The Owners of This Historic Restaurant Built Into the Alps Are Selling It

Aug 21, 2018

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The current managers of the historic and world famous Äscher restaurant, nestled into a remote side of the Alps in Switzerland, have decided to leave the quaint eatery.

Nicole and Bernhard Knechtle-Fritsche, who have run Äscher since 2014 announced they were calling it quits because the massive influx of tourists combined with the historic building’s failing infrastructure and limited room for improvements (it is built into a mountainside, after all) have made running the restaurant a nuisance for them.

It’s not clear if any limitations will be placed on the number of tourists who can visit the restaurant in the future.

Wildkirchli and Aescher in Appenzell. (Photo by: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images)
Wildkirchli and Aescher in Appenzell. (Photo by: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images.)

Äscher was relatively unknown and only popular with locals in the northeastern Swiss town where it sits until the picturesque building was featured on the cover of National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime issue in 2014. Since then, there has been a relentless torrent of tourists visiting the building from around the globe.

“A well-known consequence of this success is the fact that the infrastructure of the building cannot keep up with the growing number of visitors,” the managers wrote in a statement. “There are constant shortages in terms of space requirements and water and electricity supply, which could intensify in future.”

The 170-year-old restaurant is a historic heritage site and is located near archeological sites, including three caves that hold prehistoric remains. Therefore, the amount of renovations possible are even further limited. But, the organization that owns the building, the Wildkirchli Foundation, promised it would do some minor improvements on the structure this fall. Those changes would improve food storage but would not implement other modern conveniences such as running water.

Äscher is only accessible by local cable car and a short walk from the Swiss town of Wasserauen.

Wildkirchli cave in Appenzell. (Photo by: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images)
Wildkirchli cave in Appenzell. (Photo by: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images.)

The current managers have said they will leave Äscher at the end of the restaurant’s season, which runs from May to November 1. After they exit, Wildkirchli Foundation has said it will advertise the lease in local press.

The foundation’s president, Stefan Müller, said anyone with hospitality experience can apply for the lease, but they should “know what they are getting into.”

H/T: The Local

Featured image by Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images.

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