The buzz all over town is about Café Vienna. Just opened in April, it already has a legion of fans, who are captivated by the delicious coffees and pastries to be found within.
Located at 200 Nassau Street (the former site of the Piccadilly), it truly is a touch of the Old World, reminiscent of the cafés and coffee houses in Europe. This is the mission of owner Anita Waldenberger, who grew up in Austria.
“When I first visited Princeton in 2002, I liked it right away and felt at home. I have now lived here 11 years, and it has a wonderful international atmosphere. There are people from all over the world.”
When her brother and his family visited from Munich, he mentioned he couldn’t find a coffee house similar to the cafés in Europe, she reports. This encouraged Ms. Waldenberger to open such a place.
In Austria, she had visited many coffee houses and cafés, and also completed an apprenticeship at Kurhotels Warmbaderhof in Warmbad-Villach, a 5-Star luxury resort in Austria. In addition to her background in the hospitality industry, Ms. Waldenberger worked in real estate and banking for several years, and brought all these experiences to her new business venture.
The café, which has five tall café tables and chairs inside, as well as five places at the counter, also offers five tables outside. It provides the same relaxed atmosphere found in the European cafés; customers are never rushed, and can enjoy the opportunity to linger over delicious coffee and pastries.
Ms. Waldenberger was determined to offer the highest quality to her patrons. She worked with a German baker to adapt her family recipes to the pastries, and selected special Colombian coffee beans, roasted in Italy. “Our pastries, which are all preservative-free, are typical of Austrian pastries, and all are my mother’s recipes,” she notes.
Pastries include many of the old world favorites, such as apple strudel, sacher torte (Viennese dark chocolate cake with apricot filling), black forest cake with cherry filling and whipped cream, 3-tier marzipan cake with raspberry filling, butter cream and almond paste, marble cake flavored with lemon, and cheese cake.
“We also have a gluten-free fennel cake that was my mother’s recipe,” adds Ms. Waldenberger. “We are always introducing new products such as linzer cookies and flourless chocolate cake.”
In addition, Café Vienna serves a breakfast and lunch ham and cheese or turkey and cheese sandwich with tomato and lettuce on a croissant or baguette. This is especially popular as a brunch on weekends, but is available every day.
The special blend coffee, served in over-size cups, is rich, smooth, and flavorful. Choices include regular, cappuccino, espresso, café latte, also café mocha (hot chocolate with a single shot of espresso), and Viennese hot chocolate with whipped cream.
“Our baristas make great coffee,” reports Ms. Waldenberger.
Tea aficionados will be pleased to find a selection of Earl Grey, including decaf breakfast blend, as well as organic breakfast tea, and organic green tea. The tea is served in an elegant single portion china pot and cup. Iced coffee and iced coffee with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream are also on the menu. Other beverages include juices, Coca Cola, and Pellegrino sparkling water.
Prices start at $3.25 for regular coffee, $4.25 for cappuccino, $4.50 for marble cake, up to $6.25 for marzipan cake. Sandwiches are $7.
Ms. Waldenberger says that customers are enjoying everything. “It’s really across the board — all the coffees and all the pastries. They just like everything! And everyone, including the other merchants, has been so friendly. We have had a very warm welcome. Princeton people are very friendly.”
She is delighted that the clientele represents all ages and people from all over, including many regulars, who come in often.
“My husband and I love it here,” says a Princeton resident, originally from Switzerland, who stops in more than once a week. “We relive our childhood memories here. It feels and tastes like home!”
The hospitality industry is known for the time-consuming and painstaking effort needed for success. “You have to have a passion for it,” notes Ms. Waldenberger. “We work hard to offer the best quality and product line. People deserve the best for their money. My philosophy is that when people spend good money on a product, they can expect the best we have to offer. Our products speak for themselves.
“People will know they can count on getting the best here. I always want to be humble and never take anything for granted,” she adds. “I do quality control every day, and we taste everything. I have a wonderful staff, who enjoy coming to work, and say they have fun here. We want to be a place for everyone to come and find pleasure. They can take time out to relax. I think it is very exciting to start something new. I am also developing a business clientele. People can enjoy coming in, sitting down with coffee and a pastry, and have a business meeting.”
Take-out is also available at the café, and in addition, customers can purchase whole cakes if they order two days ahead.
Ms. Waldenberger says she looks forward to being in Princeton a long time. “I want to make our customers happy and give them a touch of the Old World. I look forward to offering the community the very best we have to offer. I am so very happy to be here.”
Café Vienna is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 to 8. (609) 924-5100. Website: www.cafeviennaprinceton.com.