Warm weather has arrived and so has the urge for adventure. This spring road takes you on two different routes to find the delicious Czech pastry.
For those who don’t know, a kolache or kolace is a square pastry with fruit or cream cheese filling that’s popular in Czech culture. The dough of a kolache is dense and sweet. This differs from a Danish which is lighter and flakier.
The Kolache Trail
Trip Mileage: About 250
Overall Vibe: Filling
Kolache, the Czech-inspired breakfast sweet is most everywhere in Texas. If a shop sells doughnuts odds are kolaches are also available filled with fruit, jellies, jams, cream cheese, and, in the case of the klobasnek, small sausages (aka pigs in a blanket).
Drive any main route inside the Texas urban triangle of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Austin-San Antonio and you’ll find kolaches. Hope you’re hungry because this 200-plus-mile meander takes you away from the cities and the interstates to two dozen spots where the baked delicacy—along with the greeting Jak se mas!—rules.
You might as well start in West, located on Interstate 35 about 20 miles north of Waco—and you might just as well end there, too. This community of 2,860 has six bakeries that specialize in kolaches. The frontage-road establishments of Czech Stop/Little Czech and Kolache House Baking Company (northbound, located in the CEFCO convenience store) and Slovacek’s (southbound) get the highway traffic. Or drive a couple blocks east to Oak Street where the Oak Street Bakery, Gerik’s Ole’ Czech, and West Donuts and Kolaches are clustered.
Once you’ve had your fill of kolaches in West, head about 13 miles south and then east on Heritage Parkway/Farm to Market Road 2311 through Leroy to State Highway 31 West. Then go 12 miles to the State Highway 340 loop around Waco picking up US 77 South for 27 miles to Lott. In town, turn onto State Highway 320 South to Miller’s Country Smokehouse, a destination deli and bakery that also happens to serve kolaches.
>> Related article: Along the Kolache Trail
Continue south on SH 320, then west on State Highway 53 for a half mile to the tiny town of Zabcikville named for the family of Czech immigrants that settled there. Here is where you’ll find Green’s Sausage House, a café, meat counter, and bakery established in 1946. Eight fruit varieties are offered daily along with eight different kinds of meat kolaches including the exotic knockwurst with jalapeños and cheese and boudin with jalapeño cheese.
Head back east and south on Farm to Market Road 485 for 14 miles crossing US 77 and pick up Farm to Market Road 979 for 16 miles to Calvert and Pappy’s Bakery, a full-service bakery with six varieties of fruit kolaches and regular or jalapeño sausage klobasnek. Then, it’s about 30 miles south on State Highway 6 to one of three Kolache Rolf’s locations in College Station, the house specialties being an array of traditional kolaches along with four varieties of savory kolaches including bacon and cheese.
Leaving Aggieland, take State Highway 47 north to State Highway 21 West, a 27-mile jog to Caldwell—home of the Caldwell Kolache Festival held on the second Saturday in September. Tucked next to a convenience store is Nonnie’s Bakery where the handmade kolaches (including coconut) sell out early.
From Caldwell, continue south on SH 21 for 10 miles then turn right and go west on Farm to Market Road 696 for 14 miles to Lexington. Cheese pigs are the top item on the breakfast menu at Herk’s Store and Grill. From here, it’s 37 miles south on US 77 to Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange (a second bakery is located in Brenham). This spot features at least 20 flavors of kolache and five kinds of what they call klobasniky—their term for pig-in-a-blanket. Another popular place for pigs is Lukas Bakery in downtown La Grange across from the courthouse.
>> Related article: Czech Please: We Gotcha Kolache!
From La Grange, you have two options for a last stop on your kolache odyssey. Twelve miles east of LaGrange on SH 71 is Hruska’s Bakery in the small community of Ellinger. This is arguably the most popular kolache stop between Austin and Houston with the usual lineup of pigs, fruit kolaches, seven cream cheese varieties, and even cottage cheese kolache. Or go to downtown Schulenburg, 16 miles south of La Grange on US 77 for the home of the Besetsny family’s original Kountry Bakery (other locations can be found in Weimar, Victoria, Hallettsville, and Eagle Lake). Choose from 16 varieties of kolaches sold individually and by the box.
East-West Alternate Kolache Trail
Trip Mileage: 168
You can’t name drop kolaches in Texas without involving the Houston area and US 90. For an alternative kolache route begin in the settlement of Danbury, a few miles northeast of Angleton, at the Two Czech Chicks Bakery. The owners, Jennifer Martin and Dawn Sykora, grew up in West but many of the recipes were passed down by the Czech grandmother of Sykora’s husband.
>> Related article: Best Getaway to Czech Out
From Angleton, take State Highway 288 South about 10 miles to Clute, where the Kolache Shop features a flavor of the month such as Italian Cream and Chocolate-Covered Cherry. Pick up State Highway 36 and head northwest for an hour to downtown Rosenberg, home of the Old Main Street Bakery. From Rosenburg, take US 90A and head west for 16 miles. Next stop is Vincek’s Smokehouse in East Bernard, a community that hosts the Kolache and Klobase Festival in June.
If you continue on 18 miles west on Alt 90 to Eagle Lake, you can stop at one of the Besetsny family’s Kountry Bakery locations. Then it’s 38 miles to Hallettsville where the annual Hallettsville Kolache Festival in late September is the town’s big civic bash. Hallettsville has another Besetsny family Kountry Bakery. At this point, if you haven’t fallen into a kolache food coma, head to Shiner, another 15 miles west on US 90A, where Bea’s Place convenience store preps serious pigs in a blanket.
Texas Spoken Friendly
I didn’t drive eleven hours across the state of Texas to watch my cholesterol.