July 14, 2014

Monuts to take over former Magnolia Grill space

The owners of Monuts, a sandwich and donut shop in downtown Durham, are taking over the former Magnolia Grill location.

The owners of Monuts, a bakery, breakfast and lunch spot known for its donuts in downtown Durham, have signed a 10-year-lease on the former Magnolia Grill location.

The owners of the building, Ann and Lex Alexander, and Monuts owners, Lindsay Moriarty and Rob Gillespie, announced the lease Monday.

The building has been empty since May 2012 when Magnolia Grill owners Ben and Karen Barker, both James Beard-award-winning chefs, closed their destination fine dining restaurant. In January, the empty restaurant suffered a fire.

Now, Ann Alexander explained, renovations will proceed on the building so Moriarty and Gillespie get exactly what they want from this new Monuts location.

"This is exactly what I've been waiting for - a young couple who is doing something fun and exciting," Ann Alexander said. "We're proud to have them."

Moriarty explained that they only opened Monuts on East Parrish Street a little over a year ago but quickly outgrew the 1,200-square-foot location.

The new 2,800-square foot space will still be "Monuts to its core," explains Moriarty but with more seating and parking. Plus, they will be able to have a full bar and expand their coffee program. Moriarty said they hope to open the new location by November.

What will become of the original Monuts? Moriarty says they aren't sure yet; it may remain a downtown Monuts outpost or they could create something else.

Moriarty pointed out that they are committed to paying workers a living wage, benefits and paid time off. With this expansion, she said, they will likely double their staff from about 12 fulltime and three parttime employees.

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This blog's focus is all things food in the Triangle: where to dine, where to shop, what to eat, what to cook. Food writer Andrea Weigl maintains this blog.

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