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'On Paczki Day, everyone is Polish.' Metro Detroiters wait hours in Hamtramck

paczki day
Need paczki fast? You can call an Uber on Fat Tuesday
Posted at 6:17 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 11:21:34-05

HAMTRAMCK, MI (WXYZ) — While the pastry options at New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck are endless, during this time of year most customers are here for one thing—the doughy, sugary, jelly-filled goodness known as Paczki.

"We are going to get some boxes of four and then smaller boxes," one customer said.

The craze lines up with Fat Tuesday, a Christian holiday that encourages people to indulge in their guilty pleasures before having to give something up for lent.

"A lot of times we have customers come to the bakery like generation upon generation so that's really fun," owner Suzy Ognanvich said.

It's a long-observed tradition, especially here in Hamtramck which was once primarily occupied by people of Polish descent.

"On Paczki Day, everyone is Polish," Suzy said. "So everyone can enjoy on it."

New Martha Washington Bakery has been serving paczki to the community for over 40 years.

Owner Susca Bakick says on the big day lines of customers will wrap around the block.

"It is amazing to see how happy people are when they come to the counter after waiting for two hours," she said.

Keeping up with the pace and the volume can be difficult, especially with staffing and supply shortages.

"In the end, when it is all said and done, you have to make it happen now," Suzy said. "Whether I have enough, I don't know. I won't know until Tuesday. If I run out of something that would be a first time."

Paczki Day has become nothing short of a phenomenon and even though Suzy Ognanvich and her employees pull all-nighters to keep business flowing, a satisfied customer makes it all worth it.

"That's the main thing. That is our focus. That everyone gets their paczki and everyone enjoys in on the tradition," she said. "After that, we all feel good. It's a good feeling."