Donut shop opens in Oakland

By Andrew Shull

Max Andrzejewski markets his business with the enthusiasm of a child working his first lemonade… Max Andrzejewski markets his business with the enthusiasm of a child working his first lemonade stand.

One summer afternoon, he noticed a group of people walking past his store — Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Oakland — flailing and pointing to a sign in the window that promised a free donut to all first-time customers.

“The free donut brings people in, but the taste brings them back,” Andrzejewski said.

Andrzejewski and his brother Paul Andrzejewski opened Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Oakland on Meyran Avenue this summer on June 3. In a lucky coincidence, June 3 was this year’s national donut day, something Andrzejewski said was unplanned.

The two brothers are franchising from the original Peace, Love, and Little Donuts, which has been operating under different ownership in the Strip District for the past two years. The Pitt News spoke to Max Andrzejewski about why they decided to bring the donut shop to Oakland.

Andrzejewski said that he and his sibling opened the franchise after eating at the original location in the Strip a number of times and deciding that they could make a profit by opening the same business in Oakland.

The psychedelic window paint and tie-dye T-shirts for sale in the shop help solidify the ’60s counter-culture atmosphere, an atmosphere that Andrzejewski embodies himself. Although he said that he normally wears a T-shirt with his franchise’s logo, last Tuesday he wore a Grateful Dead shirt and discussed seeing Phil Lesh and Bob Weir in concert.

But Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Oakland is not just about the atmosphere. They prepare their donuts — which are around half the size of a full-sized donut — fresh every day and experiment with eclectic taste combinations.

Andrzejewski said that the shop’s most popular donut is the Maple Bacon donut. The Maple Bacon starts as a standard donut which the bakersthen top with maple flavoring before covering the glaze with crumpled bacon.

As far-out as it sounds, the intersection of sweet, salty and doughy makes for a unique experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, the relentlessly sweet Strawberry Cheesecake Donut remains Andrzejewski’s favorite.

In addition to their standard donuts, the store offers donuts made with Blueberry dough on Tuesdays and Devil’s Food Cake donuts on Wednesdays.

Certainly, these donuts make for a high-calorie snack.

“When people ask me how many calories are in the donuts, I just tell them it’s less than a big donut,” Andrzejewski said.

The calorie count wasn’t enough to scare off two PittStart students, Chitra Sharma and Annie Xiong, from wanting to come back in the fall.

Although both girls expressed concern over gaining the freshman 15 they said that they would certainly be back during the school year.

Samantha Thomison, fiance of Max Andrzejewski’s brother and co-owner Paul, said that they planned to start donating the leftover donuts to the doctors and nurses working at the emergency room at UPMC after the store closes at 8 p.m.

Though it’s definitely a great deal, the emergency room staff at UPMC will miss out on the option to “make your own donut” out of the already-available flavors.

“There were a couple of kids who came in the other day who had so much fun making their own donut,” Thomison said.

Pittsburgh resident Tracey White, another patron who stopped in for her first time, sampled a free donut before making her own and leaving with a half-dozen little donuts.

White praised the service, price, taste and uniqueness of the flavor options.

“I’ve never made my own donut before,” she said.

Andrzejewski said that despite the diminished population of Oakland during the summer, business was going well. But he couldn’t help but mention that he “can’t wait for the students to come back.”

The donut shop is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Donuts range in price from 75 cents for the most basic donuts to $1.25 for the more-complicated donuts, with price breaks for dozens and half-dozens.