Mojo Monkey
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.

(credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

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.

Help Joel Cam and I find a hidden gem in your neighborhood! Send us a tweet, a Facebook message or an email and tell us where to stop when we’re in your part of town. We want to hear your thoughts!

Comments (4)
  1. Larry Jones says:

    Really? The owner lives in Minnetonka and claims she got the idea from her daughter(s)? Maybe. Or is it possible that she’s been to Yo Yo Donuts within the last couple of years? Maple donut with bacon? CHECK. Weird kid friendly concoctions (s’more, kiddie breakfast cereal, etc.)? CHECK.

    Why can’t people be more honest?

    1. Don't rush to judgement says:

      Larry, she didn’t necessarily take it from Yo Yo… what about Voodoo donuts in Portland, Or? They’ve been open since 2003 and were featured on The Food Network years back…
      No matter where she got the ideas, it sounds like an AWESOME place to try!

      1. Camila says:

        I’ve never had red quinoa. Always tawned to try it, and I bet it’s delicious with squash and onions what a wonderful fall dish.I am Smartphoneless as well as iPhoneless. Hoping Santa comes through with one for me this year, and Santa, just so you know I REALLY want an iPhone. So glad you liked the donuts. HEABlet loved them as well, and apparently, so did our dogs. They stole the last one off the counter can’t leave anything close to edge of the counter in our house!

  2. Michelle says:

    See in my opinion, what just haeppned wasn’t your fault and is just fine. No guilt needed. It IS a very moderate diet. I mean, are you planning to eat 4 donuts every day this week? Just for your info worked from 9-5 yesterday and then went to Tim Horton’s to pick up lots of goodies for a guest speaker coming into our school (I was at the school from 5:30-9:30). By the time 9:30pm hit I was happy to finally be home and yup I did it. I had a bowl of ice cream AND 4 tim bits. I mean my thoughtful husband bought me a bowl of peanutbutter ice cream. I didn’t want him to feel bad if I didn’t eat it. I didn’t eat a single tim bit at the meeting, but by the time I got home, they were calling my name. It happens to the best of us.