Tin City’s Monkey Bread Factory was born during the financial crisis of 2008. “People weren’t buying big-ticket items,” recalls owner Karen Haupt, “but they were still eating and drinking. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things, so my husband and I wondered how we could do them better and create something unique.”
The result can be described as a Cinnabon on steroids. The Haupts took monkey bread (traditionally eaten as a breakfast treat or sold at street fairs and festivals), baked it in a special mold resembling a Bundt pan, and filled it with homemade icing flavors such as banana, orange, coconut, and key lime. Mon “Key” Buntz were born. They’ve added other products over the years—notably Island Gold, which is puffed corn and pecans glazed with homemade butter toffee—but monkey bread remains the core of their business. And Haupt has wisely resisted a nutritional analysis of the product.“When people ask me how many calories it contains, I tell them too many,” she says, with a laugh. “Just enjoy it!”
The ’60s may be over, but don’t tell that to the folks at Peace, Love, and Little Donuts. Their miniature donuts come in three price tiers, depending on the preparation: Groovy (plain, sugar, or glazed), Far Out (topped with different frostings), and Funkadelic (more elaborate toppings such as S’mores or Salted Caramel Macchiato, with or without nuts). Donuts are made fresh throughout the day; there are daily specials, and customers can design their own from any of the available ingredients. These artistic treats are also a popular item for weddings, gifts, and corporate promotions.
“I’m not sure if our younger customers understand all the period references,” says Kara Barefoot, who gave up a career in software to purchase the franchise in 2014. “But these days, anyone can relate to spreading a little peace and love.”