Groovy Donuts in East Lansing is preparing for one of their biggest days of the year, “Fat Tuesday,” which falls on Feb. 16 this year. The day marks Groovy Donuts’ sixth annual Paczki Day celebration of the rich jelly-filled donut, but this year’s celebration will be a little different due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bakery is taking Covid-safety protocols seriously by reorganizing the dining room to allow proper distancing and establishing pre-order pickup areas. All customers are encouraged to pre-order online and utilize contact-free curbside pick-up, as dine-in is not an option. Paczki pre-orders will be accepted through Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:59 p.m.
Groovy Donuts founder, owner and baker Andrew Gauthier spoke about how the store is trying to prepare for the big day.
“Fat Tuesday is by far our biggest day of the year, every year,” he said. “We saw a big bump last year when the folks over at Roma’s retired after an impressive 50-year-run.”
“Fat Tuesday is the one day a year that you can count on people who don’t usually buy donuts to stop in,” Gauthier explained. “It is an unusual year, so we don’t know if that will happen as much this year, but we want to be as prepared as possible for that. Our goal is to do everything we are able to in order to maintain social distancing and other safety protocols to keep our customers and our team as safe and healthy as possible.”
If you’ve heard the word paczki (pronounced PUNCH-kee) but don’t exactly know what that Polish word means, Gauthier breaks it down.
“A paczki is similar to a filled donut but has some key distinctions,” he said. “The most important of which is the dough. The dough is richer, similar to a brioche in texture. This is the result of adding additional sugar, eggs and shortening. The reason for this is the old Polish tradition of clearing out the cupboard before Lent. This led Polish families to make pastries with their extra eggs, sugar, lard and jams – and that is how the paczki was born!”
Groovy Donuts offers many varieties of options for fillings and toppings. Filling flavors include apple, blueberry, cherry, chocolate cream, cream, custard, lemon, prune, and raspberry. Unfilled paczki are also available. Toppings include glaze and powdered sugar.
The shop also offers gluten-free cake donuts in espresso glaze with chocolate drizzle, cinnamon sugar, vanilla icing with sprinkles, chocolate icing, and caramel icing. Vegan cake donuts are available in glazed, espresso glazed, and cinnamon sugar.
Gauthier’s favorite is the cherry-filled version, but he also enjoys the chocolate cream.
“We know that Fat Tuesday is fun, festive, and celebratory for many, but we’d ask that you show consideration for your fellow Groovy Donuts guests and help us maintain social distancing and Covid protocols. We truly appreciate it,” he said.
Groovy Donuts is located at 3054 Lake Lansing Rd. and will be open on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Their paczki will also be for sale at Campbell’s Market Basket in downtown East Lansing.
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