A Taste for Social Entrepreneurship

There are not many kitchens in Vienna where you can overhear a waiter shout out an order for “one Kaiserschmarrn and one Baba Ghanoush!” But you will at Habibi & Hawara, where Chef David Kreytenberg has created a “fusion of Austrian and high-Arabic food” since it opened on May 5th. The food here is served at the table, family style on buffet platters, and guests can choose from one or both culinary traditions. Asparagus with ­hollandaise sauce, or moussaka? The K.u.K. Goulash can be ordered “oriental, or not.”

The restaurant’s staff is a blend of experienced Austrian gastronomes and trainees from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia who have been granted asylum here. Earlier this year, “Nächstenliebe” – a pop-up restaurant run by Syrian refugees at Kreytenberg’s other venture, Die Liebe – was so successful that he, Martin Rohla (Stadtflucht Bergmühle), and Katha Schinkinger (Verein Hosten statt Posten) decided to join forces to launch Habibi. Their goal is to develop talent among their refugee staff, the best of whom will be given a 20 percent share of the restaurant after two years. “I want everyone to realize how nice, calm, intelligent and loyal these people are,” said Kreytenberg. “One of our cooks even sings while he cooks – I’ve never heard an Austrian cook do that! These men and women can put up with a lot more hardship than we Austrians do.”


The Recipe


(4–5 portions)

150 g parsley
2 medium tomatoes
4 g dried bulgur
3 dashes of salt (6 g)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 g fresh mint
Wash parsley and mint, discard stems and chop the leaves.
Cook bulgur according to directions on package.
Seed and cube the tomatoes.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve.


Habibi & Hawara

Mon – Sat, 11:00–15:00 & 18:00–24:00
1., Wipplingerstraße 29
(01) 535 06 75

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American expat Michael Bernstein moved to Vienna in 2001, abandoning his previous career in arts administration. He is now a freelance writer, editor, translator and Internet Marketing consultant. He was a regular contributor to inventures.eu — an E-zine about the Austrian/CEE startup scene — and was Lead Editor for its 2015 Ventures Almanach. Photo: Visual Hub