Chicagoans celebrate Fat Tuesday with Paczkis despite snowstorm, pandemic

With Fat Tuesday this week, it is that time of year again when Chicagoans race to their favorite bakery to pick up those lovely little fried balls of dough called Paczkis.

Despite a furious snowstorm and an unrelenting pandemic, the quest for the perfect Paczki is drawing hundreds to a tiny Northwest Side bakery.

Delightful Pastries at Lawrence and Austin will crank out nearly 30,000 Paczkis before Fat Tuesday ends.

"One person wrote to me, ‘you know your Paczkis make me weep. I’m so happy. I’m so glad we moved close to you,’" said Delightful Pastries owner Dobra Bielinski.

Bielinski has been punching out the Paczkis for 22 years and while they have your standard plum, apricot and raspberry, they also offer German chocolate, salted caramel, passion fruit and even Jameson Whiskey chocolate.

Just please, do not called them donuts.

"A lot of bakeries are faking it. They’re making their regular donuts and calling them Paczki. Now Paczkis you eat for the dough, not really for the filling. Polish people, if you put too much filling in will complain, like ‘what happened to the dough?’" Bielinski said.


While some customers order hundreds at a time to be shipped all over the United States, others are happy with a simple Paczki pair.

"Yeah we just got two. We’re dropping them off for the neighbor that snow plows our sidewalks," said customer Maria.