Peace Love & Little Donuts
Where: South side of Wayne’s World BP, 2201 U.S. 41 N., Naples
When: Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Cost: 85 cents to $1.29 for custom-made doughnuts
Information: (239) 213-0188
Facebook page: http://www.hs.facebook.com/pages/Peace-Love-Little-Donuts/203313916366718?sk=wall
NAPLES — Evident by its unique name, Peace Love & Little Donuts is not your ordinary doughnut shop.
In fact, answers to frequently asked questions about this doughnut drive-through that opened last week in Naples Plaza would prove that not only its name separates it from the rest.
Is it true the new shop operates from the converted bay of a gas station? Yes. Peace Love & Little Doughnuts shares space with Wayne’s World BP at 2201 U.S. 41 N., a half-acre lot on the southwest corner of Mooring Line Drive and U.S. 41 in Naples, near Coastland Center mall.
“The response has been really good. People are a little bit surprised we have a drive-through,” said Mark Couch, owner of the local venture.
The shop is an attraction, rather than a distraction for the service station, which has been operating there for nearly 35 years. The interior walls of the small shop are painted with brightly colored flowers reminiscent of the “Dating Game,” “Laugh-In” or Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine van.
Do they really make little doughnuts? That’s right. While the average doughnut is 3 inches to 3½ inches in diameter, most doughnuts made by Peace Love & Little Doughnuts are smaller at 2 inches to 2¼ inches in diameter.
“Our doughnuts are 60 to 65 percent of the size of a regular doughnut,” Couch said.
Is the doughnuts’ cake batter different, too? Yes, the new shop features doughnuts made from three batters: sour cream, blueberry and devil’s food. From these bases, the cake doughnuts are “dressed” as ordered.
“It’s the foodie concept of the cupcake blended with a doughnut,” Couch said.
And these doughnuts feature far-out toppings? Let’s just say that if Ben & Jerry made doughnuts instead of ice cream, they probably would come up with some of the funky options here. Sweet creations are inspired by desserts, candy bars, fruit and cookies and come in varieties such as apple pie, blueberry cheesecake, banana split, pina colada, S’more and sweet chocolate coconut doughnuts.
Some are topped with items such as cherries, Oreo cookie pieces or Nestle Crunch bars.
“The chunkier the better,” Couch said. “Abundance creates activity.”
What are the most popular doughnuts? Raspberry lemonade doughnuts, which feature a lemonade frosting with a raspberry drizzle, are big-time favorites for women. Guys love the maple bacon doughnut, which feature maple frosting topped with real chopped bacon, Couch said.
Peace Love makes 32 different doughnuts, including 15 main “staple” doughnuts daily.
“We don’t make every single doughnut every day,” Couch said.
The little doughnuts have three price brackets:
■ Groovy, 85 cents each for the basic doughnut, whether it is plain, glazed, or covered with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or maple sugar.
■ Far out, $1 each for a doughnut with any hand-dipped, flavored frosting.
■ Funkadelic, $1.29 each for a combination of any toppings and frosting.
What about coffee? The brew served is special, too. The shop specially grinds its own blend of seasonal gourmet coffees from Africa and South America.
Is this new shop part of a national chain? Not yet. The Naples store is licensed to use the name and concept, but is not a franchise.
Peace Love & Little Doughnuts began in 2009 in Pittsburgh, where the only other two stores are located. A fourth location is scheduled to open before the end of the month in Cleveland.
“They created a great brand and a great following with a good business model. I said, let’s bring it to Naples,” said Couch, a military veteran who lives nearby in the Moorings.
After serving in the Gulf War and being a mechanic on the USS Midway, Couch was a pilot for 13 years. He started as a flight instructor and worked for US Airways for the majority of his flying career, but he also has been a pilot for cargo planes, private jets and luxury airliners.
After a pilot job fell through in Florida, the gregarious Naples newlywed sought out a career change. He found Peace Love & Little Doughnuts.