Feb 1, 2017–You couldn’t get much more “out of the box.”
That overused phrase is the perfect description of the new Münch Food Park now open on Highway Street.
“We’re not in a box,” said owner Justin Armes. “Heck, we’re not even square.”
They’re more “tubular.”
The proper adjective would be “cylindrical”–the distinctive shape of their tower and the corrugated steel silos sitting at the entrance to Seitz Fundraising, still remembered by locals as the old Sunday House turkey plant. Speculation ran high as the structures went up. What was this new venture in the ‘burg?
“People were asking if it was a new winery, grain storage, park, and so on,” Armes said. “The real answer is a bit complicated.”
Munch is a public space and event venue. The main permanent structure is their “beverage barn,” where they serve craft beers and wine. Along one edge, a lineup of food trucks cook up a diverse menu. Currently on site are Mahaley’s at the Park, serving burgers and tacos (including breakfast tacos); Maui Shave Ice & Dogz, serving flavored shave ice and Nathan’s famous hot dogs; and Fredericksburg Mini-Donuts, serving hot donuts by the dozen, made fresh and covered with toppings to order.
The idea for converting the unused space into an unusual architectural village came from Armes and his wife, Kara.
“We are foodie people,” he said. They had noticed the popularity of food trailers in Austin and other cities, especially among millennials, and thought it would be a good concept in this community. “It’s a different eating experience, being outdoors with the chance to try unique foods.”
While they had the idea several years ago, Armes had to wait for city ordinances to accommodate food trucks. They started the building project last January and completed construction and opened in November.
Why steel silos?
“It was just a different look,” said Armes, noting that his brother-in-law Justin Seitz of Fort Worth was the designer. The reaction? “People are definitely intrigued,” he said. “It’s not ‘Fredericksburg-y’ but people like that it’s well done.”
In addition to the beverage barn, the site includes a fenced kids play area, shaded picnic tables, and a stage. It’s family and pet friendly. He sees the project as a win for everyone: diners have an easy way to experience new cuisine, while chefs can experiment with fresh menu ideas.
“We want people to come and try new foods, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the outdoors,” he said. “You can sit here, or grab it and go. We are open to anybody. If you want to get out for a quick lunch, or enjoy the day, and don’t want to mess with traffic and parking downtown.”
The site can accommodate six food trucks with full hookups, with even more on the parking lot. When the weather warms, Armes plans to add live music on weekends.
Even during these unpredictable winter months, the feedback has been “5 star.”
“The majority of people walk out with a smile on their face,” he said. “They say ‘it’s the coolest thing in town’ and ‘totally different than anything else.’”
Out of the box.
Münch Food Park is located at 1108 Sunco Street in Fredericksburg.
Phil Houseal is a writer and owner of Full House PR.