Fat Tuesday in Chicago: Paczki Time

Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras in French, conjures up different meanings depending on where you’re from and how you were brought up. Cities all over the world such as Sydney, Salvador, Prague and Venice celebrate Mardi Gras with festivals, raucous debauchery, parades, and so much more. In the states, the city with the biggest celebration of course starts with New Orleans, Louisiana. Over 1.2 million visitors came to take part during its Mardi Gras festivities last year. Other notable celebrations include Mobile, Gulf Shores, St. Louis and San Diego.

In Chicago, we indulge in paczkis. Lots and lots of paczkis. Fat Tuesday is known as the last day to overindulge before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and it is synonymous with Paczki Day. If you plan to get your gluttony on, what better way to do that then start your day with Polish donuts! Pronounced poonch-key, these Polish pastries are deep-fried dough filled with custard, fruit or nothing at all.

Fat Tuesday Chicago

It doesn’t matter if you are Polish or not, the tradition has spread far and wide in the Chicago area. Hundreds of people will line up hours before their work day begins to pick up boxes of coveted Paczkis. Lip-smacking and sticky fingers is an epidemic in Chicago for the day.

Classic flavors such as strawberry, custard, and blueberry are always safe, but some bakeries get creative with flavors including Nutella, cookie monster, lemon and caramel bacon. Delicious!

Fat Tuesday Chicago

Where to find Paczki’s in Chicago

Most bakeries will have paczkis on Fat Tuesday and a few days before, but here are a few well-reviewed places:

Delightful Pastries, 131 N. Clinton Street, 1710 N. Wells Street, or 5927 W. Lawrence Avenue

Oak Mill Bakery, 5753 W. Belmont Avenue, 5747 S. Harlem Avenue, 2204 W. North Avenue

Kristoffer’s Cafe and Bakery, 1733 S. Halsted Street

Dinkel’s Bakery, 3329 N. Lincoln Avenue

Firecakes Donuts, 68 W. Hubbard Street and 2453 N. Clark Street

Weber’s Bakery, 7055 W. Archer Avenue

How do you celebrate Fat Tuesday? Ever try a paczki?

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Fat Tuesday Chicago

4 Responses

  1. Chris Travels

    Well, Ive certainly never heard of the Polish paczki donut before, and I don’t know if I should love it or hate it! One thing I do know…eating too many of those will make you FAT on TUESDAY, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, yada, yada. You get the picture, right?

    • Dang Travelers

      You would love them Chris! We are talking strawberry, chocolate, custer and so many more fillings inside these deep-fried tasty treats!!

  2. Bob R

    More or less the same here in Slovenia, except they’re called krofi, pronounced ‘Craw-fee’. (Except they’re better here, too. 😉 )

    • Dang Travelers

      Really? We learn something new every day! Ha! I guess we will just have to take a trip to Slovenia to see which was are better!

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