Reporting Holly Wagner
1169 7th Street West, St. Paul
This visit took me by surprise. Joel Cam had this new place in mind after our live shots at the Capitol. We were going for coffee, but more important the donuts!
I know this is supposed to be a coffee blog, but in this blog the story is the donuts. First of all, only on rare occasion do I eat donuts. My lunch (which I eat at 8 a.m.) usually consists of a peanut butter sandwich, veggies and fruit, and of course a chocolate square or five. Boring yes, but healthy. I intended to only have the coffee. Well, that didn’t work out.
Mojo Monkey is on West 7th near Randolph Avenue in St. Paul. It’s tucked in a series of shops in an old brick building, clearly identifiable by the cartoon photo of the monkey on the window. We stopped just before 7 a.m. and the windows were fogged over from all of the steam coming from the kitchen.
From there, it’s hard to remember much except for the overwhelming feeling I had when we looked at the cases of donuts. Yowsa! I was captivated by the chocolate-iced cake donut, but the more impressive, decadent looking donuts appeared to be more like dessert with a morning touch.
Joel Cam took photos of our favorites … mocha mousse-filled raised donut, maple icing covered long john with a strip of bacon, and s’mores donuts, with a giant marshmallow on top.
Joel Cam says the mocha donut was the best tasting donut he ever had, until he tried the bacon one.
After seeing all of these delightfully donut-riffic pastries, I called the owner after to ask a few questions, and she has such a great story.
Lisa Clark is a single mom from Minnetonka, Minn. She told me the idea for Mojo Monkey came from her kids. She has three daughters, Dria, Bella, and Hanna, ages 22, 14, and 12. She says one of her girls would never eat cake for her birthday, and would only eat donuts.
Clark says it’s always been a challenge finding really good donuts in the Twin Cities, so she started making them. She and her daughters spent a lot of time in the kitchen over the course of three years, coming up with their own recipes, taste testing, and more taste testing before they opened up Mojo Monkey just four months ago. Clark tells me they have a couple of additional recipes they’re perfecting and plan to introduce them soon.
In a time when the economy is still sputtering, it’s great to hear about an entrepreneur who is doing well. Clark said she’s been overwhelmed (in a good way) with how busy they’ve been. Lisa, we will be back! We brought a dozen donuts back to the newsroom, and they were devoured.
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