BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Fat Tuesday marks a sort of last hoorah for many Christian faithful before the Lenten season, and many Western New Yorkers mark the day by indulging in traditional Polish pastries.
People line up at the Broadway Market, especially, to get their fill of paczki, or at least one paczek, which is what it’s called in the singular form.
“Buffalo’s just full of tradition,” explained Tom Mazurowski, director of sales for E.M. Chrusciki Bakery. “Buffalo’s the second largest American Polish city next to Chicago, so we are proud of that heritage.”
Paczki (pronounced paunch-key), are made from yeast-risen dough, fried to perfection, then topped with sugar, powdered sugar, or glaze, and filled with a flavor, like lemon, chocolate, or Bavarian cream, to name a few.
Mazurowski says the black raspberry filled paczki are the favorite among Americans with Polish heritage, while prune-filled paczki are big with the European crowds.
Whatever their favorite flavor, people were lining up at the counters at Chrusciki’s, White Eagle, and Mazurek’s bakeries when the Broadway Market opened its doors at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
And, while it’s a big day for people of Polish decent, a lot of the early customers have no ties to Poland other than their desire to get one of the first paczek of the morning.
“I like to give the spiel about what it is and the joy we have making it,” said Ann Marie Prybylski, whose family owns White Eagle Bakery and D&L Bakery in Depew.
Prybylski’s family has been making all sorts of Polish pastries for four generations, and for generations, Polish families have turned to the Broadway Market for all their traditional foods and goods.
“The Market’s actually celebrating its 130th year this year,” said Kathleen Peterson, Broadway Market manager. “It was started by Polish and German immigrants in 1888.”
In 2018, the Broadway Market has a full schedule of events, especially during the busy Easter season.
“We’re open all year long, but Easter is definitely the busiest time, and so this is the official kickoff,” Peterson said as the crowds began to arrive for Paczki Day.
“It is absolutely bustling,” Mazurowski agreed. “We’ve got two stands that we run and at start of the Easter season, we recruit a few of our Polish friends from Poland. They come over just for the Easter season to help us out.”
The Broadway Market is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. for Paczki Day. It will also offer extended hours in the weeks leading up to Easter. Click here to learn more about the Broadway Market.
News 4’s Katie Alexander had a chance to check out the bakeries selling paczki at the Broadway Market this year. Watch the videos below for our full Wake Up coverage.
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