Darrell & Marilyn Munch
Darrell's Place was started in 1980 by Darrell and Marilyn Munch. They started the small cafe on the corner of 1st Street and Highway 44 in Hamlin, Iowa in what used to be the old bank. Hamlin is a small rural community in Southwest, Iowa that sits at the intersection of Highway 71 and Highway 44. A great location for the people passing through from nearby towns.
The cafe started when Darrell, a farmer at the time, had back surgery and needed to take it a little easier and passed the farming operation down to his second son Jeff. Marilyn, at that time, was a mother and sales rep for Stanley cleaning products. Marilyn had always loved entertaining and having friends and family over for large dinners and events so it wasn't a shock that she wanted to share her love of cooking to a broader audience.
They decided to open the cafe in Hamlin because that is where Marilyn's family is from. The cafe was a staple in the community and it attracted many visitors. Although the original building worked, the size was becoming to small for the growing business. Since buying the building wasn't an option at the time, Darrell and Marilyn decided that they would build a new, larger building across the road. The new building was a large yellow machine shed that could seat roughly 80 people and had much more space in the kitchen and for storage. The new location allowed them to grow the business but keep there great location and customers.
Jeff & Diana Munch
Randi Jo Munch Memorial Park
In 2007, after 27 years of business, Darrell and Marilyn decided to retire. Because it was such a family run business throughout the years, Darrell and Marilyn's second oldest son, Jeff and his wife Diana decided to buy the business. The weird thing was that Jeff and Diana actually met at the cafe because Diana started working at the cafe part-time when she was 16 years old and a few years later she started to date Jeff and late married and they are still the current owners and operators of the restaurant today. That is why Darrell's Place has always truly been a family owned restaurant. Everyone in the family has taken part in Darrell's Place's succes. Darrell and Marilyn's four boys, their spouses, and their 6 grandkids, Marilyn's sister and her kids, and even Diana's mother Connie has worked there for many years. It is what has made the cafe such a special place for the Munch Family. Not only Munch's work here though. There are so many hardworking people that make this place function from day-to-day and we couldn't do it with out the Darrell's Place Family.
In 2009, the Audubon County Conservationists created the T-Bone Bike Trail along the old railroad tracks, running from Audubon, IA to Interstate 80. The trail was apart of the Highway 71 Beautification Project that was created to clean up Audubon County and it's roads. Shortly after, the Audubon Manning Vet Clinic (AMVC Cares), bought the junk yard located along Hwy 71, that sepatated the trail from the cafe and turned it into a memorial park for Jeff and Diana's late daughter, Randi Jo Munch, who passed away in 2004.
Today the bike trail and park serve as a great attraction and beautiful entrance for the restaurant and for people passing by. If you live in the area, you know Darrell's Place and probably everyone who works there, and probably their family. It is a famiily tradition, not just for the Munch family but for the families that work here and for the families that have lived in the area. It is a great place to bring your family or friends for a great tasting, affordable meal. So come on by and give us a try. We would love to see you.
The Darrell's Place Family