Riding The Kolache Trails- Route #1 WESTWARD HO

February 26, 2016
The Czech Stop’s Little Czech Bakery is probably the most well known in West.

Story & Photos By Tom Wiley

Texas is one of the great melting pots of this nation. Waves of Czechs arrived between 1850 and the onset of World War I, bringing their language, social organizations, and food. Kolaches are soft, sweet pastries with a shallow divot in the center, usually filled with fruit or sweetened cheese. Variations include the use of crumb toppings, spices and seeds, and various sausages.

For your gastronomic pleasure, I’m submitting three rides that run through the “Czech Belt” of our state, passing through numerous towns proud of their European heritage, and stopping at hometown bakeries where kolaches are a tradition, not a trend. Bring your appetite!

ROUTE #1 WESTWARD HO!

It’s hard to pass by West, Texas, and not stop for kolaches. Rich blackland prairies here drew Czech immigrants. With a tradition of raising large families, Czechs became the dominant culture in West by 1920. When Interstate 35 was completed, West began promoting this heritage. Travelers happily exit the interstate to visit bakeries and restaurants, as well as attend Westfest Czech and Polka Festival, held each year on Labor Day.

Most visitors are familiar with the Czech Stop. It is a mega-convenience store with Texana and Czech kitsch galore. The kolaches are excellent, but we also want to “czech out” their competition. The Village Bakery claims to be the first all-Czech bakery in Texas. Gerik’s Ole Czech Bakery is combined with its famous smokehouse. The West Baking Company is also located inside a convenience store, but don’t let that dissuade you. Slovacek Sausage Company began operations in Snook, Texas, but recently opened a store in West. In addition to the bakery, we can enjoy a sit-down lunch at the Kissing Pig Café.

Narrow roads define the boundaries of farmlands in Hill, Limestone, and Falls Counties. Many Texans are not aware of the extent to which the discovery of mineral waters has affected this state. Workers digging a city well in Marlin in 1891 found a gusher of hot water with an overpowering smell of sulfur. Clinics, bathhouses, and sanatoriums were quickly constructed. Conrad Hilton opened the 110-room Falls Hotel in 1929. Marlin’s economy revolved around the health industry for 50 years. Little remains from Marlin’s golden era, but it’s still fun to ride through such towns and imagine better times hidden in the walls of historic buildings.

Germans named the settlement of Westphalia after their homeland. The Church of the Visitation in Westphalia was completed in 1895, with stained-glass windows and the main altar shipped from Germany. Pews were planed and joined by hand. Services are enriched by a 1914 pipe organ. Visitors are invited to the church homecoming and picnic each October.

Our ride concludes at Zabcikville, about 10 miles east of Temple. This would be just another wide spot on the road if it were not for Green’s Sausage House. The café here has been serving excellent comfort food since 1946—if you can get past the display cases of kolaches and other pastries!

A short list of some unbeatable kolache stops and events:

WEST

CZECH INN
I-35, Exit 355
254-826-0900

CZECH STOP & LITTLE CZECH BAKERY
105 N. College St. (I-35, Exit 353)
254-826-5316, 254-826-4161
czechstop.net

GERIK’S OLE CZECH SMOKEHOUSE & BAKERY
511 W. Oak St.
254-826-3327

SLOVACEK SAUSAGE COMPANY
214 Melodie Dr. (I-35, Exit 353)
254-826-4525
slovacekwesttexas.com

VILLAGE BAKERY
113 E. Oak St.
254-826-5151

WEST BAKING COMPANY (Cefco Gas Station)
215 S. George Kacir Dr.
254-826-4610

WESTFEST
Main St.
254-826-5058
westfest.com
Labor Day weekend

KolacheTrail-1_final

Events

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Realities Ride, the World’s Largest Poker Run

May 25 - May 26

  Realities Ride, the world’s largest poker run and fundraising vehicle for Realities For Children charity, will host it’s annual rally and ride for the kids on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25th and 26th, 2019. Advance tickets are now on sale. Celebrating those who’ve served in our armed forces and helping Northern Colorado children in need, Realities Ride has been bringing people together on Memorial Day weekend for the past 18 years. This year’s event kicks off Saturday,…
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2019 Basics for the Best

May 25 @ 7:45 am - 10:45 am

2019 BASICS FOR THE BEST This is to honor those that served and can no longer get out and about. To let them know they are not forgotten. It cost nothing but your time for the ride. But we are taking donations either with money or with items the vets are in need of. Tshirts-colored with pockets, slippers military themed hats and t-shirts, blankets and throws. There will be a collection point and the items…
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Yamaha Off-Road Motorcycle Demos

May 25 @ 8:00 am - May 26 @ 5:00 pm

Yamaha has teamed up with 6-time AMA National Champion Jason Raines and his first-class Raines Riding University to bring you FREE motocross and off-road motorcycle demos for all ages and skill levels! Join us May 25th – 26th at Village Creek Motocross Park! A special course will be laid out specifically for the program and riders will be able to demo several different 2019 models like the TT-R 50E, TT-R 110E, TT-R 125LE, YZ65, YZ85,…
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$3

Fredericksburg Vintage Motorcycle Show

May 25 @ 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

DATE CHANGED 3rd Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet Free admission to the public with a donation of 3 cans of food or cash donation for the local food bank. Thanks for your support. Ride out. We have Motorcycle Only parking in the lot. 12-9:00pm Bike show, Swap meet, Vintage ride, Live music, food and drink. Open class Vintage Bike Show $20 entry fee per bike. For more info call: 830-990-4433. Registration will be…
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$20.00 – $25.00

16th Annual Big Bike Run for the Little Tryke Fund

June 1 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

GRAPEVINE HERITAGE AMBUCS CHARITY POKER RUN INSPIRING MOBILITY AND INDEPENDENCE Registration: $25.00 per rider/ $20.00 per passenger per poker hand ($20.00 for additional poker hand). 1st Stop/Registration (2 cards) 9:00am-11:00am at Willhoite’s in Grapevine, TX. (Bikes out by 11:00am) 2nd Stop (1 card) at Roanoke ChopShop Live in Roanoke, TX. Final Stop and HUGE PARTY (2 cards) 12PM – 4PM at American Eagle Harley-Davidson in Corinth, TX. Party featuring live music by Lone Star 92.5‘s…
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