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Gentilly’s newest gem, The Munch Factory

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How many times do you say (or hear), “Before Katrina, I used to …” That many times, huh? Yeah, before Katrina, we used to eat at Vasquez on Franklin Ave. and shop at Ferrara’s on Elysian Fields and go to St. Raphael Church on Filmore. But guess what, it’s not “before Katrina” anymore, so let’s enjoy what we got right now! (Ok, we’re done.)

So, I bet you’re thinking, “What we got right now, InthekNOwla?” Well, we’re so glad you asked. The next time you’re in the Gentilly area and you're having a craving for some good food, you have got to stop at The Munch Factory, a great new, family-owned restaurant.

The Munch Factory is exactly as the name sounds…a place (factory) where things (food) are being created and built for you to use (munch). And the master creators in this factory are Chef Jordan Ruiz and his wife, Alexis Pearson Ruiz (and sometimes their 2 year-old son, Dominic, who loves to help Mom and Dad).

The Munch Factory New Orleans |
Jordan and Alexis are New Orleans…so, so New Orleans. Starting out as boyfriend and girlfriend in the 7th grade at Lusher Elementary School, working their way through high school at St. Aug and Benjamin Franklin, going away to college and finally getting married and starting a family, Jordan and Alexis are pleased to showcase their second baby, which they have nurtured (much like their relationship) from the beginning.

You see, The Munch Factory wasn’t always a big time restaurant in Gentilly. Alexis explained, “When we first started out, we just rented a kitchen to serve plates ‘old grandma style.’ Every Monday, we would notify everyone of the week’s options of what would be served each night and people would email us their order of what they wanted and when. So, when we started doing deliveries, most of the people that we were delivering to were in Gentilly and New Orleans East because they didn’t have the options everybody else had.”

Seeing the need there was for their food, Alexis and Jordan came up with what seemed like a crazy idea at first, owning their own restaurant. “We knew that in order to expand, we would definitely have to find a better kitchen that could accommodate all that we wanted to do,” Alexis said. “My first job when I was 16 years old was at Vasquez Seafood Restaurant on Franklin Ave. and we found out that Mr. Vasquez owned a building in Gentilly. So, we called him up and he actually remembered me and was excited to help us out.”

The Munch Factory New Orleans |
On April 1, 2011, The Munch Factory opened its doors and has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response. From the signature Shrimp and Grits (sautéed shrimp in a Worcestershire sauce served on top of stone ground grits) and the Fine’s Herb Chicken (half of a deboned chicken, first sautéed, then slow cooked in the oven and topped with a creamy herb sauce served with potato croquettes), the love and passion that Jordan has for cooking is apparent in every bite.

And Jordan is no stranger to the cooking world. First of all, he’s a child of New Orleans, so you know he knows what good food is. Aside from that ingrained, natural talent, Jordan is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), as well as having cooked for Emeril’s, Commander’s Palace, and Loews Hotel. So, you can actually “taste” the love that Jordan has for his profession.

As a result, you definitely don’t have to worry if your food is going to taste good. “Everything at The Munch Factory is made to order,” explained Alexis. “You might wait 20 minutes, but at the same time you’re getting a dish that’s been freshly prepared. And everything is from scratch from the salad dressing to the sauce. We’re trying to show people know that you can have really good, affordable food that is convenient and fresh. Furthermore, if you have dietary needs, we’re making the food to order so we can accommodate you.”

The Munch Factory New Orleans |
And think those Shrimp and Grits were too good and you wish you had some to take home? Don’t worry cuz you definitely will! Alexis said, “We’re not stingy with plate sizes, either. We don’t want you to feel like, ‘That was good, but I wish I had five more bites on my plate.’ We want you to be able to take some home and say, ‘This is good even later. I can’t wait to go back.’ That’s the kind of stuff that makes people feel like we actually care instead of just trying to take their money. And it’s almost like having your own little private party when you come here. As your host, I want to wine and dine you and have you coming back for more. I believe in my heart that as long as the food is always great and we make people feel like we really want them to be here, then we should be around for many years to come.”

We couldn’t agree with Alexis more. From the family atmosphere (sometimes Mom and Uncle are on hand to help out) to the awesome food, Jordan and Alexis are showing New Orleans that it can be done, that our young people are capable of doing great things and carving out a great future for our city and ourselves. Local nonprofit, Café Reconcile, has also recognized the importance of The Munch Factory and Jordan and Alexis will be working with the organization serving as important role models for at-risk teens in the city. As the saying goes, the future begins with us and what a great way to give back to our community by mentoring our youth.
The Munch Factory New Orleans |
Currently, The Munch Factory is open Tuesday-Friday from 5:00pm-9:00pm. On Saturdays, there is a Brunch Buffet from 10:30am-2pm. For $20, you can enjoy all the French toast with French bread, omelets to order, grilled salmon, hash browns, scrambled eggs, grits, waffles, unlimited mimosa and bellinis, and more.

So, New Orleans, show your support for a great family and business. As Alexis explained, “I love New Orleans for its realness. What you see is what you get here. We’re not always the cleanest, or this or that, but we are what we are. New Orleans is a city that allows you to be who you are and accepts you for it.”

We have to give a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Jordan & Alexis! They are the Grand Prize Winners of Capital One's "Grow Gentilly" Business Plan Competition!

ANOTHER UPDATE: We have to give another HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Jordan & Alexis as they have outgrown their current location on Franklin Ave. and will be moving to 6325 Elysian Fields in September.


The Munch Factory
5339 Franklin Ave.
(504) 324-5372
Open Tuesday – Friday, 5:00pm – 9:00pm

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 September 2012
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