Southside bakery swamped over demand for Paczki

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MILWAUKEE -- The doors of National Bakery and Deli opened at 6 a.m sharp Tuesday to a crowd of people who had one thing on their mind - Paczki.

"Paczki are just a tradition and they're good and the National Bakery is awesome," customer Anna Fredrickson said Tuesday.

"It's the dough. It's very special dough and it's really rich and it's really worth the one time a year wait," customer Ashlee Chramega said.

Some like to participate in the Mardi Gras fun of Fat Tuesday, but for others, it's about the Polish tradition.

"It started back when they were trying to get rid of all the lard and eggs and sugar right before Lent started so they could fast for Lent," National Bakery and Deli co-owner Jeff Callen said.

National Bakery and Deli plans to sell about 36,000 Paczki on Tuesday. Some of the bakers even worked through the night to prepare for Paczki Day.

"Everything, believe it or not, is timed out by the hour, because there is so much frying time and just the prep time to make the Paczki takes hours and hours and hours," Callen said.

They have all kinds of different types of Paczki at National Bakery and Deli, everything from glazed to powered to raisin and of course, the traditional prune and raspberry filled Paczki.

Everyone has their favorites, but self-proclaimed "Paczki Queen" Marlene Whitas says she loves it all on Paczki Day.

"I've done it since I was a child and now I'm an old lady, so I'm still doing it, so I like everything about it," Whitas said.

It is that tradition that keeps bringing people back year after year on Paczki Day.

National Bakery and Deli has three locations in Milwaukee, Brookfield and Greendale.