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Kolache Republic Celebrates 5 Years in the Brewery District

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Kolache Republic Celebrates 5 Years in the Brewery DistrictPhoto by Lauren Sega.
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It started with a craving, the kind of random craving that materializes after a few happy hour drinks. A craving for kolache.

That’s how Rick Jardiolin, Doug Sauer, and Dusty Kotchou happened upon the idea to open Kolache Republic, the Brewery District café whose Thanksgiving kolaches have their own cult following. The local business is celebrating five years as a brick and mortar this month, a milestone they’re celebrating on Thursday, July 26.

“We’re all friends, we all live in German Village. We were talking over beers, saying, ‘Hey, let’s get a kolache,’” Jardiolin recalls, “but we couldn’t find it. So we were just talking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we opened a restaurant that served kolache?’”

The restaurant didn’t open immediately. First they had to determine which style of kolache they’d make. The Hungarian, the Czech, the Polish — they all have their own version, one’s dough markedly different than the next. Czech kolache, where they eventually landed, feels more like bread, whereas the Hungarian and Polish varieties possess a nuttier base, making them flakier like pastries.

After soliciting help with perfecting the dough from Jardiolin’s sister-in-law, who owns her own Czech kolache shop in Texas, Kolache Republic’s goodies were consumer-ready. In 2011 they opened a food cart and began popping up at local farmers markets. By 2013, the business was ready for a permanent set-up, and they opened up at their current address, 730 S. High St.

Sweet, savory, traditional, and original flavors make up the Kolache Republic menu. They’re seasonal too, forcing guests to not become too attached or play favorites.

“Each season, we try to bring in something new, try to tell a story,” Jardiolin says, “so this summer we drew inspiration from when we were growing up and what we had in our summer backyard parties.”

Apple pie, strawberry pie, chocolate malt, lemon-lime soda, orange dreamsicle, and peach cobbler — all have made it onto the soft foundation of the cafe’s kolaches. They sit alongside other regular items and daily specials. A glance at their online menu can be a tad unreliable, as their offerings tend to change day to day.

As new businesses have filtered into the neighborhood, like Daily Growler, Smoked on High, and Local Cantina; and with other new businesses on their way, such as Ambrose & Eve and Seventh Son, it’s not only made Kolache Republic’s block a destination, but also allowed the shop to collaborate on new menu items. This year they collaborated with Smoked on High to offer a barbecue variety of kolache.

One constant guests can count on? The annual appearance of their prized Thanksgiving kolache.

“It’s a meal in a bun,” Jardiolin laughs. “It’s got roasted turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, all stuffed inside the dough. We sell out every year. Last year we tripled the number we made and sold out anyway.”

As their fifth year comes to an end, Jardiolin says the menu will be updated with more lunch offerings, including sandwiches.

They’re doubling down on community involvement, as well, with the launch of a new initiative to combat child hunger. Partnering with the Children’s Hunger Alliance, Kolache Republic will donate 20 percent of their sales to the organization every Tuesday for the entire month of August. After that, an ongoing initiative will take over, wherein 10 percent of sales from online ordering will be dedicated to the Children’s Hunger Alliance.

“As we started to think about the next five years for Kolache Republic, we saw an opportunity to become more involved with the community,” Jardiolin says. “After attending a Children’s Hunger Alliance event and hearing about the statistics of more than one out of five children are food insecure, we thought this would be a great partnership to help end childhood hunger in Ohio.”

Kolache Republic fans can learn more about these new initiatives at the business’ five year anniversary party. It’s taking place on Thursday, July 26 from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit kolacherepublic.com.

From left to right: Kolache Republic co-owners Dusty Kotchou and Rick Jardiolin.

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