Peace, Love and Little Donuts brings a funkadelic pastry to Park City
In Lange Palmer’s family, loving the Pittsburgh Steelers team is law, and cheering on the football team is an annual rite. Each season, they make a pilgrimage back East, don gold and black garb, and watch in person as their heroes roam the gridiron.
Two seasons ago, they made the trip again. This time, it changed Palmer’s life — though it had nothing to do with football.
"We were waiting in line for a breakfast place and spotted another line just down the street, so we ventured off to go take a look and see what everybody was waiting in line for," he said. "And it was for donuts. So we got a dozen, took them back to the hotel and we absolutely loved them."
Palmer was blown away. A month later, he contacted the owner of the shop and asked if he could license the brand and bring a location to Park City. Nearly a year and a half later, Palmer opened Peace, Love and Little Donuts at 738 Main St. There are about a dozen of the shops in the Rust Belt region, and they are something like a phenomenon in Pittsburgh, but Palmer’s location is the first near Utah.
As Palmer tells it, he knew he wanted to open his own shop from the moment he first sank his teeth into the fried dough in Pittsburgh.
"It’s the taste — it’s a delicious cake donut," he said. "I think what really attracted me the most was the size. First of all, you don’t feel guilty because they’re small. And the combinations of the flavoring are phenomenal."
Peace, Love and Little Donuts represents a leap of faith in many ways for Palmer. When he first developed the plan to bring it to Park City, he wasn’t even living here, but he had just had a daughter and knew this is where he wanted to raise her. More than that, though, he had no prior baking experience. But it wasn’t the first time he had jumped into uncharted waters.
"I was also a commercial fisherman in Alaska and had never done that, either," he said. "I’m not afraid of a challenge."
After going through a training program and learning the art of Peace, Love and Little Donuts’ fried fare, Palmer had discovered a passion.
"I’m a people person, and I really do enjoy engaging with the people," he said. "Seeing how close we are to the resort, we get people visiting. So it’s been really fun to hear the stories people have. They always have stories about other donut places."
Peace, Love and Little Donuts has a variety of offerings, comprising three menu categories. Groovies are topped with simple sugars, like honey glaze, Saigon cinnamon and maple sugar. Far Outs come frosted, with flavors ranging from vanilla to lemon. Funkadelics, the biggest sellers, venture into the world of artisan pastries and feature toppings such as maple bacon, Boston cream pie and salted chocolate.
Palmer describes the funkadelics as "artistic bundles of joy."
"That’s where the donuts shine because you get the combinations of flavors and drizzles and toppings," he said. "They really do make the donut."
When Palmer first decided to open in Park City, there wasn’t another true donut shop around. As someone who had been unable to find donuts in town when visiting, he saw it as an opportunity to fill a void. And though another shop also opened recently, Twice the Dough, he says there’s room for more than one style of donut in town. He expects locals and tourists alike to embrace both shops.
"They’re two different things," he said. "There’s more than just one restaurant in Park City. I wish them nothing but success."
If early returns are an indication, Palmer said, his shop will thrive. Customers have been bowled over by the donuts, and the word is spreading through town. All it takes to win over a longtime customer, he said, is one bite.
"Everyone who comes in says, ‘Wow, that’s a really good donut,’" he said. "That’s the kind of reception that we’re getting here."
Peace, Love and Little Donuts
738 Main St.
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