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10 places to find paczki

From traditional paczki to versions stuffed with booze, these are the best Polish pastries to scarf down before Lent

Paczki

It wouldn’t be Fat Tuesday without a paczki (pronounced "poonch-key"), the eggy, yeasty and round Polish pastry. In Poland, Paczki Day is traditionally Fat Thursday, the Thursday before Fat Tuesday, and this year that falls on February 4. But lots of bakeries are offering them through Fat Tuesday (February 9) and beyond. Here’s where to find everything from traditional fillings to boozy paczki.

RECOMMENDED: Mardi Gras parties

Where to find paczki

Andy's Deli

This nearly century-old Jefferson Park mecca for Polish meats also happens to have a good bakery department up its sleeve. Fat Tuesday or any day, pop in for super fresh, pillowy paczki in flavors like rose, marmalade and custard.

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Jefferson Park

Bennison's Bakery

The Evanston bakery is known for its paczki-eating contest, held February 6, but you don’t have to participate to indulge in the Polish treat. Paczki flavors include prune, apricot, cheese, raspberry, custard and apple. More elaborate paczki include fresh banana cream, praline chocolate mousse and fresh strawberry with whipped cream. 

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Evanston

Bridgeport Bakery

Come Fat Tuesday, lines stretch down the block and paczkis fly off the shelves at this South Side institution, so call ahead to place your order. Or skip the chaos altogether: The full Paczki Day menu is available starting February 6, so get a jump on your celebrations. You can get the custard, strawberry and raspberry jelly anytime, so try the 16 other varieties, including cherry, peach and pineapple, made just for this week. 

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Bridgeport

Delightful Pastries

This year, Polish pastry specialist Delightful Pastries augments its already solid paczki roster with three “drunken” paczki—named for their fillings like Jameson-spiked chocolate custard—as well as two “gourmet” selections, passionfruit and PB&J. Missed the February 2 order cutoff (for orders of 12 or more)? Don’t stress: The full menu is available at Delightful’s three locations now through Fat Tuesday (though owner Dobra Bielinski cautions that Paczki Day walk-ins should show up early).

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Old Town

Dinkel’s Bakery

Indulge your paczki cravings from February 4–9 at Dinkel’s, where you’ll find 13 varieties. Try cheese, chocolate, custard with caramel fudge, and fresh strawberry. Need incentive to plan ahead? This Fat Tuesday, the Lakeview favorite is introducing an express pickup line for prepaid paczki orders.

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Lakeview

Kolatek's Bakery & Deli

In the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, this bastion of Polish deli fare, imported sweets and Eastern European breads enriched with sprouted grains and other good-for-you ingredients is expanding its year-round paczki lineup with some decidedly non-traditional offerings. Look for quirky flavors like chocolate chili, caramel bacon and chocolate mint.

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Belmont-Cragin

Oak Mill Bakery

With seven locations (two in the city and five spread around the Chicagoland area) there’s bound to be a branch of this European-style bakery–founded by a Polish expat–nearby when Paczki Day rolls around. Paczki flavors for 2016 include classics like powidla (prune) and advocaat (an eggnog-like liqueur), as well as modern spins like salted caramel and coffee bean.

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Wicker Park

Racine Bakery

This Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday, it’s worth taking a ride out to this snug, old-school spot for its seriously tasty take on paczki. Choose from 12 varieties, like blueberry, poppy and cheese. If you want a taste without committing to a full-sized paczki, four popular flavors (raspberry, custard, apricot and rosehip) will also be available in miniature versions.

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Archer Heights

Sweet World Pastry

This quaint, Polish-owned Jefferson Park bakery offers prune, raspberry, apricot, custard and fresh strawberry-filled pastry during Mardi Gras. Our pick is the paczki filled with rose hip jam. 

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Jefferson Park

Weber's Bakery

The family-owned bakery celebrates Paczki Day on Fat Tuesday, February 9, but the pastries are also available from February 4–7. Head in for 12 flavors, including apricot, poppy seed and chocolate-drizzled fresh strawberry.

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Southwest Side

Comments

18 comments
Jenna C
Jenna C

Swedish Bakery in Andersonville has them too!

Jo Q
Jo Q

It doesnt matter where you get them, just get some Paczki, preferebly from a Polish or Eastern Euro Deli. Poland WAS Eastern Europe so its still good.

Joanne S
Joanne S

Paczkis at Vesecky's in Berwyn

Megan F
Megan F

Suprised they didn't mention rueters bakery on grand&harlem

Gerardo D
Gerardo D

The best place for a paczek is Laramie bakery and deli

Len W
Len W

Try Dunajec Bakery at Archer and Kedvale or on Harlem at 83rd Street in Bridgeview.

Caroline S
Caroline S

Attention People!!  They are not just Polish!!!! They are found throughout Europe ( i.e. Germany known as Krapfen, Berliner, etc) and in Israel where they are known as Sufganiot.  They are actually pretty easy to make at home and yummy!

Jo Q
Jo Q

@Caroline S Sure Caroline just spew out false information. Eastern Europe was Poland Lithuania so any current involved nation would be Polish influence. German and Jewish have mediocre pastries but they are not Paczki.

Lu M
Lu M

Lutz on Montrose. is the best

Derek T
Derek T

Oak Mill bakery not mentioned????

Mo M
Mo M

They're not pronounced poonch key, but rather pōnch key. One pączek and many pączki.  Thanks for the reminder!

Agata F
Agata F

Old Warsaw Buffet - I have been going there for over 25 years. THE BEST!  NO PLACE COMPARES.

krystyna F
krystyna F

ANDY'S DELI ON 5442 N MILWAUKEE AVE CHICAGO IL 60630!!!!! IN JEFFERSON PARK!

THEY HAVE REAL TRADITONAL STYLE POLISH PACZKI! AND PACZKI DAY IS ACTUALLY FEBRUARY 12 FOR POLISH PEOPLE AND FEBRUARY 17 FOR AMERICAN'S FAT TUESDAY! SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET THESE DELICIOUS YUMMIES TODAY AND TOMORROW AS WELL AT ANDYS DELI!

MM
MM

I disagree with Esther Castillejo about Paczki time! 10 places to find the fried Polish pastry.... BIG NO NO NO NO, wrong places, I live in polish neighborhood, I would say a few names but there is more : Szymanski Deli , Andy's Deli , Old Warsaw Buffet, Pol-Mart Deli (different owner and different name), Montores Deli , and southside of chicago where highlanders live etc...... BUUUUUUU for Esther Castillejo

SteNov c
SteNov c

@MM There are dozens and dozens of actual Polish places around the city that sell authentic Polish food, and this article doesn't list a single one. Seriously, who is going to go to some place named "Swedish Bakery" to buy Polish food?

Margaret
Margaret

Or any Polish/ European deli :-)

SteNov c
SteNov c

@Margaret Yeah, seriously, is this article a joke? How about you buy Polish paczki from an actual Polish bakery or deli? If you want the authentic stuff, why would you go to some obscure place?

Paulina
Paulina

You forgot the best location where people wait in long lines for these at Old Warsaw Buffet 4750 N Harlem Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706, they have the best!