Nestled in between Anker restaurant and Burton’s Books is a Swiss-Italian cozy spot. Walking inside is like entering a chalet tucked in the Swiss Alps. The bar is long, black and sleek. The walls are covered in wood paneling. Light fixtures and shelving have industrial details with exposed bulbs and red metal piping. The tables are made of slate and wood and the chairs have a chalet-like shape.
Alpina is the latest venture of Green Hill Group, the hospitality company that also owns Green Hill Kitchen and Que and Anker. Before Alpina, they ran the restaurant Industry Standard in the same space. This new eatery is first and foremost a wine bar, although it also has a full menu of cozy dishes.
The menu is split into five sections with four to five dishes in each. The toasts section, full of various delectable crostinis, includes chicken liver pate and cheese toast, which is so much more than the name. Cherry mostarda is layered on a thick and crusty slab of sourdough, while melty raclette cheese is smothered on top. The small plates section includes a melon salad with creamy goat cheese and basil and a piedmontese beef tartare, farm egg and chardonnay vinegar.
The mains are split into two sections, pasta and large plates. All of the pastas are handmade. The agnolotti are stuffed with veal and made cacio e pepe style. The orecchiette with clams and emmental — an Alpine cheese, naturally — is a must try. The large plates feature meats and fish, one of which is the duck breast with hazelnuts and grape mostarda. There’s also a sides section, dessert section and an entire menu for cheese and charcuterie.
“The biggest challenge for me at least was trying to figure out how to play with all these different flavors in the Alps during the summer,” said George Musho, Alpina’s chef. The menu definitely leans on the heavier side, but smaller portion sizes and elements like the mostardas lighten everything up. “I just hope people are happy and come in and actually enjoy themselves,” Musho added.
The food is only one part of the new eatery. It’s hard to miss the giant selection of wines sitting behind the bar when you walk in, and if you do, the long wine list will certainly remind you. If you’re a little overwhelmed, aim for the flights. Four Swiss or Italian wines will be poured at your table so you can get a taste of everything. If you do venture into their wine list, almost all of the selections are Italian and Swiss.
These two concepts — Italian food and a wine bar — are exactly what the team at Green Hill Group wanted to bring to Greenport.
“There’s no Italian, and there’s no wine,” Brendan Spiro, general manager, said. They also wanted their next restaurant to incorporate the Swiss heritage of the owners, Christoph and Robin Mueller. “One of the reasons why we did this concept was to bring Christoph’s DNA into the place,” Spiro continued. Alpina is modeled after the Ticino region of Switzerland, a temperate Italian-speaking region of the country that borders Italy. They wanted it to feel like Europe in cuisine, drink and ambience.
“We believe when ownership has a vested stake in the concept and the ideation of a property, it somehow lives and breathes a little more authentic,” Spiro said.
Alpina is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday 12 p.m. to midnight and Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.