Austin

The 10 Best Kolache Shops in Austin

From donut shop stalwarts to cheffy originals.

Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts
Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts
Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts

Once a baked treat found only at Czech weddings and family gatherings, today the kolache is adored nationwide. And in Texas, it’s more than adored-it’s an icon. Texas is where it first took on a new lease of life. Texas is what put it on the map, y’all.

When thousands of immigrants moved to the Lone Star State from Czechoslovakia in the 1800s, they brought with them a peculiar round pastry. Not quite a donut and not quite consistent either (recipes varied by family and ingredients depended on the seasonal availability), most were made with a sweet yeast dough, hollowed at the center and filled with fruit and seeds. Texans naturally picked up on its fabulousness, and in recent years, the kolache has morphed into a veritable baked superstar. You’ll find them all over town in a variety of styles. They typically err on the sugary side, but variants containing meat (also known as a klobasnek) are equally as popular.

Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory, we’ve got your kolache fix covered. Here are Austin’s top 10 spots to enjoy the Czech treat.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Johnson's Bakery
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery

Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery

Airport Blvd
Mrs. Johnson’s has been a fixture for late night donuts since 1948, but it’s the kolaches that sell like… hot kolaches. There are four savory options, including the popular sausage with melted American cheese and fresh cut jalapeños. They only make a limited amount each evening, so get there early to secure yours.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out online.

Photo courtesy Kerlin BBQ
Photo courtesy Kerlin BBQ
Photo courtesy Kerlin BBQ

Kerlin BBQ

East Austin
Kerlin BBQ combines both BBQ and kolache to create a snack-time champion. Amelis and Bill Kerlin’s dough is made fresh onsite, stuffed with barbecued meat, and baked to perfection. Varieties include brisket and cheddar, available every Sunday, but if you order in advance they’ll make versions with smoked sausage, pickled jalapeño, pork, spinach, cheddar, feta, and more. Kolaches sell out fast, so getting your order in pronto is highly recommended.

How to book:
Stop by for first come, first served seating, email [email protected] for take-out, or order delivery via Doordash.

Capital City Bakery

East Austin
Vegans can enjoy a meaty, cheesy, kolache, too at Capital City Bakery, where everything is 100% plant-based. The breakfast kolaches taste as delicious as their animal counterpart, including a ‘sausage’ jalapeño ‘cheese’ option and a buffalo ‘chickn’ version. Opt to get it heated up or take it as is, along with mustard or hot sauce.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out online, or get delivery via Uber Eats.

Photo courtesy of Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
Photo courtesy of Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
Photo courtesy of Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches

Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches

MLK
Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches spoils you for choice with a wide range of both sweet and savory gems, all for less than $4. Our pick of the salty litter is the sausage, jalapeño, and cheese, and for sugary, it’s a tossup between PB&J and chocolate, pecan, and caramel. The family-operated bakery and taproom also serves hot coffee and locally brewed beer to help wash all those tasty carbs down.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Uber Eats.

Moonlight Bakery

South Lamar
This humble little bakery tucked away on South Lamar has long been a local favorite for bread, croissants, and muffins, but they also offer a small selection of delectable sweet and savory kolaches. Go for a fruity apple, apricot, and blueberry if you’re looking for something to accompany your coffee-otherwise the ham and swiss edition makes for a delicious lunch.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Postmates.

Photo courtesy of Yelp
Photo courtesy of Yelp
Photo courtesy of Yelp

SH Donuts

Pecan SpringsSpringdale
SH Donuts is less about the ‘Gram and all about the taste. The family-owned bakery makes their donuts, croissants, and kolaches fresh every day and hawks them all at absolute bargain prices (many kolaches are just $1.30). The sausage pig kolache is their stand out, made with buttery soft pastry and a juicy chunk of pork sausage, and the owners are the friendliest bunch around.
How to book: Stop by for counter service, call 512-926-6094 for take-out, or order delivery via Grubhub.

Photo courtesy of Austin Kolache & Koffee Shop
Photo courtesy of Austin Kolache & Koffee Shop
Photo courtesy of Austin Kolache & Koffee Shop

Austin Kolache & Koffee Shop

Burnet Road
This awesome neighborhood hangout has been serving authentic Czech baked goodies for over 40 years, using handed-down recipes and fresh local ingredients to send you straight to kolache heaven. We love the sweet and smooth cream cheese version as well as those injected with lemon, strawberry, or blueberry compote-all enjoyed with a hot cup of koffee, of course.
How to book: Stop by for counter service, call 512-551-3115 for take-out, or order delivery via Uber Eats.

Lone Star Kolaches

Multiple locations
Meet the daddy of Austin kolaches. Lone Star Kolaches beats the rest in terms of menu size, with a roster spanning fruit, egg, and sausage selection plus options you won’t find anywhere else like Philly cheesesteak and pizza roll. Can’t decide where to start? The gut-busting $60 Kolache Combo packs a little bit of everything into one gargantuan box.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, call 512-484-4986 for take-out, or order delivery via Doordash.

Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts
Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts
Photo courtesy of Round Rock Donuts

Round Rock Donuts

Round Rock
The donut factory may be most famous for its yellow donuts, but their kolaches definitely deserve some glory, too. Made from scratch with a sweet dough and finished off with a light brush of sugar-laden butter, varieties include blueberry, cherry, cream cheese, and strawberry. Large savory numbers showcase Austin’s own Smokey Demark sausages, while regular sized editions come stuffed with flavorful Eckrich sausages.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Doordash.

Suerte

East Austin
This Mexican standout’s brunch pastries are sensational, so if you love a fancy kolache, you’re in for a treat. Pastry chef Derrick Flynn’s recipe weaves together a rich blend of flavors with ingredients like longaniza (spiced pork sausage), whipped papas (potatoes), morita (chipotle pepper), and queso. And all are ideal companions for their signature Mimosa Para Todos cocktail.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.

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James Wong is a contributor for Thrillist.

Austin

Get Lucky at These Irish Bars in Austin

Drink a green pint on St Patrick's Day at these Irish bars in Austin.

Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

In the midst of all the SXSW chaos, it helps to remember that there’s a rainbow at the festival’s end-that is, the hangover-blessing we’ve been granted of having St. Patrick’s Day 2023 fall on a Friday. Whether you attribute this small win to the Gregorian calendar or the luck of the Irish, it’s sure to amp up the already liver-damaging activities associated with this cultural celebration. However, √Čire is more than just leprechauns and Colin Farrell-it’s a breathtaking land full of warm, welcoming, and good-hearted people. Fortunately, there’s a way you can get a taste of the Republic’s spirit, and a dark stout, at the same time by hitting up one of Austin’s various Irish pubs. From cozy, intimate spaces decked out like small taverns in Cobh, to modern dives with all the party energy of Temple Bar, our list has the best spots in the city to “erin go bragh” all out on March 17.

Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys

B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub at Mueller

Mueller
With a giant model of a beer tap literally decorating their front door, you can’t miss B.D Riley’s, nor doubt that this East Austin hang is a spot to down some serious brewskis. And its name, and perfect pours of Guinness, aren’t the only aspects they draw from the Emerald Isle-the entire pub itself was actually designed and built in Dundalk, Ireland, and shipped over for assembly in Bat City. Such authentic decor calls for equally authentic sounds, therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, B.D. Riley’s will feature an all-day, four-artist bill of live, trad-inspired music. So, while you may not start the day knowing all the words to “The Galway Girl,” you are bound to sing along by last call.

Kelly’s Irish Pub

Bouldin Creek
Having only opened this past December, Kelly’s is the new kid with a brogue on the block. Occupying the space which formerly housed tapas restaurant Winebelly, this pub had big shoes to fill for South Austin barflies, but quickly won them over with an impressive whiskey selection and friendly atmosphere. A big reason behind the real deal √Čire vibes can, most likely, be chalked up to the fact that one of Kelly’s owners was actually born and bred in Ireland-and the dedication to delivering a true-to-life experience is evident in everything from the shepherd’s pie to the witty bartenders. For St. Patrick’s Day, they are getting the party started early with live music and an opening time of 8 am.

Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger's
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s

Jack & Ginger’s

The Domain
While The Domain may boast more bars than you can shake a shamrock at, there’s only one spot in the North Austin entertainment behemoth that can be properly called an Irish pub: Jack & Ginger’s. Start off the night with selecting a tasting flight from their over 82 beers on tap, then, move onto shots poured straight from their Irish Whiskey Tours-after loosening up with a round or two, you might just find yourself with the gift of gab. And, before snapping a selfie over Jack & Ginger’s see-through glass floor, balance out that buzz with food offerings like a giant soft pretzel or a round of fried pickles.

Photo courtesy of Foxy's Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub

Foxy’s Proper Pub

Downtown
Here’s a spot that visibly radiates with Irish pride-at Foxy’s, the glow of green beams out from the bar’s lighted panels, and across their chandelier made of Jameson bottles. When it comes to cups and chow, their commitment to the theme continues-the use of the word,”proper,” in the pub’s name alone indicates you’re in for a heavy pour of the standards. Consequently, the taps are abundant with essential Irish sips, including Guinness, Magners, and Smithwick’s. With Lone Star on draft, there’s also a nod to Texas tradition as well. But don’t fear if you’re bored of beer-Foxy’s variety of whiskey-based cocktails will let you switch it up (and still keep it Celtic). March 17 will find them celebrating with live music, whiskey tastings, and swag giveaways.

Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery

Round Rock
Compared to a flight to Dublin, the 30-minute drive to Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is much more convenient-not to mention, won’t require waiting in a TSA line. A mix between a modern Austin beer garden and a historical Irish pub, this spot’s spacious interior and expansive outdoor patio guarantees there will be enough room for the whole crew to cheer “sl√°inte.” And, their microbrewery’s signature beers are the ideal drinks to do such a toast with. The menu of specially crafted drafts includes a blueberry wheat, an Irish red ale, and a vanilla stout. This St. Patrick’s Day also marks Cork & Barrel’s two-year anniversary, and they are throwing down for the double-celebration with live music, yard games, Irish food specials, and plentiful amounts of green beer and Irish Car Bombs.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

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