Munchëz is located in a little stand that switches owners and cuisines faster than new signs can be produced. I’m still in mourning for the charbroiled chicken tacos from its last incarnation called Pollos La Carbonera. But now, it has been reborn as a sandwich, burger, salad, wings and hot dog joint. Thus, a new visit was in order.
The Location: Munchëz is in an orange and yellow hut that looms up right before the I-147 on-ramp driving up Fayetteville Road into downtown Durham. You can walk up and order at the front window or drive through, but it does take longer than fast food. My meal took about 15 minutes, which they apologized for as lengthy.
The Company: While waiting for my food, one of the owners chatted with me, full of excitement and pride in their signature items like the chili ranch sauce on my sandwich and the blueberry vinaigrette.
The Food: Munchëz has a number of intriguing items lurking on their otherwise standard grill menu. Worth noting is the Frenchi hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep-fried, and dressed with red onion sauce, Dijon mustard and potato stix. However, I was in a hot sandwich mood and ordered a Mexicano and a Cubano. Both were huge. They were also packed with meat.
The Cubano had vinegary, shredded pork and deli-sliced ham, and my husband found it satisfying. My Mexicano was stuffed with three huge chunks of grilled chicken breast. Its chili ranch sauce was gritty, flavorful and much heavier on the chili powder side than the ranch side – perfect for me. The corn and roasted red peppers were delicious floating in that messy, messy mixture. The Italian bread rolls for both were wonderfully chewy and soft.
The sides need some work, though. The French fries were on the limp side and obviously just out of a bag, and the side salad was just a dish of hamburger toppings: shredded iceberg, parmesan cheese, diced tomato and onion shavings. The blueberry vinaigrette, however, was phenomenal, and I’m not even a fan of blueberry. There were many lumpy fruit chunks, and the flavor was vibrant and sweet.
The Service: I upgraded both our sandwiches to combos for an extra $1.50 each, and I chose onion rings and a side salad for our sides. Both had fries when delivered instead, but I was quickly given a side salad when I pointed it out, and I chose not to ask for the onion rings as well.
The Final Bill: For two large sandwiches and two combo meal upgrades, our total was $20.20. There are plenty of cheaper options, especially on the hot dog menu, if that seems steep for faster food.
The Verdict: Munchëz is a worthy successor to that location’s past restaurants, assuming they kick the quality of their sides up a notch. More importantly to this night owl, however, is that they stay open until 3 am on the weekends.
Rebecca Gomez Farrell is a Durham-based fantasy, horror and romance author and a freelance editor. She reviews the Triangle’s restaurants and cocktails on her blog, the Gourmez, contributes to the food blog Carpe Durham and writes television commentary for All My Writers.