Fat Tuesday is a big holiday. In the sense of weight, sure, but also in stature, featuring blowout parties steeped in tradition and, of course, lots of food right before the dawn of Lent.
In Chicago, the stature takes the form of long lines for said food, specifically paczki, the deep-fried Polish pastry that feels like a doughnut. The hook dangling from the "a" indicates a special pronunciation, in this case "POWNtch-key" or "PONtch-key," but even native speakers disagree on the pronunciation.
With the city's significant Polish population, Paczki Day has become a time-honored tradition in Chicago. Bakeries large and small now participate in the holiday, and several told us they would be producing tens of thousands of paczki per day from Thursday through Tuesday, the two respective dates for the Polish and American editions of the pre-Lenten feast.
Here are 37 Chicago restaurant and bakeries celebrating Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday with paczki of many flavors.
Alliance Bakery: The Division Street bakery won’t begin serving paczki until the weekend, and it will have a half-dozen flavors, including raspberry rose, vanilla bean custard and blueberry lemon, all for $2.75 each. Preorders have already begun and must be made 48 hours in advance, so Sunday is the final day to place an order. 1736 W. Division St., 773-278-0366, www.alliance-bakery.com
Andy’s Deli: It’s a simple celebration at Andy’s: from Thursday through Tuesday, stop in to get paczki in one of a dozen flavors, priced at $1.49 apiece. 4021 W. Kinzie St., 773-722-1000, www.andysdeli.com
Ann’s Bakery: This Ukrainian spot said on the phone that preorders aren't necessary but can be made for larger orders. Ann’s will serve paczki Thursday through Tuesday, priced at $1.20 each. Special strawberry and whipped cream paczki will cost more; at press time, the bakery wasn’t sure how much. 2158 W. Chicago Ave., 773-384-5562
Bennison’s Bakery: Choose from 11 different paczki flavors — including special selections like praline chocolate mousse and fresh banana cream — at Bennison’s. Classic paczki are $1.62, per, while the special ones cost $2.49, and they’ll be available in-store or via preorder through Tuesday. Same-day preorders cannot be accepted Monday or Tuesday. 1000 Davis St., Evanston, 847-328-9434, www.bennisonscakes.com
Beverly Bakery and Cafe: Starting this weekend, Beverly Bakery will have paczki available in-store, with 13 flavors costing $1.75 each. Preorders have already begun, and Sunday is the last day to place those. 10528 S. Western Ave., 773-238-5580, www.beverlycoffeeroasters.com
Bittersweet: Using brioche dough for a bit of a spin, Bittersweet is creating three paczki: chocolate cream, vanilla cream and lemon curd, for $3.50 each. The bakery is serving paczki starting Thursday through Tuesday, and preorders are available but require 48 hours' notice. 1114 W. Belmont Ave., 773- 929-1100, www.bittersweetpastry.com
Bohemian House: BoHo will have special paczki for Tuesday only: poppy seed with white chocolate cream, orange marmalade and charred rosemary streusel ($11). 11 W. Illinois St., 312-955-0439, www.bohochicago.com
Bridgeport Bakery: The bakery will have a whopping 19 flavors, ranging from classic fruit concoctions to a couple of different buttercream options. Most are $1.05, but the strawberry whipped cream and whipped-cream-filled are $1.40 and $1.30, respectively. Preorders are ongoing but must be placed by Monday to have paczki by Fat Tuesday. Bridgeport has special hours for the occasion: 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and midnight to 6 p.m. Tuesday. 2907 S. Archer Ave., 773-523-1121
Cafe Selmarie: Get your preorders in by 4 p.m. Friday at Cafe Selmarie, where they will have five varieties of paczki Tuesday only: cherry and cheese, custard-filled with chocolate topping, raspberry jam (all $2.95 each), chocolate mousse with fresh banana, and strawberry with custard ($3.95 each). 4729 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-989-5595, www.cafeselmarie.com
Central Continental Bakery: The Mount Prospect staple will have three varieties of paczki — traditional ($1.95), fruit-filled ($3.35) and gourmet ($3.55) — for guests to enjoy, and Central Continental will offer them Thursday through Tuesday. Preorders require advance notice; 3 p.m. Monday is the deadline. 101 Main St., Mount Prospect, 847-870-9500, www.centralcontinentalbakery.com
Delightful Pastries: Delightful does big-time paczki numbers, cranking out 50,000 pastries this year for the holiday. Prices run from $2 to $3.25 per item, and flavors range from classic (plum butter) to gourmet (passion fruit jelly), including Delightful's signature booze-infused "Drunken Paczki." Locations and phone numbers vary, www.delightfulpastries.com
Deerfields Bakery: Find a sweet 16 flavors of paczki at each Deerfield’s location and three pricing tiers: $1.79, $2.25 and $3.39 apiece. Locations and phone numbers vary, www.deerfieldsbakery.com
Dinkel’s Bakery: Dinkel’s will serve paczki Thursday through Tuesday, with a 2 p.m. Monday deadline for the last preorders. Each will run you $1.69, except the fresh strawberry, which will be $2.89. 3329 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-281-7300, www.dinkels.comPaczki Day! Maryann Pisano / Pioneer Press
Whether you celebrate Paczki day on Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday, or both, area bakeries are ready with thousands of the filled treats.
Whether you celebrate Paczki day on Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday, or both, area bakeries are ready with thousands of the filled treats.(Maryann Pisano / Pioneer Press)
Do-Rite Donuts: Donuts are close to paczki, so Do-Rite is getting in on the holiday action and serving a trio of flavors — key lime, chocolate nutella and raspberry, each $2.95 — Monday and Tuesday only. Preorders are available with no deadline. 50 W. Randolph St, 312-488-2483, www.doritedonuts.com
Forest View: At this old-school Polish spot on Milwaukee Avenue, paczki are just $1 (except the strawberry cream at $1.50), and they’re available Thursday through Tuesday. If you need to place an order, make sure it’s done by the day before. 6454 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-775-7740
Firecakes Donuts: The paczki at Firecakes are a slightly smaller version of the pastry, and the doughnut shop will offer three flavors, each $2.19: raspberry with blood-orange jelly, lemon curd with powdered sugar and Tahitian vanilla custard with chocolate icing. Paczki will be available Tuesday only, and preorders should be placed by 5 p.m. Monday (delivery is available for those orders.) Locations and phone numbers vary, www.firecakesdonuts.com
Gene’s Sausage Shop: The sausage shop will not neglect paczki, as it will offer a half-dozen flavors in-store Monday and Tuesday. Each will run you $1.99 with an exception for strawberries and whipped cream, which will cost $2.49. Any orders for a dozen or more specific paczki should be placed by 9 p.m. Friday. 4750 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-728-7243, www.genessausage.com
Glazed and Infused: Another local donut shop participating in paczki, Glazed and Infused will have a trio of flavors (plum, vanilla and rose hip liquor) available in-store for $3 apiece through Fat Tuesday. Locations and phone numbers vary, www.goglazed.com
Ideal Bakery: Paczki are a daily item at Ideal Bakery, so it will be simple to get one of the 11 flavors for the holiday. They’ll be available Thursday through Tuesday at $1 apiece, with some priced higher at $1.49, depending on the variety. 4765 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-685-4622
Jackalope Coffee and Tea House: The coffee shop will get in on the paczki action for one day only, Fat Tuesday, with a first-come, first-served selection of eight paczki flavors, each for $1.25. 755 W. 32nd St., 312-888-3468
Kirschbaum's Bakery: Drop by, or place a preorder at Kirschbaum's, as the bakery will start serving paczki Friday and continue through Fat Tuesday. Preset pickup days are Friday, Saturday and Tuesday, and preorders need to be submitted by Thursday for Friday pickups, by Friday for Saturday pickups, and by Saturday for Tuesday pickups. Paczki run $1.29 to $1.79. 825 Burlington Ave., Western Springs, 708-246-2894, www.kirschbaumsbakery.com
Kolatek's Bakery: You can find a variety of classic (99 cents) and premium ($1.99) types of paczki at Kolatek's, where the bakery will offer the pastries Thursday through Tuesday. Preorders are available with 24 hours' notice. 2445 N. Harlem Ave., 773-637-3772, www.kolateksbakery.com
La Petite Pastry: The bakery is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, so no way it was going to miss an annual tradition like paczki for Fat Tuesday. La Petite will serve 15 different varieties of paczki through Tuesday at $1.09 per pastry, $1.30 for any including fresh fruit, and $1.50 for any including whip cream. 5610 W. 63rd St., 773-735-7383, www.lapetitepastry.com
Laramie Bakery and Deli: Laramie Bakery will enter the action on both Thursday and Tuesday, with paczki priced at 99 cents, $1.69 and $1.99. For Tuesday, place your order by Monday. 3012 N. Laramie Ave., 773-725-4965, www.laramiebakerydeli.com
Marie’s Cafe and Catering: While Marie’s still has to determine what the flavors and prices of its paczki will be exactly, the cafe will start serving the pastries Sunday morning and finish Tuesday. Preorders must be placed by Saturday. 3660 W. 111th St., 773-840-3344, www.mariescafeandcatering.com
Montrose Deli: Another spot where paczki are not simply a holiday menu item, Montrose Deli has varieties with different price points: 79 cents for mini paczki, then 99 cents, $1.19 and $1.59 for the rest, depending on fillings. 5411 W. Montrose Ave., 773-725-6123, www.montrosedeli.com
Oak Mill Bakery: The bakery will celebrate at all of its locations, with paczki Thursday through Tuesday, priced from $1.25 to $2.65 each. Tuesday preorders must be placed by Sunday, and you can find a full list of flavors on Oak Mill’s website. Locations and phone numbers vary, www.oakmillbakery.com
Orland Park Bakery: Pick up paczki from Fat Tuesday through Easter Sunday at $1.75 apiece from Orland Park Bakery. Preorders are available, although the bakery requests at least 48 hours' notice. A full list of available paczki can be found on the bakery’s website. 14850 S. La Grange Road, Orland Park, 708-349-8516, www.orlandparkbakery.com
Old Warsaw Buffet: The dining hall will have paczki all day Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., priced at $1.50 per piece. 4750 N. Harlem Ave., Harwood Heights, 708-867-4500, www.old-warsaw-buffet.com
Red Apple Buffet: Red Apple will have paczki at $1.50 per item Thursday, and while it requires preorders for specific orders of a dozen or more, the buffet will restock for Fat Tuesday. 3121 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-588-5781, www.redapple.restaurant
Roeser’s Bakery: At Roeser’s, the bakery will have a few paczki out Thursday, but Tuesday will unleash its full array of 15 flavors. Still, the paczki-hungry will find options in the store Thursday through Tuesday, priced from $1.35 to $1.92. Preorders are available but not required. 3216 W. North Ave., 773-489-6900, www.roeserscakes.com
Scafuri Bakery: Paczki will be in Scafuri’s cases all weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday, with a wide variety priced from $3.25 to $3.75. Preorders for Tuesday should be placed by Sunday evening. 1337 W. Taylor St., 312-733-8881, www.scafuribakery.com
Stan's Donuts: The doughnut purveyor is getting in on the paczki action, with $3 paczki for Fat Tuesday only, flavored in four styles: cherry, cannoli cream-filled, chocolate cream-filled and pastry cream-filled. Preorders should be submitted by Monday. Locations and phone numbers vary, www.stansdonutschicago.com
Sweet World Pastry: Starting Thursday, Sweet World Pastry will be commemorating the holiday, with a trio of classic paczki flavors for $1.29 apiece ($1.89 for the strawberry whip cream flavor, of course). For orders of more than a dozens, pre-orders are required, and Monday is the deadline. 5450 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-792-5566
Weber’s Bakery: Weber’s has plans to celebrate both days. On Thursday, all 12 flavors will be available in-store; likewise for Tuesday, but preorders for Fat Tuesday should be placed by Sunday. 7055 W. Archer Ave., 773-586-1234, www.webersbakery.com
West Town Bakery: Both of West Town Bakery’s locations will get in on the paczki action for Fat Tuesday, as will any of its wholesale locations, with classic varieties for $2.50 each. Preorders should be placed by Sunday. Locations and phone numbers vary, www.westtownbakery.com
Wiklanski Bakery: Another Polish bakery celebrating the holiday, Wiklanski will have paczki from Thursday through Tuesday at $1.19 apiece. 6006 W. Belmont Ave., 773-853-0077
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