A Ballwin couple will bring a unique restaurant filled with sweet and savory offerings to Arnold.
Jen and Tim Heilwagner plan to open a St. Louis Kolache restaurant at 1249 Water Tower Plaza, a shopping plaza off Jeffco Boulevard anchored by the Schnucks grocery store.
“Arnold was a very intentional choice,” said Jen, who owns Once Upon A Child, a children’s clothing store at 1231 Water Tower Plaza.
“I am a strong proponent of the community of Arnold. I feel very connected here between the customers we have and the staff we have. It is just a great place to do business.”
Jen, 42, and Tim, 52, plan to open the franchise in early January in a space that used to house the J Sushi restaurant.
“We are taking over an existing restaurant space, so our build-out is less painful than a restaurant starting from scratch,” Jen said.
Kolache is a pastry that Czech settlers brought to Texas. They are made from a sweet yeast dough and may be filled with fruit, cheese or meat.
“You can almost put anything in them,” Jen said. “They can get very creative with the recipes. The sweet kolache are more of a pastry-type Danish that you would get at a bakery. (Kolaches with meat) are a sandwich without the mess of eating a sandwich.”
There are currently seven Kolache restaurants in the St. Louis area, Illinois and Alabama, according to the company’s website.
Jen said she and Tim decided to open a location in Arnold because her husband wanted a career change and because they fell in love with the product after visiting the Ballwin location.
“Tim has been working in the IT industry for 30-plus years and was looking for a change of pace,” she said. “He wanted something completely different than anything he had done before. We are big fans of St. Louis Kolache. The opportunity presented itself, and he decided it was the next move for him.
“We have been going (to St. Louis Kolache in Ballwin) for about four years. I would probably be there every day if I could be.”
The Arnold location will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Jen said she and her husband plan to hire about 10 employees.
She said the restaurant also will offer catering, and customers will be able to order from the location through food-delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash.
The menu will mirror the other St. Louis Kolache restaurants offering several sweet kolaches, like apple pie and double chocolate brownie, as well as savory options like sausage and gravy for breakfast and Philly cheesesteak for lunch.
“Sausage and gravy for breakfast is one of the favorites. It is phenomenal,” Jen said. “With lunch, they (the Ballwin shop owners) partner with Pappy’s Smokehouse and Gioia’s Deli to offer some specialty kolaches that are phenomenal. I have not had one that is not incredible.”
Jen said neither she nor Tim have experience running a restaurant or making kolaches, but they are not intimidated by venturing into the food-service industry.
“There is really not any hesitation because the support from the franchisers of St. Louis Kolache is so strong,” she said.
“They are incredible partners. They have perfected this business. With them in our corner, we don’t have any concerns about operating something we haven’t done before.
“It felt natural to go into something with a type of food that makes people happy.”
The Heilwagners have four children – Tony, 23, Michael, 20, Olivia, 16, and Alex, 7.