Local business owner Heidi Schaefer hopes her new shop on Lincoln Avenue, Heidi's Little Switzerland, entices customers with a wide variety of sandwiches and European deli meats.

Photo by Brian Ray

Local business owner Heidi Schaefer hopes her new shop on Lincoln Avenue, Heidi's Little Switzerland, entices customers with a wide variety of sandwiches and European deli meats.

Swiss deli opens doors downtown

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— With this weekend's opening of Heidi's Little Switzerland, owner Heidi Schaefer is continuing a dream her father started in California 35 years ago.

Her Swiss deli and future "biergarten" on Lincoln Avenue is a transplanted reopening of her father's former business, which he named after his young daughter when it opened in 1972.

"A Swiss deli entails German and Swiss meats and cheeses and traditional items on the menu such as bratwurst, knockwurst, veal loaf," Schaefer said. In addition to sandwiches, Heidi's Little Switzerland will sell fresh bakery breads and serve as a mini-market for Swiss products.

Schaefer also plans to open a biergarten in January, to be called the Eidelweiss Beer Haus. She first must acquire a liquor license and complete renovations in the business's basement. Heidi's Little Switzerland is in the Pioneer Building at 737 Lincoln Ave.

When her father passed away last April, Schaefer felt the time was right to reopen the business in his memory. The new location in Steamboat Springs shares some of the signage and design elements of the original Heidi's Little Switzerland, as well as some of her father's memorabilia.

"All the signs we have for this shop are the original signs," Schaefer said.

Even beyond its history, Heidi's Little Switzerland is

clearly a family affair - Schaefer's three children have helped her get the space ready to open, and her mother will relocate to Steamboat Springs at the end of the year to help run the business.

Schaefer's family had been coming to Steamboat Springs for years on ski trips, and she knew this was where she wanted to open her business, she said.

Schaefer came to Steamboat in September to attend a course at the Small Business Resource Center at Colorado Mountain College and to inquire about commercial space at Alpenglow and Howelsen Place, two mixed-use developments still under construction in downtown.

But while in town, she saw that the former location of Metropolitan Mudd Coffee Co. was for rent, and she fell in love with the available space.

"The location : and the character in the place, I just couldn't pass it up," Schaefer said.

However, the change in real estate plans forced her to move up the grand opening from May 2008 to last Friday, and it put her family through a whirlwind relocation from Atlanta.

While much of the menu at Heidi's Little Switzerland will appeal to many customers, some Swiss delicacies - such as beef tongue loaf and headcheese - may be reserved for those with a more discerning palate.

"The beef tongue is going to be primarily for your hardcore Europeans," Schaefer said. "You'll just have to try it."

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