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Peace Love & Little Donuts fill big need in Strip District

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009

For the past six weeks, it has been possible to find peace, love and doughnuts in the Strip District.

Just follow your nose.

In mid-August, Moon resident Ron Razete began perfuming the air around the intersection 21st and Smallman streets with the scents of sugar and fried dough.

The aroma draws customers to Peace Love & Little Donuts, a tiny storefront at 2018 Smallman St. where Razete can be found frying up small batches of tiny doughnuts for customers.

About two inches in diameter, these hand made delicacies are sweet, light and very tasty.

Despite opening without a lot of fanfare, Razete says business has been good. "People find us either through smell or word-of-mouth," he says.

Razete had been creating and selling the bite-size pastries at outdoor events such as the Pittsburgh Arts Festival and the Three Rivers Regatta.

But it wasn't until he stumbled on a just-right space in the Strip District that he decided to settle into a permanent location.

"People love doughnuts and there were no doughnut places in the Strip District," says Razete who thinks doughnuts may be the right treat to follow the cupcake fervor.

He chose the Strip District location because that's where people go to shop for other food items and there's lots of foot traffic.

The size of Razete's itty-bitty doughnuts are a large part of their popularity.

Much though they might lust after a regular-sized doughnut, lots of people are intimidated by the calorie count and fat grams.

"Big monster doughnuts, people are afraid to pick 'em up," he says. "These are attractive, small, easy to pick up and easy to share."

Razete micro-fries the doughnuts in small batches to keep the temperature of the soybean oil high and sear the outside. This prevents the doughnuts from soaking up oil like a thirsty sponge and makes them easier on the waistline, he says.

They're also easy on the wallet.

A bag of 13 truly bite-sized mini-doughnuts costs $3.15 Doughnut assortment trays are available for $5.

Slightly larger — two-bite — little doughnuts are 75 cents each or $7.50 for a dozen.

Most days, doughnuts are available in four flavors: old-fashioned cake, sour-cream, vanilla cake and devil's food.

Finished with an ever-changing variety of glazes and sugars, the possible flavor combinations are seemingly endless.

The still-warm two-bite raspberry-glazed chocolate model had a pleasantly crusty exterior that yielded nicely to reveal a soft, chocolatey interior.

In addition to chocolate and raspberry glazes, and powdered and granulated sugar, Razete plans to try out a maple-infused sugar, a honey sugar and a molasses sugar.

Available drinks include coffee — decaffeinated or regular — at $1 a cup as well as milk and a small selection of juices and fruit drinks.

Peace Love & Little Donuts does off-premises catering and large orders. But the shop is literally a cash and carry operation.

Razete doesn't take credit cards or checks and the store is as tiny as the doughnuts with no place to sit.

Also, some restraint might be necessary.

Because doughnuts are made in very small batches, your doughnuts will, in all likelihood, have just emerged from their hot oil bath.

"You may have to wait to eat them because they are too hot to eat," Razete warns.

Additional Information:

Peace Love & Little Donuts

Where: 2018 Smallman St., Strip District.

Hours: Open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Details: 412-489-7693 or online .




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