Calgary-Based Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro Looks to National Expansion Following Local Success [Interview]

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You could say entrepreneur Aditya Dutta is busy with some Monki business these days in Calgary.

Aditya Dutta. Photo: Provided by Monki

As co-owner of Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro, Dutta, a former engineer, has big plans for the brand after recently opening its third location in the city.

The establishment’s mantra is: Do Brunch Differently.

“Monki is essentially an eclectic breakfast place. The breakfast scene in Calgary or in Canada in general was limited to the old breakfast options you would get at home but now you get in the restaurant. So we thought we are going to do some Monki business with the old classics and do something different while keeping the flair of the traditional foods,” said Dutta.

“That’s what we do. We serve breakfast. We serve lunch. That’s how we were founded. We have grown in it and we have served over 200,000 people so far.”

Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro. (Photo: Mario Toneguzzi)
Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro. (Photo: Mario Toneguzzi)

Dutta and his partner Kaushik Sudharsanam took over an existing business in 2016. The establishment was originally founded in 2012.

“We’ve had a strong push from customers and a few investors as well to expand. We’ve put the brakes on it up until now. We wanted to hone in and really see what we do well. We found that. We’ve been validated and now we are looking to open at least two more immediately in Calgary and then go for our national expansion, primarily in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton,” he said.

“There are not many options in places like Toronto. We think people are trendy. They are looking for great food. They want to feel going for breakfast as they’re going for dinner. That’s why we can give that atmosphere to them, give them the food and give them the service.”

Dutta was born and raised in India. He came to Canada as an international student for an engineering degree at McGill University in Montreal. The city is known for its variety of restaurants and food establishments. Dutta also comes from a family that’s fond of food.

He ended up becoming a business management consultant with Deloitte. But over the years, he realized that after touching so many industries the one industry he never really worked in was food.

Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro. (Photo: Mario Toneguzzi)
Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro. (Photo: Mario Toneguzzi)

“Me and my university buddy we quit our jobs. He was an investment banker. We opened up a food truck and that food truck did super well. It was gourmet street food from Germany that we were serving. In Calgary, we have a strong rooted community from Germany, Poland, Ukraine. So we thought this would resonate well with them and it did,” said Dutta. “We expanded that to two food trucks until the city changed the bylaws and that didn’t stop our interest in food and let alone let it be our professional future as well.

“So we took over Monki. The previous owners wanted to part ways. They wanted to do other things. We thought this is a brand where we go to and others should know about as well. And that’s the journey that took us to Monki’s and we’ve never looked back. It’s been incredible since taking over Monki.”

Today, Dutta is quite content and happy about his entrepreneurial journey.

“The journey has been incredible,” he said.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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