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Most Americans looking for a breakfast pastry turn to the donut. Those people are chumps who clearly haven’t heard the good news — Wisconsin brought the world’s greatest breakfast pastry of all time to this nation, and they call it The Kringle.
This flaky butter-layered, icing-topped, fruit-filled ring of Norwegian goodness is the pinnacle of a Wisconsin breakfast. In 2013, this Racine-based pastry was even voted The Official State Pastry of Wisconsin, despite fervent protest from the cream puff lobby. So here are some of the best spots to pick up this flaky delight.
Kringle will always be the pride of Racine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some right in the heart of Mil-town. The Cheese Mart offers up some fine kringle options — a little rasberry, or a fine dose of pecan cinnamon — conveniently located right on Highland Avenue Downtown.
215 W. Highland Ave.; (888)482-7700
Not including O&H on this list would be like leaving Citizen Kane off a great movies list, or leaving Kevin Bacon off a most influential cultural icons list. They just belong there. O&H has been around since 1949 and has been voted best Kringle in Racine by the Journal Times. They’re the original OG of Norwegian baked goods, and they have a nearby location in Oak Creek. If you’re still not convinced, they even have a tiramisu kringle.
9540 S. 27th St., Oak Creek; (414)856-1141 | 717 S. Sylvania Ave. Sturtevant; (262)898-1950 | 4006 Durand Ave., Racine; (262)554-1311 | 1841 Douglas Ave. Racine; (262)637-8895 | 5910 Washington Ave. Racine; (262)504-7000
Packers and Kringle. Add a wedge of cheese and a bucketload of beer, and you couldn’t possibly get more stereotypically Wisconsin. This De Pere shop won the North American Kringle competition in 2014 with their Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Kringle. So on your next drive to Lambeau, stop by to try what just might be the best kringle in the continent.
1840 Dickinson Rd., De Pere; (920)330-0300
In 1934, Laurits Bendt Bendtsen opened this Racine shop. Unlike other Racine-based Kringle bakeries, Bendtsen’s has remained a one-location close-to-its-roots tried-and-true crafter of the Kringle. They also have a Kringle of the Month Club, where a featured kringle is shipped to your door every month, which is an example of the pure beauty still left in this cruel world.
3200 Washington Ave., Racine; (262)633-0365
“I love kringles,” you say. “But they’re just too small. I want a kringle that could feed a small family for months.” Say hello to the big fat kringle sold at Rocket Baby in Wauwatosa. It’s gigantic and puffy and a boundary-pusher in the traditional world of breakfast pastries.
6822 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa; (414)502-7323
While this business doesn’t have a storefront like the others on this list, Racine Danish might be a more common and convenient way to satisfy your kringle hankering. Racine Danish Kringles ships kringles of all varieties all over the country, which makes for an ideal gift. But they also supply kringles at your favorite grocery stores, such as Pick n’ Save, so when the kringle monkey leaps on your back and you don’t have time to visit one of these bakeries, you can always head to the grocery store and get a hit of RDK.
A family-run Racine bakery, Larsen’s has been bringing the kringle at high-quality for years now. In 2009, they started offering vegan kringle, if that’s your thing. They also have special monthly kringles, like December’s chocolate mint, which push the kringle into new worlds of sugary madness.
3311 Washington Ave., Racine; (262)633-4298
Good old Lehmann’s is the oldest continually operating bakery in Racine and has another location in Sturtevant. They’ve been bringing the kringle for over 80 years with a wide variety and delicious selection. They are a true contender for the title of greatest Racine Kringle and do proud by this legendary Wisconsin pastry.
9117 Durand Ave., Sturtevant; (262)632-4636 | 4900 Spring St. Racine; (262)898-7810
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Racine Danish Kringle is a bakery but does not have a storefront.