Minnesota’s donut scene is on fire—so please welcome another nouveau donut shop! Mojo Monkey Donuts opened last week on West 7th Street in St. Paul (between Randolph and Lexington), and I stopped in to give it a whirl.
First impression? So cute! The little storefront is all white, black, and robin’s egg blue, utterly retro and homey. There were a dozen donuts on offer, from the very gourmet (mango glazed with organic coconut) to the very now (whole strips of bacon on the Long John), to the utterly classic (yeast raised and glazed, cake, and crullers). How were they? Excellent! I think my absolute favorite was the plain old cake donut, a remarkably rich and buttery version, almost pound-cake like, but not overly so, not cloying or achingly sweet. The red-velvet donut with cream cheese frosting was another winner, rich with an almost mushroomy depth, it was better than most local bakeries red-velvet cakes. And the banana-fritter met with the great approval of my co-worker, the self-proclaimed fritter-snob: “A bad fritter is a mushy fritter, but this one is exceptionally crustalicious,” he mused.
Now, where did this new donut shop come from? Minnetonka, of course! That’s where owner Lisa Clark lives, but Clark told me she has always loved St. Paul, and when the space on 7th street came up she jumped at the chance to have a neighborhood donut shop there. “It’s such a great neighorhood, generations of families staying close to each other, and everyone has been so, so welcoming to us.” Clark has a background in baking, having worked for years at a local breadsmith, and credits her shop with having three sources of inspiration, Seattle’s famous donut shop Top Pots, Breadsmith, and her own children, who helped with all the product-testing, and came up with the name, which comes from her daughters’ love of monkeys, and the Powerpuff Girls’ arch-nemesis, Mojo Jojo.
Curious? Stop by before sunrise sometime—Mojo Monkey Donuts is open at 5:30 in the morning during the week, and at 6:30 a.m. on weekends, and stays open till around three in the afternoon.
Mojo Monkey Donuts
1169 7th St. W., St Paul