Do you remember that effortlessly cool guy who you went to high school with? That’s effectively Monuts in a nutshell. He isn’t trendy, or trying too hard, or annoyingly perfect. His style is classic with a twist, and it’s really, really difficult not to like him. And, best of all, he has donuts!
Originally working off a tricycle near the Durham Farmer’s Market, Monuts was established in 2011 by Lindsay Moriarty and Rob Gillespie. Still in Durham today, the eatery has become a popular bakery and brunch hub for families, college students, and plain-ole’ donut enthusiasts. My husband and I drive (from Raleigh) to join the other regulars almost every weekend.
The décor is what I would call “minimalist cool”: single sheets of paper art suspended along plain walls, white subway tiles, and strings of bare-bulb lights. Seating is offered in the form of rustic, wood-top tables and a large island. You can choose from either order-and-sit service or a more personalized full service approach at the bar. The staff is always friendly and attentive, and can even be seen grabbing a bite before their shift begins (you’ll know because they will be wearing a hat or a headband).
I dare you to try a donut here and not love it. Inventive flavors like Toasted Amaretto, Blueberry Basil, and Sweet Potato Bourbon Sea Salt are made fresh daily (around 7,500 are made by hand each week). I recommend arriving early on weekends for warm donuts and some extra elbowroom. Although Monuts fanatics are particularly sweet on their donuts, you’ll also find an assortment of breakfast and lunch items – everything from granola bowls to breakfast sandwiches to soup and superfood salads. All plated ingredients are locally sourced or made in-house. The menu is seasonal and thoughtfully prepared, as Monuts relies heavily on fresh ingredients and creative flavor pairings to make each dish tasty. Not to be overlooked, a variety of coffee options are also available, and range from Japanese Method iced coffee to traditional lattes, as well as a few boozy selections.
While I prefer to nosh through the menu, my husband never hesitates to order the Cheverything ($8). Focaccia bread houses chévre cream cheese, applewood smoked bacon (omnivores can sub avocado), egg soufflé, tomato, red onion, leafy greens, and maple sriracha. This large sandwich will certainly sustain you until lunch, especially when supplemented by an indulgent donut.
If you’re a true southerner, I recommend that you give the Chicken and Pickle Biscuit a try ($6.50). Sorry Chick-fil-A, but in my opinion you’ve got nothing on this homemade biscuit and fried chicken delight, which is topped with pickles and chili infused honey. Sweet and savory southern perfection!
The East Indian Chicken and Chutney ($7) awards chew, crunch, and sweetness. Curried chicken salad is paired with date-tamarind chutney and slices of crisp green apples. If you’re eager for a midday meal, this is great option to partner with a side salad and beer. Additional side items are listed on the menu but aren’t typically prompted by the staff. When you’re feeling especially hungry, try the maple sriracha home fries. Note that during busy hours (think weekend mornings), order customization is typically not permitted so that the kitchen can serve up orders quickly. Those with more individualized tastes should go for the “Build Your Own”.
Although I would encourage visiting the storefront and getting a lush noseful of fresh donuts, delivery is also an option! Now you can be the effortlessly cool office hero by ordering a box of edible elation for your boss and work buds (Hello, promotion!). The delivery fee is $15 no matter the size of your order, so feel free to pile ‘em high. With an ever-changing menu, I find it very difficult to stay away from Monuts (even when the crowd extends outside). The line usually moves quickly and you’ll make a few new friends while you wait. I’ll see you bar-side next weekend.
Lindsey has been a North Carolina resident since 2012. She has quickly become a fluent NC foodie by living in Raleigh, working in Chapel Hill, and regularly dining out in Durham. When her belly is full, she can be found exploring parks with her husband and two spoiled rescue dogs. Follow her on Instagram @919foodie for more local eats.