Discover the Vienna Café Run By the Elderly

The food at Vollpension is home-made by grandmas and grandpas
The food at Vollpension is home-made by grandmas and grandpas | © Mark Glassner
Photo of Culture Trip
20 November 2017

Third Wave Coffee Houses are all very well and good, but nothing is more comforting than a cake baked by your Grandma. Viennese Café Vollpension describes itself as a “generational coffee house”—a café and social project which aims to bring together the young and the old under one roof.

Set up by the local community of the 4th district, this socially savvy café offers senior citizens the chance to take a break from retirement, which can often be boring and lonesome, and showcase their baking skills to the public (a win-win situation for both parties). The café aims to unite the young and the elderly—two parts of society that ordinarily, and unfortunately, seldom collide in everyday life.

Staff at Vollpension | © Mark Glassner

The interior (designed by Sebastian Rahs) is reminiscent of your average Grandmother’s living room, complete with squishy, patterned armchairs and settees and a scattering of framed photographs containing beaming relatives jostling for position on the walls. There is, however, a subtle modern edge—whitewashed exposed brick walls and kitsch touches ensure that the café is simultaneously cozy and cool.

On the menu, you’ll find many foods that you’d expect to be offered by your Grandparents with “some of the hottest cakes and pies in the city,” and some more unconventional dishes as well. The breakfast dishes are among the highlights. The “opa pikant” is a wonderful spread containing traditionally Viennese ingredients: a Semmel roll, pepper, tomatoes, salami, Austrian cheese, and a boiled egg.

A few trinkets from the interior | © Mark Glassner

Just as you’d expect, they source their ingredients locally—their dairy products come from farms in surrounding areas and their fruit and vegetables travel a short distance over the road from the Naschmarkt. They also pride themselves on their homemade cakes—made “with love” by 15 Grandpas and Grandmas.

The cozy interior of the café | © Mark Glassner | © Mark Glassner

Debunking the myth that the elderly are always early-birds, the café also puts on regular weekend nights that see the formerly provincial space turn a little more lively.

Aspiring bakers can also try your hand at Vollpension’s recipes, as they have recently published a cookbook, containing around 40 recipes accompanied by real-life stories from the bakers.

Vollepension is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

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