This post is about the probably cutest and most amazing little café in Vienna/Austria. It is called “Vollpension” which translates to something like “full pension” and is so much more than just a place where you can eat and drink. It’s a social project that serves more than one cause. It all began in 2012 as a contribution to Vienna’s Design Week and was meant to be a one-time-thing. But people loved it so much, the idea won a lot of national and international awards and is now, since June 2015, a permanent thing. But what is it?
It’s a lovely designed café that makes you think of sitting in your grandma’s living room. Framed pictures on the wall, vintage furniture, shared tables, cups with floral patterns and an open kitchen are the hardware; but it’s the people that add the cherry to the cake. Because the chefs and bakers there are all already retired. They are part-time employed which helps them to top up their pension and gives them something to do. They are supported by younger people who help to cook and serve the food. Different generations work hand in hand which adds to the warm feeling of the place.
As a guest you can watch granny bake her favorite desserts, talk to her, listen to her stories. Share your own thoughts and eat together – like you would do with your own granny or grandpa. There are also almost no single tables or tables for two so you are encouraged to share your table with strangers; which is a nice and interesting way to meet new people. We were two people when we were there on a Saturday morning and shared our table with another four persons, but they were chatting with their bodies somehow turned away from us so we had quite a lot of privacy, even though we were a table of six.
The food, oh my god, the food. It’s simply amazing. You can see and feel the love that was put into preparing it, the waiters and waitresses, the “granny of the day” (who is your host) and the baking and cooking grandpas and grandmas were simply amazing. It’s a place that made my eyes a bit watery. Not only because of the delicious food and the amazing people but also because of the idea behind the whole project. It also reminded me of the fact that I do have a granny I really love but rarely visit. Do me a favor and pop by should you ever be in Vienna. It’s such a lovely concept and worth the wait, should it be crowded. We just loved every second there.
The “Vollpension” is open from Tuesday to Saturday (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s closed on Mondays. Reserving is a bit tricky, because it’s only possible for parties that are more than four, usually. There are exceptions, because you can reserve for two or three people if you come for breakfast on a Saturday. You’ll most probably always share a table with others though, that’s part of the whole idea of the place.
Slider image & team picture (c) vollpension.wien