As I try to support worthwhile local restaurants as much as I can, safely and daily, I’ve visited the Kolache Shoppe a few times, with the drive-thru at the Heights spot being especially handy. It’s been wonderful; I’ve had a couple of the best meals from there since the shuttering of the restaurants in March. The kolaches, both the traditional and savory, are the best of breed. The savory ones are technically called klobasniky in the plural in Czech, at least for the pigs-in-a-blanket versions, but seemingly only the uptight writers or editors at Texas Monthly really care about that. They are all kolaches in the common parlance here: the traditional Old World-derived fruit-or-cheese-filled pastries, those sausage-centric pigs-in-a-blanket, the nicely caloric breakfast ones often with Tex-Mex fillings along with the newer styles featuring beef brisket or boudin inside. All the versions at the Kolache Shoppe are excellent.
The quality begins with the dough, just slightly sweet, airy, fresh-tasting, and flavorful, unfailingly complementing whatever filling it surrounds. It’s the best kolache dough I’ve encountered in memory. And, those fillings are usually terrific, too. Breakfast sausage, egg, pickled jalapeño and cheddar cheese; Pinkerton’s brisket, egg, cheddar cheese and pickled jalapeño; Kiolbassa brand sausage link and cheddar cheese; and strawberry and lemon cream, both of these topped with a judicious amount of sugar, are a few of the ones I’ve really enjoyed in recent weeks.
I’ve eaten a lot of kolaches over the years, most of them not that great or worse – mostly courtesy of The Kolache Factory, which is cheap and convenient, a once guilty pleasure, often when hungover. There have been better ones than those around here, if not quite the Kolache Shoppe level like from Original Kolache Shoppe on Telephone Road, a long-shuttered place called Bright and Early, and ones from Underbelly and also Monica Pope at the Saturday farmers market. Kolache eating in earnest for me began with trips to and from Austin years ago when I was in school and afterwards. Weikel’s in La Grange became a near-must stop either way, and was long a benchmark for me. It’s been eons since I’ve been there or nearby Hruska’s in Ellinger. I’ll need to revisit those and probably a few others before stating definitively that the Kolache Shoppe serves the best kolaches in the state. I haven’t had any better thus far, and that includes all four places in West, Texas, the small Czech-American community north of Waco that is known for its kolaches, and Kenner’s Kolache Bakery upstate in Arlington that has a good reputation, the furthest from home I’ve had kolaches.
No matter where the Kolache Shoppe might eventually rank among the best kolache shops of the state in my research, it continues to make brilliant kolaches right here in Houston.
The Kolache Shoppe
3945 Richmond (just east of Weslayan), 77027, (713) 626-4580
1031 Heights Boulevard (entrance on Yale just south of 11th Street), 77008, (281) 846-6499