By Chelsea Kern
When siblings Cory, Ross and Devin Hruska moved to Provo to attend BYU, they couldn’t find any bakeries selling the eastern European pastry known as kolache. In the trio’s hometown of Houston, kolaches played an important role in both the culture and the everyday breakfast menu. After contemplating a life without kolaches for the next four years, the siblings went to work on revamping Grandma Hruska’s secret kolache recipe and transforming it into an Americanized version, with the dough being buttery, soft and airy. The Hruska siblings now own three Hruska’s Kolaches shops that can be found in Provo, American Fork and Salt Lake City, making them the first to bring the pastry to the area.
Utah Valley Magazine: What is a kolache?
Cory: Traditionally, they are a sweet Czechoslovakian pastry with a buttery, yeasty bread. In Czech, they’re often topped with different sweet fillings, or they’ll even put different vegetables on it. Kolaches in Houston are very popular because there’s such a big Czech population. I am also half Czech, so we grew up eating them our entire life.
UV: Foods go in and out of style. Is this a fad or do you see kolaches as a long-term item in Provo?
Cory: There’s a big hole in the food market for breakfast foods, and a kolache is a quick, delicious breakfast. It has that made-to-order bakery feel, and is fresh!
Devin: Food is always going to be there. We just stay true to ourselves and to our product, and we want to keep everything homemade. They may not be as pretty as cupcakes or cookies can be online, but we just want everyone to know they are getting what they are paying for — and that’s a delicious meal.
UV: What makes your shop unique?
Cory: We never take for granted the fact that our customers know what’s good, and we strive day in and day out to make our product fresh. We bake our bread every day, we crack our own eggs; 99 percent of what we do is made in our little store, and that’s not a joke! Occasionally, we have to crack open a can or jar, but it’s out of sheer necessity, not convenience. I think that makes us different.
UV: How did you get on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri?
Cory: I always watched the show when it was on Food Network, and we always used to talk about it. We did some research, and it turns out it was based on a customer referral program and the producers’ personal research. Beyond that, to get on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” you basically just have to make sure your food is delicious and entirely homemade.
UV: Tell us about your events.
Devin: I love parties, and we try to do them as much as we can. We have a birthday party for ourselves every April (Hruska’s Kolaches was founded April 2014). We also host Hruska’s Hogwarts in October. My favorite is the Kolache Fest, which is our biggest event every year. We make miniature versions of everything we sell, and it creates an opportunity for our customers to expand their horizons! If you are willing to wait in the line, it is $5 for an all-you-can-eat buffet where you can enjoy every single flavor.