A radio commercial around christmas is what originally brought me to The Alpine Wurst and Meat House and Restaurant for the first time. My parents had just retired and moved out to the Poconos and determined to make a classic german holiday dinner. After finishing my last time of christmas shopping and trying to find my way back to their house, I was flipping through the radio stations when I heard an ad talking about a local wurst house that made their own sausages and had a restaurant attached. Oddly enough, one of the things that I was still unable to find for my Königsberger Klopse recipe was loose pork and veal meat. So it was an amazing charlie brown christmas moment to have the location of exactly where to find that land right in my lap. It was also exciting to know something like this existed close to my parents new house. A place holding onto Pennsylvania’s german heritage.
So to be fair, this out of the way place has a special little place in my heart (all be a only a few year old one). That’s why it’s also the furthest bierhall/restaurant I’ll be crawling to (as I made an NYC metro area exemption, being that it’s about 2 and half hours from the city).
Some people might notice one thing off the bat about their menu. Yeah, they only have 3 beers on tap generally (although they have a large collection of bottles), but I think most of that has to due with their more remote location. Plus their focus isn’t on the drinking, it’s on the eating, so at least the three they have are strong basics. Their walls are covered in german kitsch, including cuckoo clocks and Hummel figurines, but the focus on good home-cooked food. yes these aren’t new twists on old favorites, these are more the recipes your grandmother would use with standard ingredients. Standard Americanized German comfort food. All this adds up to the fact that the Alpine Inn is more of a family restaurant then you might find else where (especially compared to the NYC bierhalls I’ve been to as of yet).
The liver dumpling soup is a cold Pennsylvania winter treat. The herring is fresh tasting. The wursts are great. The Kassler Rippchen (a house smoked pork chop with a ham like flavor) is fantastic, and the portions are generally pretty huge. I find the further outside of the city you go, the larger the plates tend to be, which goes hand in hand with the people being larger as well. All and all a meal here is a great time to be had in the Pocono Mountains. However its not really their restaurant that is my favorite part of The Alpine, their market is.
The entire front part of the store, before you get into the restaurant, is a dedicated german market with a full scale butcher. Much like a rural version of Manhattan’s Schaller & Weber (which still has a write up to come). And like that famed meat market, they also make their own specialty meats. In fact most places I’ve found in the area that serve sausages, serve Alpine made sausages. I’ve tried many of their meats (including their smoke duck bacon which sadly I have yet to find there again), their deli salads, as well as their homemade desserts that they sell in a baked goods they sell in a smaller glass counter up front. I’m a big fan of the beehive cake, a layered flakey cake with cream and honey. Their freezer and dry good shelves are also stocked with german and eastern european products. One of the things my parents always pick up there is a loaf of Lithuanian dark bread (which I found out is made in Queens, and oddly the smoked salmon they carry is from Acme Smoked Fish which is on the same street as my apartment).
All in all this place is a hub of German culture in the area. They host a large Oktoberfest, a weekly wurst buffet night, and according to their site they even process your deer meat. Find a place in NYC that will do that! So if you find yourself out at Ceasar’s or Mount Airy Lodge for a borscht belt comedy show, be sure to stop by this gem. It’s culturally family islands like this one that used to make eating in this country great, before Chili’s and TGIFs took over most people’s idea of a dinner out.