Just five miles east of the sandy shores and fishing piers of Redondo Beach sits a small Germanesque village that looks as if it should be dusted with snow and the Alps peeking above it. This slice of Germany is Torrance’s Alpine Village, a small shopping center and restaurant that opened in 1968.
Alpine Village is the brain child of two German immigrants, Joseh Bischof and Johann “Hans” Rotter, who arrived in America in the 1950s. Rotter had purchased a former landfill and revamped it into a soccer field with room to spare. Inspired by a visit to the quaint Danish themed town of Solvang, Bischof wanted to build a place inspired by his homeland, so he and Rotter teamed up to build the Alpine Village.
Over the course of several years, and four different architects later, a small village inspired by the ski chalets of the Alpine area rose from the former dump. The area became a destination for German immigrants, tourists, and locals wanting to find unique trinkets and food. At one point boasted a cinema, candy shop, perfume shop, jeweler, card shop, a pancake restaurant, and even a petting zoo. The large restaurant on site became the “Home of Oktoberfest” and would go on to become the oldest Oktoberfest in California. The biggest lure is the Alpine Market, a small grocery store full of European imported food, of course with a focus on German goods, complete with butcher shop, house made pastries, bread, and cakes. Nearly half of the store is dedicated to wine and beer, which shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise.
In the 1980s and 90s the Alpine Village was a popular spot. The restaurant expanded to serve 600 Bavarian hungry and beer thirsty guests. Despite the quaint village, market, and restaurants, the land still had room to spare, and eventually part of it became home to a permanent swap meet.
In 2019 the property went up for sale, and rumors circulated it was to become a warehouse and trucking facility. Locals fought the save the faux European village for destruction, and it resulted in the Alpine Village receiving historic landmark status, thus being saved from the bulldozer. In spring of 2020, amid the fight for landmark status, the beer stopped flowing at the once large and popular restaurant. Apparently it had been losing money for years, and it shuttered. In the fall of the same year, the Alpine Village received its historic landmark status. Those wanting to grab a bite still can at the smaller Deli Cafe that is attached to the Alpine Market.
Today, faux Bavarian town is home to a chapel, a few antique shops, gift shops, the LA Turners Museum, a book shop, and a few services, including a a clock repair, salon, dentist, party rental, travel agency (who specializes in travel to Germany) and shoe shop that’s been there since the Alpine Village opened, of course in addition to the market and cafe.
Visit California’s little piece of Germany at the Alpine Village located at 833 W. Torrance Boulevard in Torrance. Please visit Alpine Village’s website for more details. As the Alpine Village is made up of multiple businesses, each individual business has their own hours.
January 2023 UPDATE: Sadly, the Alpine Market’s Deli Cafe has closed.
Jacket: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Holly Brooch: Match Accessories (I’m wearing an older version)
Blouse: Freddies of Pinewood (sadly the style is no longer offered)
Scarf & Shoes: ???
Purse: I think this was one of my dad’s finds. I can’t remember, I’ve had it for so long now!