>> The Munch Box | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

The Munch Box

USA 🇺🇸


COVID-19 UPDATE: Some patrons might sit at the burger stand's outdoor tables and get away with it, but there are signs posted currently saying it is not allowed. The parking lot is large enough that you can stand near your car and eat.

Besides being a Valley staple since 1956, housed in a modernist Googie car culture gem that has eventually been landmarked, The Munch Box was also known as a favorite haunt of Charles Manson. Apparently he was a big fan of root beer floats back in the day, and drank them as he waited for Sadie to finish her forced shifts at the strip club across the street.

Chatsworth residents have been enjoying those floats and the messy chili burgers under that space age overhang (that is now illegal if not for the landmark status) for a long time. For the rest of the city, it was probably on the radar after Huell Howser visited back in April 2003 for his show, shortly after the building was finally landmarked. Since the early 90's, developers had wanted to tear it down and replace it with an ugly strip mall most likely.


It is hard to miss the small yellow hut when cruising down Devonshire and hopping off the 118 on your way to Simi Valley and Moorpark is pretty easy. While the numbers next to items get a bit bigger over the years, the Coca Cola-branded menu and offerings all stay the same.
 
Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs come standard with the house chili. You can get a "hickory" burger for an extra quarter, but this seems to only be liquid smoke.
 

It is doubtful that a nice photo of the hamburger ($4, above) at The Munch Box has ever been taken, but the pandemic takes the ugliness to a whole new level as everything must be quickly packed to go. The beauty above has all the normal options on it (chili, onion, pickle, and tomato) and adds cheese for an additional 55 cents.
 
The patty used here, the cheese, and the rest of it are reminiscent of fast food chains, but much more enjoyable in these environs. The chili is the claim to fame and should not be missed. The only thing that holds back any burger here is the dry, lifeless bun that they put it on. Watching the Huell Howser episode makes you long for the days they used sesame buns and toasted them on the griddle.
 

For those that find themselves here without chili love, the mushroom burger ($4.25, above) is a better option than asking for no chili. This burger has the same bones but uses a mushroom gravy instead. Bonus points since it is not as messy and photographs well.
 
A side of fries ($2.50, below) are just your standard frozen batch, but they fry them up nice and crisp and they pair really well with small nibbles of the yellow peppers they offer with each order.
 

And assuming you do not already live in Chatsworth and have traveled to try The Munch Box, you might as well do as Manson did and order the root beer float ($3.15, below) while you are here. The ice cream is surprisingly satisfying and makes for a good quencher of that sweet tooth.
 
At the beginning of 2021 we can hope to be back on those round spinning stools in front of The Munch Box by the time summer hits the Valley.
 


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