Kolache Factory, a unique and fast-growing bakery-café franchise based in Katy, Texas, celebrates its namesake delicacy by giving away thousands of free kolaches on National Kolache Day.

On Friday, March 1, every customer at every store nationwide celebrates National Kolache Day with a free fruit or cream cheese kolache, while supplies last.

The Czech-inspired pastry, filled with savory and sweet fruits, meats, and cheeses, has legions of loyal followers who can’t get enough of the handheld pastries that are the perfect breakfast, lunch, or on-the-go snack. But others have yet to discover one of Texas’s favorite food icons.

“Believe it or not, we still have people coming in and trying a kolache for the first time every day,” says Kolache Factory chief operating officer Dawn Nielsen. “Of course, we also have regulars who stop in every morning. National Kolache Day is for everyone! We want to share our passion for kolaches by giving away free kolaches to thank our loyal customers and introduce our traditional Czech pastry to new folks.”

Kolaches, pronounced kuh-lah-chees, were born in Czechoslovakia centuries ago when a young girl nabbed some soft, sweet bread dough from her mom, added plums (NOT prunes), and tossed it in the oven. Her dad grabbed one for a snack, and when he took a bite, the hot plum juice made him circle like a wheel in delight. The Czech word for wheel is “kola” — so the kolache was born. It became a tasty and beloved treat throughout Eastern Europe and arrived in America in the 1850s when Czech settlers came to Texas. By the 1900s, the Czech immigrants were holding yearly celebrations to honor their beloved culinary treat — the kolache.

It didn’t take long for kolaches to get a Texan twist, so now the sweet pastries are filled with savory meats, cheeses, and spices, perfect as an on-the-go snack for any meal. Kolache Factory has taken the iconic Texan delicacy and made it available from coast to coast.

Kolache Factory was founded in 1982 by John and Jerri Banks, who identified a need for a fresh, high-quality breakfast that could be eaten “on the run.” The Bankses encouraged consumers to try the high-quality, fresh pastries filled with fruits, meat, and cheeses, and soon they were in high demand for business meetings, family breakfasts, on-the-go lunches, and afternoon snacks.

Kolache Factory has been recognized as one of the Top 5 Drive-Thrus in America by Food Network, one of the fastest-growing companies in Houston, and one of the top 50 foodservice bakeries in the United States. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine named it among the top 200+ food-based franchises in 2021 and the #1 Baked Goods franchise in 2022, 2023, and 2024.