Cafe Susann provides a charming place to sip coffee with friends
By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 14, 2016
Walking into Cafe Susann on a recent frosty December morning felt like being transported to somewhere, anywhere other than Kaiserslautern.
The cafe, which opened in September, exudes a kind of country charm — a rare find in this hardscrabble city — with its eclectic assortment of wooden tables, hard-backed chairs decked with cushions and ample natural light.
The menu, with an emphasis on organic, vegan and seasonal specialties made with locally procured products, is an even scarcer commodity in these parts, where heavy, meat-laden dishes saturate the restaurant scene.
I sat on a bench with a faux-fur blanket at a table adorned with a fresh sprig of holly and sprigs of evergreen along the cafe’s tall front windows. A stack of German hardcover books and magazines was within arm’s reach. It’s a place where one can come and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee at any time, as evidenced by the frequent gurgle of the espresso machine and the constant din of chatter from groups of women doing just that.
I popped into the cafe in the late morning, hoping to catch an early lunch. The restaurant offers a revolving lineup of daily specials and I was looking forward to trying that day’s — potatoes with avocado Quark (a type of cottage cheese) and almond slices.
But I had to settle for breakfast, since lunch didn’t start until noon.
There are only a few breakfast choices. The Belgian waffle dusted with powdered sugar, always a sure bet, was tempting. But what’s the point of trying something nearly impossible to mess up? I rolled the dice and ordered “the smoothie bowl,” a choice that made my inner child go “yuck.”
The hearty concoction, the consistency of applesauce, was bright orange from the pulverized carrots, but sweet, with a hint of apples and cinnamon. It was topped with apple and clementine slices, uncooked oats, Chia seeds, shaved coconut and almonds.
I loved it. Having coupled it with a strong cappuccino, I felt ready to conquer the world.
As I watched people walk past the window, I thought this might be the secret to longevity: Extra years would certainly be gained by such a relaxing and healthy routine of camping out at Cafe Susann’s every morning, drinking cappuccino and devouring the smoothie bowl.
A nice daydream. But the reality isn’t so bad, either, since I can return any time. I hope to go back to try some of the daily specials, which during the week I visited included potato-coconut soup, vegetable lasagna, minestrone soup, a winter salad and curry. A Flammkuchen night was also scheduled.
The cafe offers a wide selection of warm drinks, including, during the holiday season, homemade Gluehwein and Lumumba (a liquor-laced hot chocolate), as well as a variety of cakes. Despite a bloated belly from the fiber-rich smoothie bowl, I managed to stuff in a piece of chocolate cake with a creamy frosting studded with cranberries. It probably canceled out the health benefits from the smoothie bowl, but it was well worth it.
Directions: Cafe Susann is located in the pedestrian zone in downtown Kaiserslautern, behind the Stiftskirche and past the Central City Cinemas on Osterstrasse 7.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. There are occasional late evenings; check the website for information.
Food: The cafe offers breakfast and daily specials. Breakfast includes Belgian waffles, a plate of meat and cheese cuts with bread, and a “smoothie bowl” with fruit, vegetables and nuts. See the website for a list of specials. The cafe emphasizes organic and fresh offerings and the menu changes seasonally. Many of the selections are vegan. An array of hot drinks, juices and wine is also available.
Attire: Come as you are.
Menu: In German but wait staff members speak English and are very helpful.