I’m a sucker for monkeys. Their expressive eyes, curious nature and playful demeanor have captured my heart since childhood. And so it was no surprise the day my car veered into a parking lot off Burnet when I saw an animated circular face with tiny ears, resembling the classic 80’s stuffed sock monkey.
The little primate’s paws and curled tail grip a circular sign with bold letters identifying the establishment, Monkey Nest Organic Coffee and Bakery.
Come for the Coffee
Monkey Nest was a dream that percolated for years in the mind of Austin resident and owner, Koros Derakhshani. A mechanical engineer by trade, his passion is coffee. His presence offers an interesting mix of warmth, mystique and ease. The hand that cradles his coffee cup proudly wears a multitude of beaded bracelets, gifts from his daughter. The large burgundy stone ring adorning his left hand offers a hint of his origins, and you can hear relics of his eclectic past in his accent. Born in Iran, educated in England, he has been a fixture in the Lone Star capital since Joan Jett and the Blackheart’s “I Love Rock-n-Roll” topped the charts. 1982.
Stay for the People
Fortunately for Koros, his passion is loaded with something that helps see him through the seven day work weeks and 20 hour days – caffeine! When referring to those who work under Monkey Nest’s roof, his voice is sincere and precise, “My employees are my biggest asset. They are loyal, dedicated and talented. They are what make Monkey Nest unique and special.”
Sip and Eat
Monkey Nest invites patrons to get cozy and linger. Chocolate and maroon cloaked walls are enhanced by the invigorating aroma drifting overhead. The menu is whimsical and fun. Who can resist the charms of specialty coffee with names like Chocolate Chimp (Coconut Mocha Latte), Monkey’s Uncle (Peanut Butter, Banana, Mocha) and Spicy Monkey Mocha (Mocha, Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper)?
And if you have an appetite, beware. Your belly will rumble as your eyes inhale the savory and sweet temptations behind the glass. My kids go bananas over the rich chocolate layer cake slices, so dense and rich you’ll be challenged to consume it in one seating (thankfully, they have to-go boxes).
Dose of Inspiration
A message scribbled on a chalk board near the espresso machine reminds patrons, “Voltaire was known to drink 50 cups of coffee a day.” Which might explain another observation. The writing isn’t only on walls, it’s on the dozen or more laptops that illuminate faces while fingers dance across keyboards. Is it possible customers’ coffee consumption inspires a dose of inspiration?
But this coffee house isn’t only for writers. The visitors are just as eclectic as the monkey memorabilia dotting the walls: old, young, sedated, energized, foreign, local, hung-over and alert. They only have one thing in common: everyone is comfortable.
Since the shop recently opened a second location on West 24th Street off the UT campus, I’d say monkey business is pretty good. Quality coffee and a cute little logo may bring customers in, but it’s the people inside Monkey Nest who bring them back.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your drink of choice at Monkey Nest?