The “Vienna Public Feeding GMBH” was established in 1919, with the goal of providing for the nutrition of children and the more vulnerable sections of society. It was renamed the “Viennese public kitchen company” in 1920, and retained that name until the company merged with Wigast. From 1999 to 2001, Wigast was gradually absorbed into the Austrian Tourist Office; at that time it was the largest restaurant umbrella company in Austria and included restaurants such as Rathauskeller, Donauturm and Schloss Wilhelminenberg, as well as the Wienerwald chain. In 2008, the Tourist Office sold off its restaurant holdings to better focus on tourist promotion.
The WÖK above was photographed in the summer of 1976 in the 18th Bezirk of Vienna.
What you got there was cheap and edible, but not much else. It reminded me of the ÖBB Betriebsküche in Villach, where I became acquainted with Beuschel; indeed, when I read Melville’s description of Turkey in “Bartleby the Scrivener” – (his clothes were apt to look oily and smell of eating-houses), WÖK is always what I think of. That said, the memories are indelible, and the WÖKs now belong to history.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
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Thanks Old Wolf, I was a student in Vienna in 1970 – WOK outlets provided simple, filling food – cheap! Have been searching for details of the chain. Good memories!
It was the same memories that spawned this post, glad you enjoyed it! I feel the same way about the Horn and Hardart automat, about which I also reminisced elsewhere. 😀
For what it’s worth, there’s a lovely historical book about the institution that I have packed away somewhere: https://www.abebooks.com/first-edition/W%C3%96K-Wiener-Institution-1919-1994-H%C3%B6randner/30328651963/bd