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Where Y’Eat: Returning to a Beloved Restaurant with New Eyes, Fresh Cravings

Creole gumbo at the Munch Factory
Photo by Ian McNulty
Creole gumbo at the Munch Factory

Lately I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite hidden gems, and taking a new colleague along with me to introduce them. What a pleasure this has been, to see places I love through someone else’s eyes and to see that revelation anew.

That’s especially true for The Munch Factory , a restaurant that is truly the definition of a hidden gem. It’s all but invisible from the street, tucked into the clubhouse of Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course in Gentilly.

In one of its roles, it serves as an amenity for golfers. But the Munch Factory is really a family-run neighborhood restaurant sitting in the middle of a neighborhood that could certainly use more of them.


This one serves modern Creole comfort food, real New Orleans flavor with a creative streak. Start with the gumbo -- earthy, smooth, slurpable, with dense sausage and tender shrimp, the essence of the family kitchen served up by the ladle.


Then maybe Buffalo oysters, with a buttery, tangy sauce cling to the ruffles of crisp fried edges, or the fish tacos, equal parts New Orleans party food and West Coast beach food.


Some of this restaurant’s regulars have been following its progression since the start in 2011. That means following a family too.

Family stories are not straight lines, with chapters that feel like they're at the top of the wheel and other times that plunge lower. When family stories flow through family restaurants, we can see them play out and even play a role in them.

Munch Factory is a story of one that’s grown, struggled, relocated and endured, while serving food with heart and soul that tastes like it belongs in New Orleans — because it does. Going back, and bringing someone new, reminded me just how much I value the type of family run neighborhood restaurant it represents, and what makes them so valuable for New Orleans. When you connect with a place like this, and the people behind it, the next visit brings something that lasts longer than a meal.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.