Apr 25, 2024 - News

We tried Tchotchke, the new restaurant where Munch's used to be

A breakfast counter with place settings, facing drink and coffee machines, a wall decorated with plates and two servers making runs in Hawaiian-print shirts.

The Munch's breakfast counter was still in place. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios

Right on the menu, south St. Pete's newest eatery Tchotchke acknowledges the award-winning fried chicken in the room.

  • "Thank you for trying us out. We hope to grow into being your neighborhood eatery," a note on the bottom right corner reads. "We have some big shoes to fill!"

Dig in: The big shoes are Munch's, the iconic south St. Pete diner that for seven decades served up breakfast and lunch "like mama used to make" that was once featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."

  • The restaurant opened as a sundries shop and post office in 1952 and closed December 2022, per the Tampa Bay Times.

πŸ‘‹ Kathryn here. I visited Tchotchke over the weekend, excited to try something new so close to my house in Lake Maggiore Shores.

Disclaimer: I'd been to Munch's a handful of times and totally respect the old-school menu and vibes.

  • But I am a millennial, so avocado toast-style modern brunch is more my speed.

The vibe: Tchotchke stayed true to its name, decorated with tons of knick knacks reminiscent of Munch's retro style.

  • It was clean, bright and had cute touches like fresh flowers on each table and flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom.
A close-up photo of a fried chicken sandwich
The delicious chicken sando. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios

The menu: New owner Matthew Firosz told St. Pete Rising he was going for "'old Florida' dishes with an international twist" while also paying tribute to Munch's.

  • Along with chilaquiles and migas, the menu has an eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes β€” a Munch's favorite β€” and low country-style shrimp and grits.

The bites: The chicken sando ($17) was delicious. Perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy, and the hot pepper relish was incredible. No notes.

  • The bread pudding French toast ($11) came out as a Lincoln log-like stack, almost like the dish itself was a tchotchke. I enjoyed the nostalgia factor of dipping French toast sticks in syrup, but I've had better French toast.
  • The migas ($16) β€” a Spanish-inspired dish of potatoes, bread, chorizo and tomato sauce β€” was under-seasoned but tasty after dousing it in Cholula.

The verdict: While it was a little pricey ($66 for three entrees, two coffees and a tip), we'll definitely go back.

  • The chicken sandwich alone was worth a second trip, and I'm eager to try other yummy-sounding dishes like the "not your Mamma's" mac and cheese and the smash burger.
A woman in a black top and blue baseball cap smiling after taking a bite of a French toast stick.
Mmmm, nostalgia. Photo: Courtesy of Winston Bartlett
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