There are few things more shameful than knowing less than a Texan.
About two years ago, a Texan coworker came into work with the ubiquitous white cardboard box that every donut and bagel shop uses and gleefully announced, “KOLACHE TIME!” I didn’t know what that meant, but like a dog who sees his bowl, I ran for it. I tore the box top open, and inside I saw what appeared to be baseball-sized Hawaiian rolls.
Under normal circumstances, I’d have asked what I was about to eat, but office snacks go fast and there’s no time for questions. I tore into it to find it loaded with scrambled eggs and bacon. Quite peculiar, but also delicious.
I had to quickly Google all the details about kolache so the two Texans in my area couldn’t outsmart me. I already got made fun of for being the ‘food nerd’. Summarizing Wikipedia: a kolach is a Czech pastry made with a semisweet dough that is either filled or flattened and topped. Minnesota and Texas are both big kolache states.
Kolache Factory, a Houston chain, was far enough from my house that I never went on my own—I just relied on my coworker to bring them to me. But then the locally owned St. Louis Kolache opened right around Olive and Lindbergh, closer to where I worked and lived. Dangerous.
I’ve visited both multiple times at all different times of the day. To be honest, I don’t see a huge difference in quality or taste between the two—I’m not sure that I could tell them apart in a blind taste test. St. Louis Kolache does seem to have more options, though, with something like 37 flavors offered daily.
About half of them are breakfast-focused, which makes sense, with the store opening at 6am and closing at 2pm. Sweet options include cherry with toasted almond, apricot, and blueberry, while the savory side has about a million different egg variations. The sausage, egg, and cheese is my go-to, though I hear the sausage and gravy is just delightful.
Lunch options include riffs on most of your classic sandwiches, like Philly cheesesteak, bacon cheeseburger, and pulled pork. Vegetarian options are available, too. The STL Kolache crew are constantly working on new specials and menu additions—their “gooey butter of the month” has been solid every time I’ve had it (though how could gooey butter inside what is essentially Hawaiian bread be bad?) and I will admit to devouring a s’mores or two.
The one thing to note about kolache, no matter the location, is that the dough is quick to dry out. They don’t have a long shelf life. If you’re eating in, make sure to ask them to heat it up, and if you’re eating them back home, a quick trip to the microwave is imperative.
A healthy breakfast option these are not, but they do provide a break from the monotony of bagels and donuts (which aren’t exactly pillars of health, anyway). If you haven’t gotten your hands on one of these yet, send your new intern out to pick up a dozen. Or, if you are the new intern, bring in a box to earn brownie points with the big boss. Don’t eat too many though, or you’ll find yourself napping at your desk. I’ve been there.
St. Louis Kolache
1300 North Lindbergh Rd
St. Louis, MO 63132