Excellent | Worth a Detour
O&H Bakery | Home of the Racine Kringle | Best Danish Pastry
Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom
Ultimate Danish Pastry
The Racine kringle — Wisconsin’s official state pastry — ranks as the greatest Danish-American pastry ever created. More than a flaky, fruit-filled wreath, it represents the largest Danish community outside of Denmark. It vastly outsizes a cheese Danish and it’s more festive than a tin of butter cookies. A single kringle will feed an office meeting or a large, hungry family. When you are road-tripping, one will provide several days of snacking.
All About the Kringle
The Olesen Family runs the O & H Bakery. They take credit for inventing the Racine kringle in 1949. The family motto says that there is “nothing quite as comforting as a slice of delicious kringle and a cup of hot coffee.” The O&H empire has grown to include a few roadside stands and mall kiosks across Southern Wisconsin. Border-crossing Chicago food lovers, curious tourists, and savvy commuters come to get their unnecessary daily allowance of butter and sugar.
An O&H kringle is a very eggy, rich pastry that flakes like a croissant. The Apple Kringle contains a pie-like filling of local apples. Tart cherries from Wisconsin’s Door County fill the cherry version. The cherries’ inherent tartness balances all the butter and sugar. It makes us think of a cherry pie from a roadside stand in the upper Midwest, interpreted by seasoned Danish bakers.
The Viking Toast Kringle will cost you a bit more because of its cream cheese frosting. We say, go for it. That three-foot tube of cinnamon-laced Danish baking perfection is a wonderful cross between a cinnamon roll and a kringle.
Gas Station Kringles
When a traveler needs a kringle (and/or a tank of diesel fuel) at 4am, the place to go is the Pietro Travel Plaza in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The bakery counter here offers a broad selection of O&H Bakery goods, including over a dozen different varieties of kringle. If you arrive after the bakery counter closes, they still sell kringles in the Travel Store. However, you must pair them with dangerously caffeinated Travel Plaza Coffee.
O&H ships kringle all over the country. But cost climbs according to distance. And freshness drops. Getting one from an O&H Bakery stand is a rite of passage for Great Lakes tourists.
Directions & Hours
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