Whether you grew up eating paczkis from your local polish bakery, searching for the baby in a king cake every year, or generally feeding your sweet tooth the day before Ash Wednesday, you probably participated in some version of Fat Tuesday. The holiday falls on February 21st this year and Chicagoans are already gearing up for a big celebration.
While the holiday originated in Poland, Chicagoans have lovingly embraced Paczki Day, where hundreds line up to enjoy paczki pastries the day before lent. Paczkis, which are doughnut-like pastries stuffed with different flavors of filling, are traditionally enjoyed on Fat Thursday in Poland. Chicago bakeries usually sell them the day before Ash Wednesday (and sometimes even during Lent. Skandaliczny!)
We recommend ordering ahead because the traditional pastry sells out fast. You can find paczkis at just about every bakery in Chicago this Fat Tuesday, but we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite places to start:
Bridgeport Bakery 2.0
The bakery has already started taking paczki orders (which they also sell year-round) and offers over 17 different flavors to celebrate with. They’re currently taking walk-in orders! Address: 2907 S Archer Ave.
With fun flavors like coconut, birthday cake, salted caramel, and pineapple, the classic cafe is taking orders online at its two locations in both Deerfield and Buffalo Grove. Offering more than 20 varieties, this year’s selection is sure to delight. Address: Find both locations
The Wicker Park pastry shop is serving up stuffed pastries this year. With inventive flavors like rose or apple cinnamon, feel free to place your order online beforehand as they’re offering both pickup and delivery. Address: 1736 W Division St.
Kolatek’s Bakery & Deli
They sell a variety of both traditional and adventurous flavors like rum raisin, caramel bacon, hot chili chocolate, and limoncello! Address: 2445 N. Harlem Ave.
They sell paczkis year-round and offer an assortment of paczki in both regular and gourmet flavors, including everything from chocolate to boozy fillings! Make sure you have your order in before the day because they’re sure to sell out!
Pastry Chef Ashley Robinson has created a series of delicious paczki’s available for pre-order before Fat Tuesday. Located at Revival Food Hall, which will be closed on Monday. Filled with innovative flavors that are sure to spark delight, there’s also a bakery located at 433 W Van Buren St. Address: 125 S Clark St.
The Evanston bakery has been around since 1938, serving up delightful packed paczki’s just outside of the city. They’re available for walk-in orders or if you want, order online 24 hours in advance to ensure a box of the fabulous baked goods. Address: 1000 Davis St. Evanston
Bittersweet Pastry Shop
If you can’t decide what flavor to go for, opt for a prearranged box! Each order, by chef Judy Contino, includes a half dozen packs of doughnuts that include three vanilla creams and three sour cherry jams. They’re available for pre-order until February 21st. Address: 1114 W Belmont Ave.
Estelle’s Cafe & Lounge
They always offer paczkis to all guests along with $5 VooDoo shots. Address: 2013 W North Ave.
They’re selling an outlandish giardiniera flavor this year! The Italian sandwich shop is making paczki with hot giardiniera seasoning mixed in with a vanilla or chocolate option. Address: 901 W. Randolph St.