Inigo is a restaurant located opposite the Jesuitenkirche church in the historic old town and a pioneer of the social enterprises operating in Vienna’s food service industry. Since 1992 it has been serving up good food made with regional ingredients as well as helping long-term unemployed people find a way back into the labor market. Run by the charity Caritas, women and men can gain valuable experience in waiting tables, cooking, catering and cleaning on six-month work placements with additional job coaching and support also available from social workers. Another Caritas project, Magdas Kantine, is located in Vienna’s new Ankerbrotfabrik creative cluster. The canteen with a kiosk and sit-down restaurant is managed by industry professionals working with a team of dedicated trainees that comprises young people, refugees and jobseekers. Together they transform regional and season products into delicious dishes, drinks and other specialties. Since February 2015 Caritas Vienna has also been operating Magdas Hotel near the Prater park where the staff are likewise made up of experienced hotel employees and refugees.
Mittendrin is a cafe, bar and restaurant that forms part of an innovative social project on Währinger Strasse where students and formerly homeless people live, study and work. Residents as well as customers with no connection to the project can order from the small, high-quality menu offered by the cafe on the ground floor which opened in 2013. Vienna architects Gaupenraub were responsible for the interior design and have utilized simple materials to create a cozy atmosphere. It features a polished concrete floor, bar constructed from old wooden beams and benches upholstered with coffee sacks. Purple Eat on Meidlinger Markt in the 12th district is painted bright purple making it a real eyecatcher. The permanent market stall set up by Purple Sheep, an organization representing the rights of asylum seekers and foreigners, serves up fresh food from Tuesday to Saturday. Asylum seekers prepare dishes from their native countries using as many organic and regional ingredients as possible. Espresso and Austrian wines are also available, and outdoor seating is provided in summer.
Goodgoods’ hand-crafted design pieces were a highlight of Vienna Design Week in fall 2014. The bags, textiles, home appliances and kitchen aids are all made in workshops where people with mental or physical disabilities are employed. The products are the outcome of an initiative by Vienna designers Sofia Podreka and Katrin Radanitsch of Dottings Industrial Design. Their vision was to create their own designer brand for sustainable everyday and household products which had a social focus and were marketed at fair prices. They brought together designers and workshops, highlighting the particular features of each workshop and the skills of its workers. Eight workshops and nine design companies are currently taking part in the project and more products and collaborations are in the pipeline. The products are available at www.goodgoods.at. Gabarage Upcycling Design are all about making creative use of industrial waste materials, transforming ring binders into practical bags, shuttlecocks into quirky lamps and subway escalator parts into comfy seating. The innovative, sustainable products are on sale at their showroom in the fourth district and the company provides employment for people from socially disadvantaged groups.
The Carla chain of second hand shops in Vienna is run by Caritas. Their motto is “Reuse it, don’t throw it away” and their conscientious customers know that when they buy something they are not only doing their bit to protect the environment but also supporting the Caritas’s charitable projects. The two biggest Carla shops can be found in the fifth and 21st districts. They sell well-cared for, used items including furniture, electrical appliances, books, clothes and even cars on a combined total of 4,000 square meters of warehouse space. Their two smaller locations are at the Altes AKH in the ninth district and the Ankerbrotfabrik in the 10th, which both specialize in rarities and selected vintage pieces. Volkshilfe Würfel is similar to the Carla chain and has a number of second hand shops in Vienna. Set up in the 1990s, this sizeable operation helps long-term jobseekers to return to employment.
- Inigo, Bäckerstrasse 18, 1010 Vienna, www.inigo.at
- Magdas Kantine, Absberggasse 27, 1100 Vienna, www.magdas-kantine.at
- Magdas Hotel, Laufbergergassse 12, 1020 Vienna, www.magdas-hotel.at
- Mittendrin, Währinger Strasse 19, 1090 Vienna, https://mittendrinrestaurant.wordpress.com
- Purple Eat, Meidlinger Markt 83–88, 1120 Wien, www.purplesheep.at
- Goodgoods, www.goodgoods.at
- Gabarage, Schleifmühlgasse 6, 1040 Vienna, www.gabarage.at
- Carla Wien, www.carla-wien.at
- Volkshilfe Würfel, www.vhbi.at