The owners of several bakeries in Grundy and Will counties say business has been rising in the weeks leading up to Paczki Day.
Tuesday’s holiday observance marks the day before Ash Wednesday, which is a time of year at which point prayer and fasting begins for Christians. In the days before, many turn to bakeries to indulge in the paczki.
Karen Johnstone, co-owner of K & W Bakery in Coal City, said she and her staff feel ready for Paczki Day.
“A lot of people do pre-order because we let them know to guarantee their flavors,” she said. “I have a steady flow Fat Tuesday. I’ll have lines.”
Johnstone said K & W Bakery tends to make about 2,500 paczki every year.
“We’re getting prepared and still taking orders for paczki,” she said. “We started pre-orders right after Valentine’s Day.”
Johnstone said paczki is a special offering at K & W Bakery twice a year. The flavors include everything from apple and lemon to raspberry and blueberry.
Johnstone said the key to making paczki is the dough.
“It’s a richer doughnut,” she said. “We do add ingredients to it, so it makes it a richer doughnut. Because my husband knows the dough industry, he knows how to be sure that it’s consistent with the richness.”
Bruce Aronson, the owner of The Donut Den in Joliet, said Paczki Day is a busy time for him and his staff.
“Paczki Day is insane,” he said. “I have all hands on deck. … We start on Monday morning, and we don’t finish until Tuesday afternoon.”
Aronson said people tend to enjoy what The Donut Den offers.
“They say they’re delicious,” he said. “They’re a little bigger, and we really stuff them full of filling. It’s a richer dough.”
The Donut Den started accepting pre-orders for paczki about a month ago.
Aronson said he and his staff handled about 300 pre-orders last year.
“I’ve done more every year for 10 years, so I anticipate a little more,” he said.
Elsewhere in Lockport, The Donut Shop has been receiving pre-orders for paczki for about a month.
Owner Victor Medina said the secret to the making paczki comes down to the ingredients. He said there’s also a lot of time and careful attention put into the pastries offered at The Donut Shop.
“The process, it takes three hours for to you start making paczki,” he said.
Medina said The Donut Shop had received about 300 pre-orders for paczki and is expecting more come Tuesday.
“It sounds like we’re going to get busy,” he said.