You can't recreate the West, Texas experience in Austin, but Kolache Creations comes close. The sweet aroma of butter and cinnamon hits you in the face upon entering this old-school kolache shop. The cloud-like sweet pastries are sprinkled with a delicately crunchy streusel topping, and the sausage and jalapeño kolaches contain a large link of real sausage instead of the dreaded hot dog. Get here early to score a traditional poppy seed kolache—sometimes they sell out by 10:00am.
Don't be confused by the kolaches at this food truck that appears at Austin's Downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. Even the savory varieties are danish-shaped. The Zubik House serves Czech-inspired food and stands out with their rotating menu of creative kolaches. Fillings like smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers or apple, brie, and bacon seemed gimmicky, but I was converted after one bite.
Lone Star Kolaches
This chain shop now has five locations in Austin. It's reliable for its huge selection of kolaches but shines in the savory department—a large link of kielbasa is hidden inside the dense and chewy breading of the Polish sausage kolache. It's also one of the few places in town to pick up a traditional poppy seed kolache.
The best kolaches of the doughnut shop genre (essentially a pig in a blanket) can be found at Central Donut. They're nothing special, but worth a try because they're a way of life in Austin. These buttery kolaches are reminiscent of a croissant, the sweet dough contrasting with the salty filling of cocktail weeinie, jalapeno, and orange cheddar cheese.
Central Donut: 1910 West Braker Lane, Suite 700, Austin TX 78758 (map); 512-833-6993
A combination bake shop and beer garden with housemade sausages sounds like a recipe for kolache success. Easy Tiger makes some of the best pastries in Austin, so it’s not surprising that their kolache dough is tender and flaky. As a fan of both their beef garlic sausage and beer cheese, I was thrilled to try the combination in kolache form. But the soft beer cheese seemed to leak out of the pastry during the baking process, and the lean sausage dried out in the heat of the oven. The veggie kolache, with its filling of goat cheese, bright pepperonata, and vegetarian sausage, was a much better choice.
This South Austin bakery excels at making sweet kolaches like apple, apricot, or blueberry. Smaller than the palm of your hand, they make it possible for you to try a few different flavors without feeling guilty. Fill up on these instead of the sausage and jalapeno kolache that was a bit on the dry side.
South Austinites can also swing by this doughnut shop for their kolache fix, but don't expect excellent quality. The lemon kolache was a characterless pastry encasing a pool of jelly doughnut filling. Their savory kolaches are spicy and substantial, using sausage that is at least a step above a hot dog.
Howdy Donut: 343 South Congress Avenue, Suite B, Austin TX 78704 (map); 512-912-7557