The hardest part of getting pączki in Chicago is either remembering to order it on time or waking up early enough to get in line on Fat Tuesday. While you’re getting your plans in place for this year’s haul of the Polish pastry, we’d like to offer you a Chicagoan’s guide to purchasing pączki — as determined by your desires, needs, and personality.

Where to buy pączki if you want…

A nip in your buns

Delightful Pastries: This spot boasts traditional products made with as many local ingredients as possible. But they also carry what they call Drunken Pączki, which feature fillings that are spiked with Jameson Irish whiskey, vodka, or moonshine. 5927 W. Lawrence Ave., Jefferson Park. delightfulpastries.com

Photo courtesy of Dinkel’s Bakery

To trust us

Dinkel’s Bakery: We named the pączki at Dinkel’s one of our iconic eats last summer. The bakery sells them on the six days leading up to Fat Tuesday. We think their pączki are perfectly pillowy and stuffed with exactly the right amount of filling. 3329 N. Lincoln Ave., Lake View. dinkels.com

Nothing fancy, pal

Andy’s Deli: This traditional Polish deli hardly mentions its baked goods on its website — which, instead, features an absolutely breathtaking spread of Polish meats. The pączki they do offer are all the traditional flavors at a completely reasonable price ($1.59 each). 5452 N. Milwaukee Ave., Gladstone Park. andysdeli.com

A deli tray, too

Montrose Food Mart and Deli: Man cannot survive on pączki alone (try as we might). If you’d like to make this your only errand of the day, might as well get your pączki and the rest of your groceries in one place. 6601 W. Irving Park Road, Dunning. montrosedeli.com

Photo courtesy of Firecakes

Something for the ‘gram

Firecakes Donuts: New Orleans doesn’t get to have all the glitz and glamour on Fat Tuesday. Firecakes’ pączki are all about the drama. This year’s options include chocolate cookie crumb, cherry cheese, blackberry elderflower, and plum almond. Multiple locations, firecakesdonuts.com

A multilingual experience

Kolatek Bakery: Pączki isn’t just for the Polish. Kolatek Bakery hypes its “personal shopper experience” in four languages: English, Polish, Ukrainian, and Spanish. 2445 N. Harlem Ave, Montclare. kolateksbakery.com

A vegan option

Liberation Donuts: Inclusion is important, so we’ve even got something for the vegan crowd. Liberation Donuts is offering six-packs of its vegan cherry-filled pączki for preorder. 2054 W. Grand Ave, West Town. uptonsnaturals.com/restaurants

Photo: Brittany Sowacke

History (and variety)

Roeser’s Bakery: Head to Chicago’s oldest family-owned bakery (opened in 1911) to try one of 22 varieties of pączki, from chocolate custard with chocolate icing to strawberry with powdered sugar. 3216 W. North Ave., Humboldt Park. roeserscakes.com

Fusion!

Polombia: This spot in Time Out Market combines Polish and Colombian cuisine — and it even found a way to incorporate a local beer in its pączki. Its Fat Tuesday offerings include PBJ (made with Maplewood Pistachio Liqueur),  Maplewood Wild Forest Berries, Guava Coconut, and Cafe con Nutella. 916 W. Fulton Market, West Loop. polombia.business.site

Just a bite

Racine Bakery: A little pączki for the little Polish. Racine Bakery offers mini pączkis in addition to its full-size versions in all the traditional flavors. 6216 S Archer Ave., Garfield Ridge. racinebakery.com

Year-round pączki

Bridgeport Bakery: The bakery sells four flavors of pączki year-round, but for Fat Tuesday it’s adding 15 more varieties to its lineup. Never pass up a special when you can get the regular menu any other day. 2907 S. Archer Ave., Bridgeport. bridgeportbakery.blizzfull.com

Photo courtesy of Marz Community Brewing Co.

To drink your Fat Tuesday calories

Marz Community Brewing Co.: To celebrate the holiday and their Polish heritage, Marz releases its Pączki Stout each year. This double milk stout is brewed with cocoa nibs and lactose, meant to mimic the flavor profile of the chocolate pudding filling found inside some pączki. marz.beer

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