Monkey Business Cafe (in conjunction with Hart Community Homes, Incorporated) is a non-profit social enterprise that utilizes 100% of its proceeds to benefit foster youth.

After several incarnations, Monkey Business Cafe has finally found its niche. At its highest point of identity crisis, it was a thrift store-cum-general store-cum-art gallery-cum-cafe-cum-Thursday night band stand. It was no wonder that passersby did not know what to make of it all. The after school crowd from the nearby high school took advantage of the free wireless internet offered and designated it their afternoon hangout. Unfortunately, fountain drink and nacho sales do not a restaurant make.

Gradually phasing out the thrift store and refurbishing the interior, Monkey Business scrapped the snacks and began focusing on serving organic and natural food. The Fullerton Arboretum is the eatery’s main source for the bounty of vegetables that figure prominently on the menu. During the summer months, seasonal harvests from the Arboretum are whipped up into fresh fruit shakes. Made with guava juice (with some versions incorporating real vanilla ice cream) and topped with whipped cream, you are able to have your fruit and eat it too.


The revamped cafe offers a delicious selection of breakfast items that are available from opening to close. Their signature items include ricotta pancakes, vegetable omelettes, breakfast burritos and a slew of delectable scrambles. Handcrafted sandwiches, hearty soups and fresh salads are ideal for the lunch crowd begging for a healthy plate. Their daily specials, like the pesto and arboretum veggie naan with a chicken dumpling soup, are an outrageously good deal.

Catering and fundraising comprises a good segment of Monkey Business’ non-profit revenue. During the evening, the entire space is available to rent out for a maximum of 5 hours at a very reasonable hourly fee, inclusive of food. This coming August 1st, Hart Community Homes is holding their 13th Annual Invitation Golf Outing that in turn gives back to the cafe (more info can be found on their website).

No longer wallowing in hodge podge, Monkey Business aims to be more “food forward”. There have been talks with Master Preserver Delilah Snell (of Backyard in a Jar and proprietor of The Road Less Traveled in Santa Ana) of holding a canning class in the near future. Conceivably, there could be cheese making and bread making events as well. Everything is still in its planning stages, but the path has been paved for better things ahead.

It has been a good 6 years since the bright red building on the corner of Lemon Street and Amerige Avenue first housed the quirky, eclectic neighborhood thrift store. However, what has remained is the soul of the enterprise that continues to foster and promote esteem within at risk youths. Every item purchased is another step in ushering them back into the bosom of society.

Monkey Business Cafe: Home is where the Hart is.

daily: 7am-3pm
301 E. Amerige Avenue
Hart Community Homes, Inc.

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