A paczki (often pronounced as “punch-key”) is a Polish donut that is often filled with jelly. The tradition of eating these baked goods before Ash Wednesday and Lent began from needing to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house before Lent.
Whether you participate in Lent, have had one of these special treats or not, there are lots of options to try one out in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Here are some of the top spots to purchase your paczki:
Lakeview: 3329 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL
Since 1922 this bakery has been serving up treats to the Chicago area. You can order paczki by the dozen for $15.49 or for $1.59 per paczki from Thursday, February 27 through Tuesday, March 4. Their flavors include cheese, chocolate, cherry, strawberry, apricot, plum, raspberry, blueberry, fresh strawberry, Parisian lemon, apple and cinnamon, custard with powdered sugar, custard with chocolate icing, custard with caramel fudge, pineapple and white fudge with coconut, and raspberry lemon with powdered sugar.
Chicago French Market: 131 N. Clinton Avenue, Chicago, IL
Old Town: 1710 N. Wells Street, Chicago, IL
Jefferson Park: 5927 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL
With multiple locations this option will give you plenty of options for paczki. Just be sure to place your order by March 2. They have a specialty drunken paczki with flavors like Jameson whiskey with chocolate custard, vodka and custard with Madagascar vanilla, and lemon curd with moonshine. Their classic flavors include custard with chocolate fudge, fresh strawberry and whipped cream, apricot jelly, plum butter, raspberry jelly, and rose petal jelly.
River North: 321 North Clark Chicago, IL
New City: 4305 S. Halsted Chicago, IL
Grab one of these sweet treats while on your lunch break in River North. They have a variety available but some flavors are only available on Fat Tuesday, March 4. Flavors include apricot, raspberry, prune, blueberry, strawberry, cheese, cherry, custard and chocolate, and fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Wicker Park: 2204 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL
Belmont Central: 5753 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL
Niles: 8012 N. Milwaukee Ave., Niles, IL
More locations on their website
This is the talked about place for paczki. Why? Because they offer paczki year-round. They have flavors filled with fruits like raspberry, strawberry and blueberry or others filled with custard, lemon poppy seed, and a lot more.
Andersonville: 5348 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL
This European-style bakery is always offering up unique delicious treats, so Paczki Day is no different. Starting February 27 to Fat Tuesday on March 4, you can pick up in store these treats or give them a call to place your order. Their Facebook shows photos of a variety of flavors, but it’s best to give them a call to place your orders for exact flavors.