From the hills of central Italy to the mountains of Pocahontas County, Alpine Ristorante brings hearty eats to hardy skiers.
When Bill Treadway and Tom Greene, co-owners of the popular Snowshoe steakhouse South Mountain Grille, began thinking of opening a second restaurant, they took a look around the wintertime destination’s dining scene and realized something was missing. There was no place where hungry skiers could tuck into a big plate of shrimp scampi or veal marsala.
But Treadway and Greene did not want to open an American-style Italian place, with red sauce and checkered tablecloths. “We didn’t want the focus to be on unlimited breadsticks and pasta. We wanted to focus on steaks and seafoods,” Treadway says. They wanted to open a Tuscan-style restaurant. “Tuscan food is hallmarked by fresh ingredients and simple preparation,” he says.
They began working to open the new restaurant, dubbed Alpine Ristorante, in the former home of Snowshoe’s long-closed fine dining establishment Red Fox. They also started looking for a chef with some experience in Italian cuisine. The hunt didn’t take long.
Ed Shuttleworth had served as Snowshoe’s head chef from 2000 to 2005. By 2014 he was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—working in an Italian restaurant. “When my family and I left, we missed the mountain so much,” he says. “I’d heard there was an opportunity and I reached out to (Kim Guiden, then chef at South Mountain Grille). One thing led to another and I moved within a month.”
The restaurant opened Christmas Day 2014. Word quickly spread that Shuttleworth was back on the mountain and cooking up top-notch food. “We use the freshest ingredients I can possibly buy in West Virginia. We cut up your own meat. We break down all of our own fish,” he says. “We make our own meatballs, we make all our own sauces. By this winter we’ll be making 100 percent of all of our own desserts.”
Shuttleworth unveiled several new dishes when the restaurant opened for the 2016-2017 winter season on December 9, including an Italian take on the southern classic shrimp and grits. The dish features North Carolina jumbo shrimp, prosciutto ham, peppers, onions, gorgonzola cheese, and, instead of grits, Shuttleworth uses polenta. “We did it as a special last year and every time we did, it sold very, very well,” he says.
Also debuting this season is Alpine’s veal carbonara, which features veal sauteed with prosciutto and peas in a light cream sauce. And diners are sure to love the brand-new Crab Cake Italiano made with fresh lump crab, goat cheese, sauteed spinach, and sundried tomatoes, “just to give it that Italian aspect,” Shuttleworth says.
Not everything on the menu changes year to year, however. “There are a few items we keep on our menu because they’re the things people keeping coming back for,” Shuttleworth says. That includes dishes like Alpine’s lasagna. The dish begins with a house-made bolognese sauce, made of ground pork, beef, veal, garlic, onions, and San Marzano tomatoes. The sauce is then layered with pasta and six different cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, ricotta, romano, and asiago. “It’s just a great hearty winter dish,” Shuttleworth says.
Treadway says he only has one problem with his and Greene’s newest venture—everything is so good, he has a hard time deciding what to order. “I think my favorite thing is the specials. You never know what Chef Ed is going to do,” he says.
The restaurant will remain open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the slopes close at Snowshoe, tentatively scheduled for the last week of March depending on weather conditions.
After the snow season, the restaurant is also open Thursday through Sunday between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, with a menu that features lighter dishes and smaller portions.