Postcard 5: Alpine Alpa cheese shop, Ohio

Here’s a nice chrome card of “Alpine Alpa Restaurant – Cheese Chalet” on US 30 between Massillon and Wooster. It was built by Elmer and Ethel Detweiler in 1961 and opened the next year. Note that the sign differs from the above name, calling it Alpine Alpa Cheese and Coffee Shop. A matching card shows the couple inside.

OH_Alpine Alpa

The additions to the bottom of the sign are funny now – one of them must have said, “We need to point out that we’re a Gourmet Shop.” The other replied, “And tell people we’re air conditioned too.”

A later card shows the building greatly expanded with a landscaped fountain. They announced that all 15 cheese varieties came from their own factories, with Hans and Alice Grossniklaus the cheese specialists. It had become “Ohio’s Show Place of Cheesemaking.”

The business is apparently long gone, but the nearby Alpine Homestead restaurant and Swiss market on US 62 between Wilmot and Winesburg was the inspiration for this one. According to its web site, that restaurant was built in 1935 by the Grossniklaus couple as the Alpine Alpa, 25 years before the above one. (New owners renamed it in 2002.) It’s best known for having the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock – 23 feet tall. UPDATE: The name was just modified again to Grandma’s Alpine Homestead & Swiss Village: short history here and check the owner’s bios.

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5 thoughts on “Postcard 5: Alpine Alpa cheese shop, Ohio

  1. By present standards, an “Air Conditioned” sign is kind of funny (virtually every restaurant is.) But this was 1961.

    Remember when motels had roadside signs promoting “FREE TV”?

  2. Yes I know, just having some fun with it. Actually, I own a couple coin-op motel radios – hard to believe now, but almost no one had a portable in 1940 or ’50. I imagine pay movies in rooms could eventually fade too as people watch what they want on a laptop.

  3. The Alpine Alpa Restaurant was originally across the highway from me, Brian. It is now a rental place, the building was just torn down a year ago and replaced with a showroom. I believe it is where the Grossniklaus’ first made their Baby Swiss cheese. They sold it to the Elmer and Elsie Steiner family from Dalton, and became Steiner’s Swiss Chalet, a restaurant which sold a bit of Swiss Cheese. Had many good meals there and Mrs. Steiner’s Peach Custard pie was to die for. Interesting to find your card about it. Alice moved her whole operation to the Rt. 62 location.

  4. The Alpine Alpa Restaurant on Ohio Route 62 in Wilmot, later known as Grandma’s Alpine Restaurant when bought by new owners in 2002, closed in 2009 and everything was auctioned off, including the big cuckoo clock, which is now in the nearby Swiss-themed town of Sugarcreek awaiting restoration and installation. The really nifty alpine building which was the restaurant still sits, looking sadly shabby, with a ‘for sale or lease’ sign.

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