Kolache Mama Looks to Bring Czech Pastries to the Masses

What is it about Midtown that attracts new fast food chains trying to yuppify some strange ethnic classic?  I suppose if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere right?  Empanada Joe’s tried to do it with the empanada (gone), Sugo e Basilico with the piadina (gone), F&B Gudtfood with the European street food (Midtown location gone), Kushi Q with the yakitori (still plugging along), and of course Danku with the Dutch kroket (also still open). Plus there’s that place Piada opening in the Citicorp building (which could be Sugo reinvented.)  But even with that long, strange list this one might take the cake (no pun intended.)

Kolache Mama is the latest chain to hit Midtown with the desire to introduce New York City to the kolache, an Eastern European pastry stuffed with sweet and savory fillings that apparently are very popular in states with large Czech populations- like Texas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma (who knew?!?)  Their website describes them as “a light, flavorful fresh-baked dough filled with different ingredients like fruit, meat, cheese, veggies, etc.”

What, praytell, do these things look like?

Admittedly I’ve never tried a kolache, and I’m sure in their original form they are delicious.  But I’m always weary when something like this gets chainified- especially by a company whose website calls their product “fast food for foodies” with “4 star aspirations”.  You’re joking right?

So what exactly will Kolache Mama’s Czech pastry look like? Well based on the photos on their homepage (a new one shows up every time you reload), it could be any number of things:

Hmmm… so a kolache can be a roll/bagel topped with spinach and cheese or veggies, a jelly topped doughnut looking thing, or cheese filled pigs in a blanket!?! (Filled with love indeed!)  I do love me some pigs in a blanket, so I’m in. Who knows, maybe it will be good? I’m going to hold out hope. (Sorry, it’s in my nature.)

The first location is slated to open in late September in the Roosevelt Hotel (on 45th and Vanderbilt), and a second location shortly after on Madison and 34th.

Any lunchers out there familiar with the real deal kolache? How excited should we be on a scale of 1 to 10?


  • I tried my first kolaches back in April when I went to visit my sister in Austin. I had no idea what they were either. They sell them in most coffee/donut places as another pastry option. Traditionally it is a bun with a small hot dog baked into it. The place we went also had jalepeno versions which were nice and spicy. A good alternative for those of us who like savory pastries. I think Cafe Zaiya sells something similar.

    I bet a chain version won’t be as good and a lot more expensive(I think in Texas they were around $1 each), but that is usually the case.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolache

    According to wiki:

    Klobasnek: Czech pastry popular in central and southeast Texas

    A related dish is a klobasnek, which often uses similar bread but is filled with a piece of sausage. These are sometimes mistakenly referred to as kolaches. They may also contain ham and cheese, sausage, jalapeño slices, and more resemble a “pig in a blanket” than the original pastry.

  • The Kolache is the best food you’re going to get driving 35 from Austin to Dallas outside a Whataburger. Sometimes they are like pigs in a blanket, sometimes more bun form. My favs are jalapeno sausage and chorizo and egg. Not exactly Czech comfort food, but tasty.

  • You can see one version of a Czech koláče (co-Lah-cheh) on my post covering the Czech Independence Day Street Festival:


    The Slovak pastry of my childhood (invariably pronounced Co-lahtch) was shaped like a log; when crosscut, it would reveal a spiral of nuts, perhaps bound with apricot or prune, or poppyseeds.

  • so it’s a pastry with toppings…

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    Anyone else think these look like chinatown pastries with random stuff on top of them? I’m pretty sure chinatown also has something similar to the pigs in a blanket like the bottom picture. I’m sure these will be 10x more expensive than chinatown though.

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    madison and 34th?! i can walk to that one! ill give it a shot when it opens

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    Pricing is on the website:
    All kolaches $2.99 each or 2 for $5
    $30 for a dozen
    24 varieties total, 8 of them are the sweet type.


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    Oh, finally! I have been living here for about 10 years now and have been sure that this was the only culinary void left in this city. I even called the Czech Embassy awhile back to see if they knew something I didn’t. They didn’t. I have been waiting for this restaurant to open for over a year now. I have no idea what those first photos are, I have never seen a kolache like that. I am only familiar with last photo, pig in a blanket style, oozing with ham and cheese. In Texas they are about a dollar and after a hard night of boozing, you can easily tear through a dozen before starting at it again.

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    Kolaches are delicious. I’ve never seen them topped with veggies and whatnot, but I grew up on them in Houston. We would go through a couple dozen from the Kolache Factory on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Can’t wait for them to get here to Midtown. Yum.

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    I’m from the I-35 area of Texas, and I love kolaches. These do not look authentic at all–very chainified. However, I’ll still be there as soon as they open just to see if they have some of my favorite fruit flavors such as peach, cherry, and prune, each of which has a little sprinkling of cheese on top.

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    I grew up in Texas and crave kolaches allllll the time — they are very very soft, yeasty, eggy rolls, a little shiny on top, and slightly sweet. You can either get them filled with fruit jam and served open-faced, or wrap the kolache dough aroudn a sausage with cheese and jalapeno. The texture is to die for, seriously — but the kolaches in these pictures don’t look nearly pillowy enough.

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    The kolaches in these pictures do not look good at all. The ones in Texas are way better and about 1/4 the price. Fail.

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    like many of the previous comments, i grew up in houston eating kolaches. it’s definitely one of the things i miss when i moved out of texas. every time i’m back home in houston, i try to get at least one kolache. growing up, my high school cafeteria even had kolaches on the menu. i’m looking forward to checking this place out.

  • I had the good fortune of sitting in a blind taste test for Kolache Mama in Houston a few weeks back and enjoyed them immensely.My only question is why they’re opening up in Manhattan instead of Houston?!! Life is very unfair.

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