|Gary Goyer's all about kolaches|
In a different time and place, a bakery in downtown Kansas City, Kansas -- which once had a large Eastern European community -- might have been the logical place to find a kolache in the metro. Today, that requires a trip into the suburbs.
A kolache is a yeast bun traditionally baked with a sweet filling like poppy seed, jam or fruit. The pastry, which is part of both the Polish and Czech culinary traditions, is known as kolache (pronounced ko-lah-chee) and kolacky (pronounced ko-lah-kee) or kolach, according to Gary Goyer, who has operated a franchise of the Houston-based Kolache Factory for the last four years at 7112 West 135th Street in Overland Park.
At first glance, the inside of Goyer's shop looks like an all-American doughnut shop, with back-lit shelves and trays of sweet and savory buns. And yes, Goyer's shop sells thickly iced cinnamon rolls like a doughnut shop. But that's where the similarity ends.
The 28-year-old Kolache Factory chain -- which has 16 company-owned stores and eight franchise locations (including the Overland Park venue owned by Goyer and his wife, Sheila) -- was created as an alternative to fast-food breakfast and lunch concepts. The founders of the Kolache Factory concept, John and Jerri Banks, figured customers would appreciate the sensibility of an old-fashioned bakery instead of snapping up an Egg McMuffin or a sausage biscuit from a drive-through window.
And the Kolache Factory happily mixes up culinary styles: This month's "Kolache of the Month" is a Chinese-influenced pastry roll filled with "chicken, Asian vegetables and stir-fry sauce" and dusted with sesame seeds. It might be a shock to fans of the traditional Polish and Czech pastry, but in Overland Park, it's already a hit.