Hutte Swiss Restaurant, Helvetia, WV by Natalie Seabolt Dobson – Fiction Editor
There’s no easy way to get the Hutte. It’s at least an hour and a half trek of winding road and steep mountain decline off the interstate no matter how you look at it. This incredible, unique Swiss restaurant is nestled in the town of Helvetia, West Virginia. The town itself was settled by Swiss-German immigrants in 1869, and most of the residents there can trace their ancestry directly back to those first settlers. The Hutte is currently owned and operated by Eleanor Mailloux, who is a direct descendant herself. The restaurant is in the original home place of her family, complete with wooden floors and planked wooden ceiling. The house is full of antiques and traditional Swiss culture which provides an opportunity for conversation and wonder.
The menu offers authentic Swiss food including Sourbraten, Bratwurst, baked ham, roasted chicken, and the Hutte’s own homemade sausage patties, which clearly fall into the secret recipe category. To go along with the entrees are Helvetia-made cheese with freshly baked bread, Swiss potatoes, vegetables, and salad with the Hutte’s own house dressing which comes to you in a small container with a
spoon so that you can continue to stir the ingredients. Eating here makes me feel like I’m eating in the kitchen of a friend’s grandmother.
The Hutte offers seasonal desserts, such as the Cherry Tart, but keeps one main dish available all year: Peach cobbler. But before you yawn, you should understand that this is like no other cobbler you’ve ever tasted. Its warm cake-like middle is filled with soft peaches and it comes to you drizzled with real whipped cream and cinnamon. It is nothing short of divine and makes for the perfect ending to dinner.
It is clear that those who are willing to travel to the Hutte get their reward many times over. All the employees treat you as if you’re family, and the warm smile of Eleanor Mailloux is a treat in itself. On a recent visit, while waiting for dinner, I helped Eleanor and a friend find the correct spelling for “vignette” in an ancient dictionary. We discussed a little of the intricacies of the English language while she rocked in her chair. The snow was falling and the warmth of the wood stove radiated through the restaurant. I thought of the families that had lived and grown up in the house, and all the families that visit it everyday. The house itself offers its heart to you when you visit. Eating at the Hutte is an unforgettable, one of a kind experience.
Daily life is slow there in the mountains. The town’s population is only about 65, and the Hutte doesn’t event take credit cards. But don’t worry—if you don’t have cash or can’t write them a check, they’ll let you mail it to them. They tell me they’ve never been stiffed—not even once.
Helvetia, West Virginia
Dinner Check: $$
Hours: Every day Noon-7 p.m.