For the first time ever, Houston is celebrating National Kolache Day! Mayor Sylvester Turner signed a proclamation declaring March 1 a holiday in honor of the pastries that made the trip from Eastern Europe to Texas, beginning in the 1850s.
On a regular morning at Christy's Donuts in Midtown, there's usually a line of customers asking for ... not donuts.
"Can I get a sausage and cheese kolache?" one woman asks as staff shuttle from tray to tray, filling small white bags with the goodies.
The baked goods at Christy's are what most Texans call kolaches, but they're not the recipe that came to Texas with Czech immigrants. The goodies you'll find at Olde Towne Kolaches on Westheimer are more traditional.
"People don't know about those as much here in Houston," says Lisa Knappick, who's owned the bakery for the past 15 years.
The kolaches made in this hole-in-the-wall eatery are filled with sweets like apricot, blueberry and poppyseeds.
"That is a traditional Czech kolache," Lisa says.
Her husband Craig adds, "The one filled with meat is a koblasnek."
Wait, a what? It turns out, koblasneks are a purely Texas creation. Authentic kolaches don't have meat in them; that's something Texans added.
At Olde Towne, though, you can pretty much call it whatever you want.
"We make 'em fresh every morning. Our bakers are here at 3 a.m. We make everything from scratch every day," says Lisa, adding that you can watch the bakers at work from counter.
So which should you celebrate with on National Kolache Day - a kolache or a koblasnek? Lisa says it really doesn't matter. What does is that places like Olde Towne and Christy's are finally being recognized.
"That's a good thing," she laughs.
Olde Towne Kolaches is offering a free fruit kolache on March 1 to celebrate the first-ever National Kolache Day. Koala Kolache, the business that got Mayor Turner to sign that proclamation, is also offering some specials.