DANBURY, Texas – During the pre-dawn hours in Danbury, the towns single blinking red light works overtime at an intersection that doesn’t see too much traffic during this time of day.
But just a block north, it’s rush hour at a little bakery that’s become a basic need in these parts.
Jennifer Martin and Dawn Sykora are the divas who devised this confectionery known for their hot buns and kooky name – Two Czech Chicks Kolache Shoppe & Bakery.
Jennifer and Dawn are two lifelong friends who grew up in West, Texas.
“We were on the same softball team when we were little and we were in girl scouts together, too,” said Jennifer. “But we went to two different schools.”
Fate found them together in Danbury teaching in the local school when Dawn got a delicious idea.
“I drove by one day and this building was for sale and I thought, ‘What a cute bakery that would be.’ But I didn’t dream, we would have never dreamed of opening a bakery. Just kind of in passing,” Dawn said.
That idea started to rise and began to bake in their heads. It wasn’t long till the town’s old post office started its transformation into a bakery. With the help of their very hungry husbands, Two Czech Chicks brought their baked goods to market in 2013 and the success their savory kolaches got garnered an emotion the two weren’t expecting.
“Yes, there were times that we’ve cried, and there are times we were like, what did we do, what have we done?” said Dawn. “Especially the first day when we were making and making and making and people were coming in and coming in and we’re sold out by 7:30 and people don’t realize that kolaches are not instantaneous.”
And from the looks of it, it’s a lot of work too! Especially when it comes to the most important part of these traditional Texas treats, the dough.
You don’t want it too sticky, but you don’t want it too dry, because when it’s dry then they don’t turn out well. But you don’t want it too sticky because you can’t form them correctly. It’s almost an art,” Dawn said. “Humidity can be a factor. I mean, you would not believe weather can actually affect kolaches but it does.”
It seems an old-school family recipe that the Two Czech Chicks live by has helped this bakery rise to the top.
“This is my husband’s grandmother. She’s our inspiration for our kolaches,” said Dawn. “Her name was Angeline Sykora. “I knew from the get-go when we were going to do this that she would be the one that I would want to use her recipe if she would let us.”
It’s hard to measure our accomplishments to the generations before us. All we can really do is try our best and hope to create a tradition of our own while honoring the great bakers before us by continuing to offer a taste of what they had to offer.
“The worst thing that could have happened is that this wouldn’t have worked out, we would have sold the building, gone back to teaching – you’re never going to know until you try something. I remember someone telling us that 90% of businesses fail within a year, and I thought – well, 10% make it. So we’re going to be one of the 10%,” said Dawn.
So if you find yourself driving south of Houston, stop by Danbury for a bountiful breakfast that keeps the Czech tradition of these fruit filled pastries thriving in Brazoria County.
“I don’t want to do anything different,” Dawn said. “As long as we can get up in the morning, I thank God every day that I can do this. As long as I can physically do it and mentally do it, then I’m going to do it as long as I can. We might be 90. Hopefully not, but we may be.”