What is Paczki Day? Where to find the Polish pastries near you in Illinois – NBC Chicago

While many in the Chicago area will celebrate Fat Tuesday with traditional Mardi Gras food on Tuesday, others will enjoy delicious Polish pastries known as Paczki.

Fried cakes, pronounced “puhnch-kee,” date back to the 18th century, when people traditionally ate “fancy” foods like lard and sugar to ensure they weren’t wasted during Lent, a period of fasting. 40 days. in Christianity.

“Families would spend their eggs, butter, sugar and fruit treating themselves to one last treat before Lent began with these delicious donuts,” says an article in the Michigan State University Extension saying.

It may look like a traditional American donut, but the differences between the popular American treat and Polish pastries called Paczkis, pronounced “puhnch-kee,” are “huge,” Dobra Bielinski of Delightful Pastries in Portage Park told NBC Chicago.

But they’re not entirely donuts.

Early Tuesday morning, the bakers at Delightful Pastries wore pink “Got Paczki?” The shirts had their hands full in the kitchen, preparing hundreds of orders of paczki before the 6 a.m. opening. A queue had already formed outside.

FURTHER: What is the difference between paczki and donuts? Chicago Polish Bakery Explains

“People love our paczki,” Delightful Pastries owner Dobra Bielinski told NBC Chicago. “It’s a nice celebration. As they say at Mardi Gras, ‘let the good times roll’. It’s a wonderful tradition that goes back a long way, and it’s nice to follow in others’ footsteps, and it’s kind of fun.”

And although it looks like a doughnut, it’s vastly different, Bielinksi said. “A donut has water, salt, sugar, yeast. Paczek has eggs, yolks, lemon oil, milk, butter and lots of eggs. You can tell the difference.”

Bielinski also noted that the paczek has only a thin glaze on top. “We eat it for both the dough and the filling,” he said. “When you eat it, it doesn’t collapse. It fluffs up again.”

The paczki tradition quickly spread to Chicago and other communities where large numbers of Poles settled during the 20th century. Since then, many people have come to enjoy paczki, regardless of their background or religion.

Are you looking to get your hands on some paczki or maybe you want to try it for the first time? Here is a list of over 30 bakeries and grocery stores in the Chicago area that serve sweets.

Where to find paczki in and around Chicago:


  • Ace Bakery, 3241 S. Halsted St.
  • Alliance Bakery, 1736 W. Division St.
  • Andy’s Deli & Bakery Mikolajczyk Sausage Shop, 5442 N Milwaukee Ave.
  • Bridgeport Bakery 2.0, 2907 S. Archer Ave.
  • Big Kids, 2545 N Kedzie Blvd.
  • Delicious Pastries, 5927 W. Lawrence Ave.
  • Do-Rite Donuts, multiple locations at 1027 W. Addison St., 835 N. Michigan Ave., 181 N. Morgan St., 233 E. Erie St. and 50 W. Randolph St.
  • Firecakes Donuts, at several locations, including 68 W. Hubbard St., 2453 N. Clark St. and 205 W. Wacker Drive
  • Kolatek’s Bakery, 2445 N. Harlem Ave. and at Palatine
  • Huck Finn Restaurants, Oak Lawn, South Archer and South Pulaski
  • Racine Bakery, 6216 S. Archer Ave.
  • Roeser Bakery, 3216 W. North Ave.
  • Smack Dab Chicago, 6730 North Clark Street
  • Stan’s Donuts, at several locations, including 1560 N. Damen Ave., 28 E. Roosevelt Road, 2800 N. Clark St. and 259 E. Erie St.
  • Vanille Patisserie, Lincoln Park and West Loop Gate (partnership with Benninson’s Bakery)
  • “Original” Ferrara Bakery, 2210 W. Taylor St.
  • Toni Patisserie and Café, Hinsdale and Loop Locations
  • Weber Bakery, 7055 W. Archer Ave.


  • Bennison Bakery, Evanston
  • Chicago Pastry Shop, Bloomingdale
  • Deerfields Bakery, 813 Waukegan Road, Deerfield
  • DeEtta’s Bakery, Naperville
  • Donut Den, Joliet
  • Kolatek’s Bakery, 2445 N. Harlem Ave. and at Palatine
  • Gurnee Donuts, 4949 Grand Ave., Gurnee
  • Harner’s Bakery, North Aurora
  • Fleckenstein Bakery, Mokena and New Lenox
  • Kirsten’s Danish Bakery, Burr Ridge
  • Kuppie Bakery, Villa Park
  • Toni Patisserie and Café, Hinsdale and Loop Locations
  • Oak Park Bakery, 904 S. Oak Park Ave.
  • Orland Park Bakery, 14850 S. LaGrange Road, Orland Park
  • Palermo Bakery, Norridge
  • Wolf’s Bakery, Evergreen Park


  • Beck’s Crown Bakery, Crown Point, Indiana
  • Henze Bakery, Valparaiso, Indiana

Grocery stores

  • Angelo Caputo’s fresh markets
  • Deli 4 you market
  • Jewel
  • marian
  • Meijer
  • Pete’s Fresh Market
  • Tony’s Fresh Market

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