A Ballwin couple will bring Arnold a unique restaurant serving sweet and savory delights.
Jen and Tim Heilwagner plan to open a Louis Kolache restaurant in St. Louis at 1249 Water Tower Plaza, a shopping plaza off Jeffco Boulevard near a Schnucks grocery store.
“Arnold was a very deliberate choice,” says Jen, who owns Once Upon A Child, a children’s clothing store at 1231 Water Tower Plaza.
“I’m a big supporter of the Arnold community. I feel like there’s a really strong connection between our customers and our people. It’s just a great place to do business.”
Jen, 42, and Tim, 52, plan to open a franchise in early January where the J Sushi restaurant is located.
“We’re taking over an existing restaurant space, so our expansion is easier than starting a restaurant from scratch,” says Jen.
Kolache is a pastry brought to Texas by Czech settlers. They are made with sweet yeast dough and can be stuffed with fruit, cheese or meat.
“You can put almost anything in it,” says Jen. “They can get really creative with their recipes. The sweet kolache is more of a pastry-type Danish that you get at bakeries. (Kolaches with meat) is a sandwich without the hassle of eating a sandwich.”
There are currently seven Kolache restaurants in St. Louis. Louis area, Illinois and Alabama, according to the company website.
Jen said she and Tim decided to open a location in Arnold because her husband wanted a career change and they fell in love with the product after visiting the Ballwin location.
“Tim has been in the IT industry for over 30 years and was always looking for a change of pace,” she said. “He wanted something completely different than anything he’d done before. We’re big fans of St. Louis Colaci. The opportunity came and he decided it was his next move.
“We’ve been going (to St. Louis Kolache in Ballwin) for about four years. I’d probably be there every day if I could.”
Arnold is open Monday to Friday 6am to 2pm and Saturday and Sunday 7am to 2pm.
Jen said she and her husband plan to hire about 10 employees.
The restaurant will also offer catering, and customers can order from the location through delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash, she said.
The menu will reflect other St. Louis Kolache offers sweet kolache options like apple pie and double chocolate brownie, as well as savory options like breakfast sausage and gravy and lunchtime Philly cheesesteaks.
“Breakfast sausage and gravy is one of the most popular foods. It’s amazing,” says Jen. “For lunch, they (the Ballwin owner) have some really great specialty kolache in partnership with Pappy’s Smokehouse and Gioia’s Deli. I don’t have one that isn’t incredible.”
Jen said neither she nor Tim had experience running a restaurant or making kolaches, but they weren’t intimidated by their foray into foodservice.
“There really wasn’t any hesitation because of the support from the St. Louis franchise. Louis Kolache was very strong,” she said.
“They’re incredible partners. They’ve perfected the business. With them by our side, we don’t have to worry about operating things we haven’t done before.
“It feels natural to do something with a food that makes people happy.”
The Heilwagners have four children – Tony, 23, Michael, 20, Olivia, 16, and Alex, 7.