Half baked

Do we have your attention now? Strawberry crepes from Josef's.

Do we have your attention now? Strawberry crepes from Josef's.


Josef’s is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Josef’s Vienna

933 W Moana Ln.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 825-0451

Not wishing to be outdone by my fellow RN&R restaurant reviewer, my husband and I also recently bought a house. Feeling dizzy with glee, my mom and I headed out for a nice lunch to celebrate. We chose to dine at Josef’s Vienna Bakery Café & Restaurant.

The café is lovely and the décor pleasing. The room is bright and airy, and the walls are adorned with old-timey posters, some copies of original advertising of such events as the opening of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The wooden tables and chairs are kept tidy, and there is outdoor seating for warm days. We were delighted and happily took a seat, receiving swift attention.

Josef’s lunch menu offers a good variety, such as the comfort food combo (grilled cheese sandwich, a cup of Josef’s homemade tomato soup and a cookie, $9.29), Sonja’s chicken pot pie (chicken breast with fresh vegetables in a creamy gravy, topped with a flaky puff dough crust and served with a mixed green salad, $9.59) and an assortment of salads and sandwiches. They even have French crepes (from cinnamon and sugar, $6.99, to the breakfast crepe with scrambled eggs, bacon, onion and bell peppers, $9.99). My mom and I chose quickly; sometimes excitement begets hunger.

I had “lox and the like” (bagel and lox served “traditional style,” with cream cheese, onions, cucumbers and capers, $10.59). I didn’t know what “traditional style” meant but apparently it means that the cream cheese is in a little bowl. I applied it on top of the lox, which was unusual, but not unappetizing. The capers were an excellent touch, and the bagel was warm and toasted. My mom had the German bratwurst (with red cabbage and sauerkraut and a choice of spaetzle or cottage potatoes, $10.29). She was pleased with her meal, although the best part of it was the potatoes. The red cabbage and sauerkraut were also a tasty combination, complementing one another well.

Our meal was off to a good start. We had been served quickly and were pleased with both our portions and flavor. Then the service got dodgy. We seemed to have been utterly forgotten. When my mom wanted a Coke she had to walk to the front of the restaurant to get someone’s attention. When I needed a refill on my water I did the same. No one came by to check on us. We were long finished with our meals when I waved to try to get a dessert menu. It was difficult to see how we could be missed given the proximity of our servers. Later, one server came by and took my mom’s plate but left mine, even though it was scraped clean. We told her we were going to order dessert. She nodded and disappeared … again. About 10 minutes later, we finally went up and got someone’s attention. We were anxious to dive into those famous chocolate éclairs! Josef’s prides itself on its desserts.

Sadly, the disappointment continued. I don’t know if this was just a bad day for éclairs or what, but ours were, to put it honestly and simply, very bad. The cream filling was fine, but was largely inaccessible owing to a dry, hard—possibly bulletproof—pastry casing. Finally, I bit off the end and attempted to excavate the filling with a fork, but this proved to be much effort for little return, and we finally left them half-eaten.

In the end, the cost-benefit account did not fall in Josef’s favor that day. After getting our lunches, we had had to chase after everything else. Our server came near to tidy the newspapers, and I tried to ask for the check, but she ducked past me unseeing. It was the last thing I had to go to the counter for and probably will be for a long time. In short, the lunch was great, the desserts were not—and everything was only ours through persistence.