Four years ago, they started making their hummus in the back of a bar with borrowed Cuisinarts. Now, the owners of Happy Monkey Hummus are opening a 2,000-square-foot facility so they can sells their dips— including fire-roasted bell pepper, roasted garlic and tomato and margarita — beyond Utah and Idaho.
Customers can see inside the new facility during a grand opening Monday, May 6. The celebration which will include raffles, give-a-ways and tastings. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams will be there to cut the ribbon at 4 p.m.
The new facility means owners David McFate and Erin Atwater can eventually produce 1,200, (9-ounce0 containers per hour. That same amount would have taken the two owners 12 hours by hand.
A little history • The couple first made their hummus in the back of Keys on Main, where they were bartenders. They would maked the hummus during the day when the bar was closed, clean up and start their bar jobs at 6 p.m., work until 2 or 3 a.m. and wake up to sell the food at the Downtown Farmers Market.
They moved to a commercial kitchen facility in 2011, sharing it with three other growing companies.
By last year, they had to decide if they were going to keep Happy Monkey a hobby, or grow. Since then, it’s been the McFate’s full time jobs.
Their new facility is right next to the old one, and it’s four-times the size. The new equipment will allow the company to extend the shelf-life of the hummus to up to 60 days without chemical preservatives or fillers.
Also in January, the California Certified Organic Farmers Association, a certification agency, accepted Happy Monkey into the fold. In addition to being labeled “organic,” the hummus also will be stamped as “non-GMO” after it gets certified through the Non-GMO Project, which ensures ingredients don’t include “genetically modified organisms.”
The hummus is sold in Utah at Good Earth Natural Foods, Harmons and Whole Foods. It will soon expand to Colorado and was recently accepted by a national distributor to move into the Twin Cities and Chicago markets.
Grand opening details:
When • Monday, May 6, 11 p.m.-7 p.m.
Where •3232 S. 400 East, Suite 1200, Salt Lake City