Grans Serve Up Old School Hospitality

Another fabulous idea to give 'omas' (grannies) extra income and an antidote to isolation.

Vienna’s cafés are world-famous for their coffee and cake, but one coffee house in the city’s 4th district also offers a unique version of “gemütlichkeit,” that form of cosiness that Austrians have made their own.

The Vollpension Café is largely staffed by female pensioners, or “omas” (grannies), who lovingly bake the café’s strudels, chocolate tortes and poppy-seed cakes. The community-conscious enterprise provides its staff with extra income and an antidote to isolation through contact with younger customers.

“This is more than just a coffee shop. Our guests are supposed to feel as if they’re at their oma’s place,” explains co-owner Hannah Lux, 31. The café is decorated with vintage items - lace doilies, animal figurines and other flea market finds - all of which add to the homely, cosy atmosphere.

“It’s not easy for young and old people to connect in everyday life,” says Lux.

Café worker Judith Siöberg, a grandmother of two, says, “We tell them our life experiences: it’s generations coming together.”

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