Kolaches Come to Southeast PDX

Newlyweds from Texas, who were childhood friends in Vietnam, opened a café in Portland specializing in a Czech pastry. Now that’s diversity! She is a former project manager, he a former hairdresser. Neither had restaurant experience nor family in the Northwest.  They ventured out on their own and opened the business during the worst economy our country has experienced in decades. That’s guts!But Mary and Danny Quach shared a vision to create a place that conveyed happiness and hope. A place where people would “feel the smile not just see it.”  Their faith gave them the courage to trust that all would work out.  And work out it did.

Not only does the Happy Sparrow Café celebrate diversity – it radiates the kind of joyful lifestyle that others long to find.  And it has a dynamite product.  The melt-in-your-mouth kolaches that Mary has perfected from a family friend’s recipe has customers standing in line and coming back for more.  “I’ve always loved to bake,” states Mary. “When we visited Portland and saw there were no kolache shops here, we knew that was where to start.”  Now the two take turns greeting customers, making espresso, brewing tea and serving up those divine bread puffs. In addition to favorites like Nutella or Sausage w/Tillamook Cheese, the Quach’s are working on creating a recipe to satisfy their gluten-free friends.

Speaking of brewing … Sparrow offers lots of choices for loose leaf tea lovers. A variety of vendors provide green, black and herbal options. If you’re lucky, you’ll be served your tea in the glass teapot with spring action dispensing right into your cup. So fun!

The couple spent months researching equipment for their small kitchen quarters and then turned to naming and decorating the café.  Why a sparrow? “We wanted something that would continue to inspire us. A sparrow is a happy little bird that always keeps coming back and doesn’t worry about anything.” Danny tapped into his artistic side and created not only the Happy Sparrow logo but the colorful murals that adorn both rooms of the café. The result has been success on every level.  There is a steady flow of happy customers. The community has embraced the owners and the café as welcome additions.  And Mary and Danny are managing to balance the nurturing of their “first child” with time off to enjoy the outdoor attractions of the Northwest.

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