Austrian cafe, cooking school open in Glenview

Everyone on the North Shore knows about Abt Electronics. The legendary retailer is known for both its products and its service. But after you drop all that money on a new T.V. or stovetop, there was no place to eat, until recently.

They've set up a Viennese-style cafe and wine bar just next door, which also happens to be nearby a new Viking-branded cooking school, which means going gourmet in Glenview just got a whole lot easier.

Go ahead, browse a little. The enormous Abt Electronics and appliance store in Glenview is packed with just about every type of gizmo and gadget - including some serious cooking appliances. All that shopping works up an appetite, so the family decided to open a charming cafe in the Design Center -a kind of a small strip mall - just south of the store. It's named Jolane's for the company's founder who emigrated from Hungary.

"Her brothers really didn't want her in the business, so she came and she founded our electronics store, and she worked here until she was about 90," said Michael Abt, Jolane's Cafe & Wine Bar. "When she passed, my dad had the idea of having a restaurant for her."

The family brought in Julius Meinl, an Austrian cafe with two locations in the city, importing their legendary pastries and giving the kitchen some hands-on Eastern European culinary training.

Staples like goulash over spatzle, asparagus and mushroom crepes, even delicate finger sandwiches with toppings like smoked salmon or pear and brie, are satisfying. Chicken marsala arrives with a wedge of cornbread, while a veggie focaccia sandwich is jammed with plenty of good stuff from the garden.

Be sure to save room for dessert, and the excellent Meinl coffee. You could traditional, with apple strudel or a banana mousse or try the house special honey apple tart.

Another foodie destination - within the same Design Center - is the brand new Viking Cooking School and Culinary Shop, perfect for a little shopping or hands-on learning.

"The bulk of our classes are three hour, hands on, participation classes, but I also do demonstrations," said Christopher Green, Viking Cooking School. "They are usually two hours, I do a three day culinary class. I've got summer camp for kids!"

Classes range from beginners to advanced.

"Keep the board clean. You know, if you don't want it in your onion mix, why leave it on the board when you start to chop?" said Green.

If hands-on isn't your style, there's also an impressive demo kitchen, which is also great for private parties.

"We want people to enjoy cooking and the Viking brand, it's the cooking side of it. That's what Viking is about," said Green.

Most of the items from Julius Meinl's menu in the city are available at Jolane's with just a few exceptions. Most notably, the Mohr en Hempt: the oozy, molten chocolate cake.

For more info:

Jolane's Cafe & Wine Bar
1100 N. Milwaukee Ave., Glenview

Viking Cooking School and Culinary Shop
1140 N. Milwaukee Ave., Glenview

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.