improvements and growth that is occurring in the area," also adding that there will be changes made on the property itself.

Although there's a chance that the Munch's legacy will live on, loyal customers of many different ages have already started to say their goodbyes to the iconic St. Pete eatery.

Walking into this old-timey diner, you're typically greeted with walls covered in vintage photographs and a friendly (but busy) waitress that always calls you "hun."  When going to pay at the counter up front (with cash only, of course,) you’re typically greeted with a variety of old school candies and tie dyed, Guy Fieri-approved merchandise.

According to its Facebook page, the iconic diner will serve its very last customers on Friday, Dec. 30. “December 30 at one o’clock is the last day, also special menu and hours for the last week will be posted by this Thursday,” Munch’s stated on Facebook earlier this week.

The diner will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and will reopen next week with limited hours to serve its final customers under the original ownership.

Staples on the Munch’s menu include sweet country sausage patties, hand-churned milkshakes and its prized cream chipped beef, which was featured on season 11 of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Fieri also tried Munch’s famous fried chicken and Texas hash, securing St. Pete’s reputation as a Flavortown of its own.

The diner’s entire property at 3920 6th St. S was listed for sale for a whopping $2.7 million back in June.  Sixty-eight-year-old, second generation owner Larry Munch told Bay News 9 back in August that he made the decision to sell the restaurant because he’s simply ready to retire.

He hoped that whoever ended up buying the property would keep the legacy of his namesake alive, but only time will tell if his wishes come into fruition.

Larry’s parents, Dean and Clariece Munch, opened their post office and sundries stand in 1952. Selling simple sandwiches out of the back of their car eventually evolved into a full-service diner with a longstanding reputation in The Burg’.

In addition to Munch’s, the acre-long parcel of purchased land also includes Southside Coffee Bar, Phillips Air Conditioning & Heating, Coquina Meat Market in an adjacent building and the duplex in the back of the parking lot. "The lot includes a strip center with multiple rental tenants alongside Munch’s, as well as two single-family homes,” the now-defunct real estate listing reads.

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reached out to Southside Coffee Bar to see if it shares a final day with its neighbor, but was unable to reach a representative of the business.

Another St. Pete diner might soon share the fate of Munch’s, as Kissin Cuzzins at 951 34th St. N is currently for sale as well. Munch's will soon join the ranks of recently-closed St. Pete institutions, including Wilson's Bar and the Central Avenue bookstore Haslam's, which never re-opened after 2020's COVID-19 lockdowns.

Swing by Munch's next week for one final chicken fried steak, tip your server well, and finally purchase that tie dye t-shirt you've always joked about buying.

Next week's hours will be limited, so call ahead to make sure they're open. 
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Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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