Just a few steps from the Prašná Brána in the heart of Prague’s Old Town on a street traditionally filled with bakeries is Kolacherie, a new bakery offering classic kolache with a modern twist.
The owner, Oscar, never expected to open a bakery in Prague. But following pandemic-induced rent reductions on prime real estate in the center of the city—as well as an increasing movement towards centering authentically-Czech, aesthetically-conscious businesses in the historic district, Oscar saw an opportunity.
The bakery and café—small, but cozy with a muted green interior that seamlessly blends into the centuries-old building—draws in tourists and locals alike. More importantly, it draws them back over and over again, relishing the pastries that are handmade every morning from high-quality ingredients and slow-risen dough.
The kolache on offer is, broadly speaking, nothing new: it’s classic and employs the traditional recipe and methods that have been practiced by Czech grandmothers for generations. What is new is the savory kolache that Oscar has debuted after a trip to the United States. The smaller, square kolache sport ham and cheese, apple-brie, or a spicier jalapeño pastry. While savory kolache are seldom found in Prague these days, the concept has a long history in Czechia, dating back to the 1800s.
Savory kolache crossed the Atlantic with Czechs migrating to the New World, only to be rediscovered recently. Oscar feels as though he’s completing a cycle of sorts, bringing back this Czech tradition to Prague from an overseas enclave of traditional Czech culture in Dallas, Texas.
This underscores Kolacherie’s philosophy: one that fuses the old and the new, and seeks to bring Czech culture—a culture simultaneously nostalgic and forward-facing—to the forefront of Prague’s downtown.
This broader movement has been spearheaded by Elegantní Česko, a project that Oscar has been involved in which hopes to maintain and revive an appreciation for the culture of the First Czechoslovak Republic, which is considered by some to be Czechia’s golden era between the World Wars.
None of this would be possible, however, without landlords—alongside assistance from the public sector—willing to take risks on establishments that represent Czechia for what it could be, and what it once was. Prague’s historic center cannot be made classier without landlords with aesthetic concerns that transcend basic greed.
Kolacherie isn’t flashy: it lacks any garish, bright signage, and instead relies on word of mouth and high-quality products to bring customers in and keep them returning.
For Oscar, it’s never been about the money. The emotional gratification is what motivates him—and with kolache, a food that stirs up intense nostalgia among Czechs and members of the Czech diaspora, the emotional value of kolache is clear.
Sitting on a windowsill in the storefront—Oscar has been battling a bureaucracy that doesn’t allow for tables in the small space, but the improvised seating arrangements give the place an undeniable charm—he recalled one customer that broke down in tears after a bite of a poppy seed kolache.
Looking towards the future, Kolacherie plans to open a second, larger location close to I.P.Pavlova.
Vegan options will also soon be available, as well catering services and Wolt access as the tourist season winds down and attention is turned to a more local, professional customer base.
If you’re looking for delicious kolache and good coffee at hard-to-beat prices, skip the supermarkets and hit up Kolacherie.