The best Houston donut shops are all but unique on the planet if for nothing else than this fact: namely, while many of these morning pastry palaces beyond our city’s region have added uniquely Texan items like kolaches and breakfast tacos to their menu, we are one city that does all three well. Meaning, there’s no reason to believe that, say that the donuts at Pocahontas Donuts of Pocahontas, Arkansas are anything less than mighty fine, what kind of kolache do you think you might find there?
Speaking of kolaches, contrary to popular local belief, they are not unique to Texas and the former Czechoslovakia: there are scattered hotbeds across America, notably in places like Montgomery, Minnesota and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where in that city’s Czech Village, kolaches are thick on the ground. But what kind of monstrosity might you expect would pass for a breakfast taco in the Czech Village of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where ketchup has been known to be passed off as salsa. (You think I’m joking. I’m not — I’ve heard tales first-hand of this barbarism from at least two travelers to the Midwest, that Great American food desert.)
And one last thing on Houston’s good fortune in general, before we bore down on how fortunate 5 Corners is to be home to Home Cut Donuts. As any Houstonian of Czech heritage, or anyone married to anyone of Czech heritage who wants to stay married to that person of Czech heritage will tell you, often as not, what you are calling kolaches are often as not klobasniky. Broadly speaking, kolaches are open-faced and most frequently sweet, while klobasniky are stuffed and most frequently stuffed with meat or sometimes a starch. (Or sometimes both, as in the example of the boudin kolache, that most Houstonian of dishes — as the city where Louisiana Cajun & Creole culture from the east collides with the Czech cooking from the west, the boudin kolache, or boudin klobasniky as it should be known, could only have come from the Bayou City.)
Especially at our city’s independent and locally-owned donut shops like Home Cut at Fondren and Beltway 8. Yes, the five-year-old bakery does offer boudin kolaches, but while that pastry swells me with Houston Pride, I find it better in theory than in practice – while I love both boudin and kolaches, I find the combo too starchy for my tastes. A great many Houstonians disagree, and some who don’t share my view have said Home Cut’s version “Oh my!,” and “I fell in love,” and call them “the best in town,” and “excellent.” Confessed one fan: “I have to have one every morning. I am hooked on it.” (They serve them spicy or mild.)
My aversion to the boudin kolache does not apply to other klobasniky, such as Home Cut’s spicy sausage and cheese delights. Their version features a red-pepper flecked frankfurter-type sausage in a chewy pastry filled with cheese and jalapeno slices, and they are quite good. (Pro tip: I keep a plastic bottle of Whataburger mustard under our passenger seat for the express purpose of adulterating this very type of pastry.) The pan sausage, egg and cheese croissant was filling enough for a breakfast all on its own, as well.
In sampling the donuts, I went with a couple of old standbys — an apple fritter and a plain glazed. The latter, fluffy, still-warm, and just the right amount of sweet, is yet another example of why national chains have had limited success in conquering Houston’s market. Not only we are the home of Shipley Donuts, but also a great many mom and pops that put Dunkin and Krispy Kreme to shame. And the apple fritter was even better — a crisp bite to the fried sugary coating surrounded cinnamony apple chunks in the feathery interior.
And we didn’t even get around to the breakfast tacos. Sigh.
(Service is very friendly and sensible pandemic restrictions are observed.)
Home Cut Donuts
8420 Beltway 8 South
Mon-Fri: 5:00 am – noon
Sat: 5:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sun: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm