The Lone Star State is pretty much paradise, and part of what makes the state so heavenly is the food. While we already know that Texans love their tacos, they are also particularly partial to a Czech pastry known far and wide as the kolache. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of where to find them, let's stop and examine what a kolache is. It's important for the kolache purists that we distinguish between a kolache and a klobasnek. And no, these are not donuts or pigs in a blanket.
According to Texan vernacular, a kolache is a breakfast food comprised of sweet bread filled with various breakfast items. The delicious baked goods were originally brought to America by Czech immigrants from the Czech Republic. A Texas kolache can contain savory ingredients like brisket, sausage, eggs, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, or any number of other creative delicacies. However, denotatively, that is a klobasnek. A kolache has no meat in it at all. It is filled with fruit purees like apricot, cream cheese, or other sweet fillings. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to all of the above as kolaches, because this is Texas, and our language is not always based on accuracy or Czech heritage.
As with anything good, Texas kolaches can be hard to find. There are always the huge corporate chains that I will not insult you by placing on this list, not because they're not good, but because there are so many more amazing mom-and-pop bakeries that might otherwise be out of the way if their pastries weren't a destination unto themselves. A lot of the places on this list you could pass by at 70 miles per hour if you're not careful. It would be fruitless (pun intended) to attempt to rank the kolaches in Texas, so instead, here's a highlight reel. In no particular order, the following 10 Texas bakeries are especially adept at making incredible Czech pastries be they kolaches or klobasnikies.
1. Czech Stop -- West
No Texas kolache bucket list would be complete without a trip to the Czech Stop in West. Located in a Shell station on Highway 35 between Waco and Dallas, no one would suspect that the unassuming brown building housed some of Texas's most delectable treats. In business for over 30 years, the Czech Stop is a Texas institution. The small bakery was thrust into the national spotlight in 2013 after the West Fertilizer Company explosion. After the disaster, Czech Stop donated bottled water and food to first responders during the long and arduous clean-up process.
2. The Kolache Shop -- Clute
The Kolache Shop in Clute has roots back in El Campo, Texas, where proprietor Debbie Frakey learned to make kolaches in her grandmother's bakery. The Kolache Shop was opened in Clute in 1985 and has been delighting Texans ever since. If you're especially lucky, you'll get a chance to taste some of their seasonal offerings such as Nutella and maple, red velvet, or pumpkin pie!
3. Chappell Hill Bakery -- Chappell Hill
You could spend all day in Chappell Hill Bakery, because it not only serves amazing breakfast kolaches, it also offers up hamburgers and barbecue among other menu items. Located in Chappell Hill on Highway 290 between Houston and Brenham, Chappell Hill Bakery is a necessary stop on the Texas kolache tour.
4. Old Main Street Bakery -- Rosenberg
Open Wednesday through Sunday in Rosenberg, the Old Main Street Bakery is a great place to stop in for a Texas kolache. The bakery is located in historic downtown Rosenberg, where you can also order delectable baked goods, including made-to-order cakes. Go early to grab a poppy seed kolache before they sell out!
5. Hruska's -- Ellinger
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Hruska's, of course! In true Texas style, you're likely to spot several hens in the parking lot of his pit stop on Highway 71 between Austin and Houston, so drive slowly and park with care. Hruska's kolache recipes date back to 1962 when Ellinger resident Adolphine Krenek began selling her homemade pastries at the store. The recipe was handed down throughout the years, and the kolaches are now baked fresh onsite.
6. Two Czech Chicks -- Danbury
Even though the bakery may be relatively new in the kolache scene, the recipes are not. The kolache recipes were handed down to the proprietors by their grandmothers. The Danbury bakery is open until 11 am, so there's no sleeping in if you want a kolache from the Two Czech Chicks. You may never have heard of Two Czech Chicks before, but they were voted the number one most underrated kolache in the Houston area by readers of the Houston Press.
7. Original Kountry Bakery -- Schulenberg
Located on Highway 77 in Schulenberg, the Original Kountry Bakery was founded in 1979 by the Besetsny family. Weary travelers going from San Antonio to Houston will often make a routine detour to the Kountry Bakery for some of the Besetsny family's famous kolaches. You can choose from an array of delicious flavors like cherry, peach, poppyseed, and more. There is now also a location in Hallettsville.
8. Village Bakery -- West
It's not possible to limit the kolache paradise of West to only one establishment when there are so many to try. West has got to be Texas's premier kolache destination. Village Bakery also weathered the West Fertilizer Company disaster and continues to provide delicious kolaches and baked goods. If you can't make it out to West, don't worry because if you give them a call (254) 826-5151, they will ship you some of their pastries anywhere in the United States. Now imagine sending some delicious kolaches to your out-of-state relatives for Christmas!
9. Weikel's -- La Grange
In the famous Texas town of La Grange sits an out-of-the-way bakery that you will make you want to take a detour. Family owned and operated, Weikel's Bakery is on Highway 71 between Austin and Houston and has mouthwatering kolaches.
10. B-Jo's Bakery in Prasek's -- Hillje
There's not a whole lot on Highway 59 between Houston and Victoria, but if you're passing through, you won't want to miss out on the kolaches at Prasek's. Prasek's bakery is called B-Jo's, and though it's nestled firmly within a smokehouse full of mouthwatering sausage and jerky, the kolaches should not be ignored. The next time you're traveling that way, do yourself a favor and stop in.