Places to Eat

The Czech Stop & Little Czech Bakery: No Mystery Just Great Food

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Is it mysterious how a gas station on I-35 could be serving Czechoslovakian food staples to over 600 daily customers for 29 years? Not to those in the small town of West, Texas. Home to one of the largest Czech communities outside of the actual former country itself, rural Texas sets the stage for some phenomenal food adventures, but none that seem to compare to the success that has taken place at the Czech Stop and Little Czech Bakery.

The American census of 2000 had put the number of Czechs located in the state of Texas at close to 200,000. This was the largest amount for any state. And, West, this tiny town in Texas, had (either inadvertently or directly) become the focal point for relocation from Czechoslovakia during the late 19th century. Within its city limits, the town of West is now home to just shy of 3,000 residents, and over 75 percent of them self-identify as Czech-American. The town ties to the former homeland of many of its residents’ ancestors are still so strong that when it endured a huge explosion at its fertilizer plant, the Czech ambassador to America, Petr Gandalovič, immediately came to Texas to help, and the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, petitioned their parliament successfully to approve of a $200,000 donation.

The Czech Stop & Little Czech Baker: No Mystery Just Great Food
Photo: Instagram/andybartee

Even the Czech Stop itself, from its location across town, felt the explosion, but largely remained unharmed. At the time, however, a guy by the name of Andy, who was fueling up out front, upon hearing the explosion, took a picture of the huge mushroom cloud that resulted, geotagging it in an Instagram post, showing the cloud rising over a Sonic Drive-in and the Czech Stop marquee to the right. The picture received national coverage and the Czech Stop subsequently received national attention, garnering orders that spanned far beyond Texas state lines.

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