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Atlas Obscura Vollpension

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.

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