The internet giveth, and the internet taketh away.
When Nicole and Bernhard Knechtle-Fritsche took over northeast Switzerland’s hyper-picturesque Äscher restaurant in 2014, it began attracting travel bloggers and Instagram influencers in droves. But dealing with the day-to-day has gotten surprisingly chaotic for such a remote business, and the pair are ready to pass the torch on to new management.
The 170-year-old restaurant used to be the domain of locals, where diners could enjoy beer, rösti (potato fritters) and regional specialities. Then the tourists came. What else do you expect to happen when a place gets named among the most interesting restaurants in the world by Huffington Post and barely a year later graces the cover of Nat Geo’s “Destinations of a Lifetime” book?
Ascher (3 images)
The problem, as you might guess with a super-remote, aging building in the Alps, is that it isn’t made to accomodate an internet’s worth of people. The accelerated traffic has caused the infra to decay quickly, but its protected status and hard-to-access locale make improvements and upgrades limited. Something else boosting visitation? The spot’s proximity to the prehistoric Wildkirchli caves. All this has lead to heavy wear-and-tear on the site and its structures.
The restaurant’s season runs from May to November 4th, at which point the current owners will leave their post for good. If you’re feeling ambitious, you have several months to prepare for next year’s season. But note the departing manager’s words: “The infrastructure of the building cannot keep up with the growing number of visitors. There are constant shortages in terms of space requirements and water and electricity supply, which could intensify in future.”
How do you say “caveat emptor” in German?