New cafe branch offers another chance to enjoy Viennese treats

August 20, 2008 7:24:00 PM PDT
Warm weather means it's a great time to sit at a cafe and have some dessert, and our Hungry Hound is taking an Austrian approach this week.If you want to get a true taste of Vienna, there are few options in Chicago. But for the past few years, Julius Meinl has brought their Austrian charm and cuisine to the North side.

They just opened a second branch a few weeks ago, where the coffee drinks are perfect for summer sipping, and the pastry selection is even greater.

Nearly every drink at the new Julius Meinl Cafe in Lincoln Square begins with some type of coffee or espresso.

"Our coffeemeisters come up with a drink each month, so we have them put together their own menu, and each month we'll feature a drink that the staff votes the favorite drink of the month," said Steve Farley, Julius Meinl.

The most basic is obviously cold-brewed coffee with a glass of ice. But consider a shot of intense espresso poured over vanilla ice cream.

"That's the traditional Vienna ice caffe. There's a lot of variations, we stick to the traditional way, so it's the vanilla ice cream, Meinl espresso along with the schlag," said Farley.

That means whipped cream.

Another variation is the white chocolate mocha: pump a few shots of white chocolate into the espresso, and then pour that into some whole milk, and finally, a cup or so of ice. Again, a topping of schlag finishes it off.

They also make cool fizzy drinks with Pago, an imported Austrian soda.

What about something sweet? They've expanded their dessert selection considerably, from the original store in Lake View.

"I think that in Vienna there's a big focus on tradition; and I think that carries through with, throughout their culture with their music and pastries," said Nicole Stemler, Julius Meinl pastry chef.

There is chocolate, of course, like a Mozart Torte, dark chocolate mousse with pistachio cream and nougatine.

There are also, flaky pastries topped with crushed bits of pistachio and roasted apricots, and just an assortment using the season's freshest fruit.

"Peaches and raspberries and red currants, sweet cherries and sour cherries, so we're just constantly trying to figure out what we're going to do and how we're going to just keep it simple and make it really tasty and feature that fruit," said Stemler.

Julius Meinl is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they also have a great weekend brunch.

Julius Meinl
4363 N. Lincoln Ave.
773-868-1876

3601 N. Southport Ave.
773-868-1858


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