Alpine Steakhouse: A staple of Sarasota’s restaurant community for nearly half a century has emerged from intensive renovation with a new look and fresh outlook.
SRQ Review | April 2022
Owner Matt Rebhan and his family welcome meat lovers to Sarasota’s oldest steakhouse restaurant, meat market (butcher) and small specialty grocery store – all under one roof
A restaurant renovation had been on the back burner for years at Alpine Steakhouse. But after a family tragedy, followed directly by a global pandemic, Matt Rebhan was finally ready to move on. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but it was put on hold for a number of reasons,” says Rebhan, whose infant son, Logan, died of cancer after a year-and-a-half battle in March. 2020. “We just decided it was time to move on this summer.”
A staple of the Sarasota restaurant community since 1975 (and the Florida home of the TurDucKen), Alpine has now emerged with a new look and fresh outlook. “Any business that’s been around for nearly 50 years and still doing well is truly an accomplishment,” says Rebhan. “Of course, we couldn’t have done it without our loyal clientele, some of whom have been coming for 47 to 48 years.” The last few years have certainly been among the most difficult. “In this city, there is so much growth that places can be neglected and ignored if no effort is made to maintain and improve it,” says Rebhan. With this in mind, the Alpine team has redone its meat display cases, its toilets and its floor in front of the house. Still under construction, an air-conditioned wine cellar (for more than 600 bottles) should be completed soon.
Today, the restaurant’s past – which began with revolutionary New York butcher Karl Ehmer before Rebhan’s grandfather Henry took over (it’s still a father-son operation with Mark and Matt Rebhan) – merges with his hopeful present. Alpine is the first and only location in Florida that sells fresh TurDucKen, a Cajun dish consisting of a boneless whole turkey stuffed with a boneless whole chicken, a boneless whole duck, and a mix of sausages and dressing seasoned. Also on the menu are dry-aged steaks, braised duck confit, traditional German specialties like wienerschnitzel and sauerbraten, Japanese Kobe burgers and New York reubens. “We are grateful for the past and the present,” says Rebhan, “and optimistic about the future.”