When a bite-sized doughnut shop opened at a gas station almost a decade ago, it didn’t take long to turn heads. Naples wasn’t used to seeing quality food being pumped out as cars rolled by (something that’s gradually changing, with cooks renting spaces in convenience store kitchens—witness the lunch rush at the Shell on Airport-Pulling Road and Trade Center Way). Neither were people used to seeing mini Os with such a kitchen sink of flavors—s’mores, cookies and cream, Fruit Loops, cannoli and maple bacon, to name just a few.
Kara Barefoot, co-owner of Peace, Love and Little Donuts, spoke to us on the eve of the second anniversary of its move to a standalone space (3106 Tamiami Trail N.; 239-213-0188) and how they’ve got Baskin Robbins beat by at least seven flavors.
You share the name with a location up north and others around the country, but you’re completely independent and have total control?
We have a license to use the name. That’s it. It actually started in Pittsburgh, and the guy who opened the spot at the gas station here was a friend of his. It’s now independently owned and operated by me and my husband. We can make any flavors we want. We have total control. We bake more than 40 different types of donuts fresh every day in our little shop.
What’s your favorite flavor?
You know, I’m kind of a moody eater—I eat based on my mood. My cinnamon sugar is my morning go-to. I never get sick of that one. I also love Key lime and the coffee cake (it has mocha frosting and streusel on top). Those are my three favorites. Another thing I love to do is take home the plain ones and use them to make a shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream.
That sounds awesome.
It makes a cute individual dessert. I did it last weekend. Sometimes I cut them into cubes, sometimes I leave them whole. Last weekend I took them home and piled on strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Did you have a background in baking?
I actually worked for a software company for 17 years, and I was customer at the old shop. I have three kids; I lived nearby and used to take them to the drive-thru. I emailed them because I knew they were tearing down the building, and the old owner said they were selling the company to someone from out of town. I was sad to hear that, so we bought it. So no; I had a hobby of baking. But no, I had no professional experience before this. We will be in our new location two years as of Aug. 1.
What do you sell other than doughnuts?
We pretty much do doughnuts and coffee. Hot coffee, cold-brew iced coffee, juices, water. We carry Intelligentsia coffee—pretty much any doughnut shop in New York uses that or Stumptown. We use their beans and brew here. And we use coffee ice cubes for the iced coffee! We also do catering for weddings and parties, and we have a wholesale business as well for places like hotels and country clubs. We recently started doing doughnut wedding cakes—we did one for a wedding at the Bonita Bay Club. We also have these really cute favor boxes and we do doughnut pops.
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