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Sykora Bakery

73 16th Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA - (319) 364-5271
Posted By Cliff Strutz on 5/13/2014 12:53:00 PM
Attracted by jobs in the local packing plants, Cedar Rapids developed a thriving Czech population in the mid-19th century. Today, you can find Czech Village just across the Cedar River from downtown. They have restaurants, shops, and even the National Czech and Slovak Museum, but the heart of this neighborhood is Sykora Bakery, which first opened it's doors in 1903.

The staff at Sykora Bakery was friendly and patient, since my visit was mostly me pointing at something interesting in the glass case asking, "Ooooh, what's that?" The zelnik is a soft, doughy roll, filled with cabbage and caraway, making it a cousin to runzas and bierocks. The denser mushroom torte was moist with the mushrooms in a light cream sauce. They offer two different types of kolacky cookies: the larger ones are open, shaped like a bow tie and taste like pie crusts, while the smaller closed short bread kolackies are filled with fruit and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.

As good as those are, do not miss out on the kolaches, which they carry in about a dozen different flavors, including such favorites as lemon, poppyseed and even the unusual fig. The dough has just the right amount of sweetness and these match up with any kolache I've had in Texas. Next time here, we look forward to trying the famous Bohemian rye bread and the interesting Bohemian hamburger, with poppyseeds.

The close proximity to the river has meant several disastrous floods over the years. There are photos on the wall from past deluges, but the devastating flood of 2008 was the worst one yet, bringing water almost to the ceiling and ruining the original oven. They reopened almost a year later, attaching that oven door to a wall as a testament to their resilience.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Kolacky
Zelnik
Kolaches
Mushroom Torte
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Kolaches are not just a Texas thing!
"Kolaches are not just a Texas thing!"
Cliff Strutz





The zelniks are soft enough that they tear in half easily by hand.
"The zelniks are soft enough that they tear in half easily by hand."
Cliff Strutz


The kolacky cookies were so good that I got a dozen of each to go.  And those barely made it to the border out of town!
"The kolacky cookies were so good that I got a dozen of each to go. And those barely made it to the border out of town!"
Cliff Strutz


The mushroom torte was highly recommended by the friendly ladies behind the counter.
"The mushroom torte was highly recommended by the friendly ladies behind the counter. "
Cliff Strutz


After the devastating flood of 2008, the original oven was no longer usable.  So, they put the massive oven door on display.
"After the devastating flood of 2008, the original oven was no longer usable. So, they put the massive oven door on display. "
Cliff Strutz


Photos from the great flood of 1929 are seen on the walls.
"Photos from the great flood of 1929 are seen on the walls."
Cliff Strutz


A Czech gift shop, including books and art awaits you down the stairs.
"A Czech gift shop, including books and art awaits you down the stairs."
Cliff Strutz


Sykora Bakery is in the heart of Cedar Rapid's famous Czech Village.
"Sykora Bakery is in the heart of Cedar Rapid's famous Czech Village."
Cliff Strutz


Vitame Vas means 'we welcome you!'
"Vitame Vas means 'we welcome you!'"
Cliff Strutz



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