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A Tuesday Morning Breakfast at The Original Kolache Shoppe

A look inside the Czech bakery serving Houston's southeast side for nearly 60 years.


Welcome to Eater Scenes, a Classics Week series that captures the essence of a timeless Houston restaurant at one particular moment of the week.
Predating The Kolache Factory the local chain opened since 1982 and Richmond Avenue's Kolache Shoppe opened since 1970, is the lesser known and rarely covered The Original Kolache Shoppe. Located on Houston's southeast side between Hobby Airport and Gulfgate, this Czech bakery has serviced the Golfcrest neighborhood for nearly 60 years.

Lorraine Sharp opened the shop in 1956 on the corner of Telephone Road and Gillen Street. Using recipes passed down from generation to generation, Sharp introduced the neighborhood to the fruit-filled pastries of her Czech and German ancestry. Similar to danishes, traditional kolaches are light doughy pillows filled with various fruits and cheeses. Mistakenly referred to as kolaches are klobasneks, the meat-filled cousin that's equally as good. For years Sharp worked diligently in the bakery, making not only kolaches but cakes and pies from scratch with the help of her family, before her daughter took the reins. Nowadays it's Sharp's grandson Kevin Dowd that's running the family business.

Dowd and wife Kat are continuing in the longstanding tradition of offering quality kolaches and klobasneks to Houston's south side. The bakery makes everything in-house without any additives. The menu is simple with a small amount of the massive kolaches available every hour in the glass enclosed case. Apple, cheese and poppyseed are staples while kielbasa, ham and cheese klobasneks are house favorites. Although one expects to walk out with the Czech fruit-filled and meat-filled pastry, it's the croissants everyone's likely to order just as many of. Using a lighter pastry dough, Dowd fills the croissants that look more like calzones with sausage, jalapeño and roast beef. The result is the best tasting Czech meatpie you'll probably ever have.

Aside from pastries, Dowd implemented a coffee program after taking over the bakery four years ago. He roasts his own coffee, which is certified, fair trade and organic several times a week. And while the outside of the shop hasn't changed much over the years, Dowd has turned the inside into a funky and hip spot that still has touches of its near 60 history throughout. The walls and ceiling are decorated with burlap coffee bean bags, retro memorabilia reminiscent of the 50's are sprinkled throughout and pictures of the family's three generations adorn the wall. Overall the kitschy decor coupled with fresh brewed cups makes it possibly the best underground coffee shop in the quality coffee-deprived area that isn't a Starbucks. While many take their orders to go, bottle cap-shaped bar stools provide inside seating with a view of busy Telephone Road. The outdoor patio located out front is great option too.

Dowd has no plans to expand the family-owned bakery at 5404 Telephone Road anytime soon. Instead he wants to focus on providing the southeast neighborhood the high quality kolaches they've grown to love for years to come.




An Added Bonus:

The Original Kolache Shoppe was featured on the Cooking Channel's Roadtrip with G. Garvin. The chef kicked-off his series with a visit to Houston in 2012 where he made a stop at the bakery. Take a look at Dowd showing Garvin how to make kolaches.

The Original Kolache Shoppe

Telephone Rd, Houston, TX 77087 (713) 649-0711

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