Husband and wife Mike Watkins and Jaci Katz have both been in marketing, but they always planned to do something more as well.
“We’ve always wanted to bring a business into Wichita, but we wanted it to be something unique,” Katz says.
They found it on a trip to Kansas City when they tried a kolache (pronounced kuh-lah-chee) restaurant, and inspiration struck Watkins. In part, it was because of how much demand he saw for the meat pastries.
“We walked in, and there was a big line,” Watkins says.
“Oh, my gosh,” he told his wife. “We should bring the kolaches to Wichita.”
The two now plan to open Kolace in 1,500 square feet at Tyler Pointe, Occidental Management’s new development at the southeast corner of 13th and Tyler.
“That is phonetically spelled,” Katz says of Kolace. “The product itself we are spelling … with an ‘h.’
“We’d like to target kind of a younger demographic … and we thought it would be kind of fun.”
She and Watkins are assuming they’ll get student traffic from Northwest High School, which Watkins says “is two football fields away.”
Katz says a kolache is a Czechoslovakian-inspired pastry.
“The immigrants came over to the U.S., and to satisfy the Midwestern appetite, they started to introduce different types of meats and fillings.”
Their restaurant will serve 18 varieties, such as sausage, eggs and cheese or ones with chorizo for breakfast and buffalo chicken ranch and bacon cheeseburger kolaches for lunch. They also plan to have breakfast tacos.
There will be 20 seats at the restaurant, but Katz says, “The concept’s more of a grab-and-go.”
She and Watkins say a drive-through will be key to the business.
They’ll serve chips with the kolaches.
Hours will be 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
In addition to being near the school, Watkins says the new construction is appealing, and he likes that QuikTrip also is opening at the development.
Occidental’s Michael Madden and Adam Clements from Builders Inc. handled the deal.
Katz will be the face of the business, and Watkins will be more behind the scenes.
They plan to open by late October.
Watkins says just as Kansas City kolaches inspired him, some kolache restaurants in Texas confirmed their popularity.
“It’s pretty big down there,” he says. “It was a surprise.”