Brewery District bakery gives deference to Czech treat
A Czech treat that's been pretty difficult to find in Columbus is the specialty of a new store in the Brewery District.
Kolache Republic Cafe & Bakery has taken over 800 square feet of space at 730 S. High St.
The idea was born long ago in Rick Jardiolin's hometown of Katy, Texas.
His sister-in-law, Johanna, is of Czechoslovakian descent and her family had owned a kolache store. In addition, there was no shortage of kolaches in the Lone Star state.
"They're sold in doughnut shops," Jardiolin said. "There are kolache shops. They're everywhere, I'd say."
When Jardiolin moved to Columbus, he longed for the pastry.
He commiserated with Dusty Kotchou and Doug Sauer, all of whom live in the German Village area and would meet up at the Beck Tavern, where Sauer was a bartender.
"Work had taken all of us to Texas," Kotchou said.
"We had all experienced kolache out of Texas," he said. "And essentially we were talking about how we like them and couldn't get them up here."
So, two years ago, they began creating their own version based on Johanna's family's recipes.
"They didn't give us everything, so we had to do a lot of work on our own," Sauer said.
Sauer got a home-baker's license, then the trio also rented professional kitchen space and began producing the delicacy for local farmers' markets and special events.
They even bought a food cart, but it wasn't a suitable transporter of the treat.
Even so, they were struck by the number of people who were fond of the treat.
"Honestly, the reception has been overwhelming," Kotchou said. "If we didn't think we could make a go of this, we wouldn't have invested the time or the money."
They decided a permanent spot was needed to adequately produce and promote the kolache, with its welcoming aroma and attractive assortment of colors.
All three of the owners wanted a place that had a strong neighborhood appeal and lots of traffic -- both pedestrian and cars -- passing by.
"We're all partial to staying here," Jardiolin said.
The soft-dough pastries ($2 each) -- similar in appearance to an open-faced Danish -- are filled with fresh fruit preserves, cheese, nuts, poppy seeds or some combination of those ingredients.
The store will offer eight to 10 flavors, which will rotate daily.
A savory version called a klobasnek ($5 each) comes with a variety of ingredients: sausage, cheese, jalapenos or vegetables. The most popular contains potato, onion and leeks. All are served with a chili pepper relish.
Price discounts are available on orders of a half dozen and dozen.
Kolache Republic will not have alcohol, but will offer a variety of beverages: coffee drinks, tea, pop and juice.
The place is open for breakfast through lunch hours Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday. There is seating for 12. For more information, call 614-928-3151.
Rosa & Rocco's Italian Kitchen and Steakhouse is now open in New Albany.
The 4,500-square-foot restaurant has taken over the former Mia Cucina space at 5525 New Albany Road W. It seats 120, plus 35 on the patio.
The place is known for its certified Black Angus steaks, classic pasta dishes, seafood dishes, flatbread pizzas and specialty entrees. Most dishes are in the $9 to $25 range.
The New Albany store is the second location in central Ohio. The original Rosa & Rocco's opened in 2012 in Marion, Ohio.
Rosa & Rocco's is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-741-7151.