With customers lined up out the door, our superhero store clerks were hustling – filling orders, restocking shelves, and partying their paczki off. Meanwhile our expert bakers were working as fast as they could to produce perfect, fresh paczki. Judging by all the smiles, laughs, and polka dancing, we knew we were in the midst of a particularly incredible Paczki Day — or as it is known outside of Milwaukee — Fat Tuesday.
We wouldn’t learn just how incredible the response was until near the end of the day when, even after replenishing our supply several times, we found ourselves sold out of paczki and just about everything else. The grand total of Grebe’s paczki sold in 2019…drum roll please…90,000! That’s 1-1/2 paczki for every person living in West Allis. The most popular flavors, as usual, were the glazed prune and sugared raspberry varieties, but our other 8 varieties also flew out the door – West Allis went loco for lemon, crazy for caramel apple, and insane for Irish Cream!
The reason for this unprecedented demand? We believe it’s because Grebe’s paczki are always fresh and never frozen. Most bakeries don’t have the capacity to produce such a large quantity of fresh paczki for one day, and you can taste the difference – that’s why our customers don’t mind lining up to get their annual Fat Tuesday fix.
Paczki Day at Grebe’s wouldn’t be complete without our annual Facebook photo contest. The winner this year was Bonnie Ahles, who won a $100 Grebe’s gift card by checking in and tagging us in a pic of her paczki. (Shout out to everyone who participated!)
Lead-up to Fat Tuesday
The lead up to Fat Tuesday began with the Wisconsin Bakers Association’s (WBA) Paczki Preview which was held just over a week prior to Fat Tuesday at the Polish Center of Wisconsin. The Paczki Preview put paczki samples from several area bakeries in the hands of paczki lovers from all over – preparing their taste buds for the big day! Paczki Preview attendees, Grebe’s faithfuls, and plenty of newbies were primed for Paczki Day and when it finally arrived, we Paczki Partied with live accordion music by Bryan O’Donnell, Pre-Teen Miss Polish Fest, a special appearance by Milwaukee Admirals mascot, Roscoe, t-shirt and bead giveaways, and as always, a plethora of paczki! As always at Grebe’s, it was a family affair, with additional family members (and staff who’ve become like family!) on hand to pack, push, and promote paczki.
In addition to serving those who came into our flagship shop, our paczki were delivered to more than 250 southeastern Wisconsin locations for Fat Tuesday. If you weren’t able to make it down to see us in person, you could still get your paczki fix at Speedway, Sendik’s, Woodman’s, Sentry, Piggly Wiggly, and many other convenience and grocery locations as far as Green Bay, Madison, and over the border in Illinois.
As we flop into our easy chair and take a deep breath, we can’t help but wonder what next year has in store for us. 100,000 paczki? 150,000? 200,000?! As loyal Grebe’s Bakery lovers, you get to help determine the answer to that question. See you next year!