About this project
UPDATE: We hit our target and will be launching soon! Want to find out when we launch? Be the first to know by signing up for our email list.
If you've spent much time in Texas, you probably know the culinary wonder that is the kolache: light, yeasty, slightly sweet dough, filled with all manner of delicious ingredients (think jalapeño sausage & cheese, or cream cheese & pecan, or poppyseed, or...)
If you haven't ever had one, well... just take a gander:
Suffice it to say, kolaches might just be the best breakfast food out there.
We — Texan culinary enthusiasts Brian Stanford and Chris Svetlik — both grew up in Houston, a place where, among sensible breakast eaters, kolaches tend to win out over donuts as the pastry of choice. We eventually found our way to DC and after a decade here without access to good Texas-style kolaches, we decided to change that and bring them to the District.
We've spent the past year baking scores of test batches in search of the perfect kolache. And we think we've found it — or pretty darn near close.
Now as we're preparing for our launch, we're humbly asking all our fellow kolache enthusiasts — as well as those who may just be excited to try their first one — to pitch in a little 'dough' as we invest in scaling up our operation to handle larger baking runs. In order to produce efficiently and make enough kolaches to feed the hungry masses on any given morning, there are a few pieces of equipment & machinery we need to purchase (more on this below). And we need your help to make that happen.
In case you're not yet sold, allow us to answer any lingering questions you may have. Here goes:
What's the big deal? Why do we need kolaches in DC?
There are many answers to this question, but a few good ones are:
- kolaches are just straight up delicious. We're pretty sure you'll fall in love with them like we did many years ago
- we've found the recent slew of pastry fads (we won't name any names) to be a little... stale. In our humble opinion, it's time that we put our focus on foods that represent cultural heritage worth sharing & preserving, rather than short-lived, money-driven food fads
- DC is the capital of our great republic, where each state's people and culture get their due representation. We're finally getting some good BBQ in this town, but I think we can all agree that the more Texan food here, the better
- if you'll allow us to wax poetic for a bit, the story of the kolache is basically the story of America. Brought over by hard-working Czech peasants, preserved through generations of home bakers passing down carefully-guarded family recipes, then later evolving with the addition of Latino, 'American', and even Cajun flavors as it spread across the state — now that's some beautiful cultural syncretism. An eagle somewhere just cried a single tear
Yeah sure, I'll donate. But what do I get?
We hope you'll back us just because you're super excited to have kolaches in DC. But we also get it; quid pro quo and what not. We're pleased to offer the following awesome DC- and Texas-themed merch to our generous backers:
Or to break it down another way:
We're really pleased at how the first run of these items came out. The shirts are crazy soft. The towels are both highly absorbent and dripping with DC pride. See for yourself!
What types of kolaches can we expect?
We're looking to both continue the old traditions of our kolache forebears, as well as reimagine the kolache in the context of DC and the greater mid-Atlantic. With that in mind, we're pleased to officially announce [drumroll] ... the half smoke kolache, our ode to DC cuisine:
Other flavors we'll be baking up include:
These are a few of our initial offerings, but we have some other exciting things in the works too, including:
- importing a proper 'country style' sausage from central Texas for use in our savory kolaches
- resuscitating some of the old-school flavors like farmer's cheese and sweet cabbage. These likely won't be for everyone, but we're certainly excited to try to recreate them
- brisket kolache anyone? Yeah, that one will definitely be coming soon
- and more! The sky's the limit
What are you going to use all this Kickstarter $$ for?
There are a few things we need. The biggest item on our list is called a divider-rounder. This is basically a machine that creates perfectly round little dough balls, which we'll eventually turn into kolaches. Making our sweet, sweet kolache dough is a three-day process, so using this machine to speed things up a bit will mean better, more perfect, and more cost-effective kolaches for all of you.
Additionally, we'll be investing in the typical startup costs like packaging & supplies for our retail operation, extra kitchen equipment as we scale up, and trying to recoup some of our (substantial) ingredients costs from the past year's worth of R&D.
So what are your plans?
We're actually really close to launching. With your help, we hope to be open for business within 6 weeks of this Kickstarter wrapping up.
We'll start by popping up at a few of our favorite restaurants & bars across town, likely each Saturday morning for the first few months. After that we'll be expanding to sell on additional days, locations, and events!
Have thoughts on where we should pop up? Let us know! (We're great house guests.)
So who is behind this 'Republic Kolache' that you speak of?
RK was founded by these two Texan gentlemen:
Chris Svetlik grew up baking kolaches in Houston and Shiner, TX with his Czech grandmother and father, who served as the keepers of the Svetlik family kolache recipe. Chris's background is in branding, photography & generally 'making things for the internet', but he's thrilled to now be spreading the gospel of kolache out on the East Coast.
Brian Stanford is is a fifth generation Texan. The Polish side of his family (Slavic neighbors to the Czechs) arrived in Grimes County, Texas in the 1870s. He grew up in Houston and remembers kolaches fondly from rural bakeries on family road trips. Brian is an attorney by trade and has the privilege of working for NASA here in Washington. When he’s not attending to space law matters, he’s devoting time to cultivating the best kolaches possible – but does so in his individual (not his official/professional) capacity.
If you’re at all interested in what we’re doing, we would love to make the introduction! Maybe have a beer and chew the fat on cultural foods, regional Texas cuisine, or anything else related to our little kolache venture? Please feel free to contact us.
Thanks and we'll see you out there soon!
Risks and challenges
We're confident that our honed baking process, our small but growing staff (PS: we're hiring!), and our initial discussions with popup venues will all combine in mighty force to result in a timely launch.
But we also know that in this business some things can move a little slower than expected. We pledge to keep you, our backers, updated on our operating status, as well as to do everything in our power to (finally) make our kolaches available to the public within 6 weeks of this Kickstarter wrapping.
As for producing and shipping out the Kickstarter rewards: since we're technically in the kolache business rather than the shirt-, mug-, and towel-printing business, there is some risk of delays in rewards delivery. That said, we're comfortable with a July 2015 delivery date, and we'll likewise keep you updated with rewards production status.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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