Vollpension – Vienna, Austria - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Vollpension

Visiting this café is like visiting the Austrian grandma you wish you had. 

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While many restaurants may claim to serve homespun comfort food “just like grandma used to make,” at this Viennese café, the baked goods are made by real grandmas. Vollpension, or “full pension” in German, is a social enterprise that aims to give local retirees a chance to connect with people while earning extra income. The staff consists of a squad of Omas (grandmothers), with a few Opas (grandfathers) onboard for good measure. Order a slice of apple strudel or Sachertorte, Austria’s famous chocolate cake layered with jam, and the Oma who baked it from her family recipe may tell you all about it. 

In 2012, Mike Lanner and Moriz Piffl came up with the idea of using food as a means to help bridge the generation gap and address growing levels of isolation and poverty among the elderly. Two years later, they were touring the country in a revamped VW van with 10 Omas. The pop-up café was such a success that they decided to create a more permanent establishment. By 2015, they had set up shop in a cozy, kitschy space that leans into the grandma aesthetic with plenty of tchotchkes and lace doilies. A second branch opened in 2019, and the founders hope to continue to expand.

Guests planning to linger may wish to opt for one of the Granny Care Packages, which come with unlimited hot drinks such as coffee, tea, or cocoa, or cold beverages such as iced tea and lemonade, for a set amount of time, as well as various sweets or dishes. For homesick travelers or locals, it’s the next best thing to Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) at grandma’s house.

Know Before You Go

Coffee and cake may be the main attraction here, but there are also hearty Austrian breakfast platters in the morning and wine spritzers in the afternoon.

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