It’s Tom & Jerry Time at the Alpha

   It is a yummy, warming, 129-year-old Wapakoneta tradition
you just won’t want to miss!

The secret recipe for the Tom and Jerry cocktails served at the Alpha Café during the holidays dates back to 1893. Alpha owner Tony Steinke, who purchased the business in 2004 from his grandfather, says every Tom and Jerry cocktail is made to order.

Generations of locals have made this special holiday treat an annual tradition. Taste one and you’ll know why. Served in a coffee mug, Tom & Jerrys are warm, contain alcohol and are also sweet, frothy and have just the right touch of holiday spice.

The Alpha Café has been operating in downtown Wapakoneta for nearly 130 years. The Alpha itself is a beloved institution; from the friendly service to the daily lunch specials, its longevity is steeped in rich tradition. Steinke’s family has owned the Alpha Café for more than 80 of its 130 years.

Architecturally it is a fascinating blend of antique and mid-century modern. The back bar was built in 1893 by Brunswick Balke Collender Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. It is 24-foot-long and is made of hand-carved white oak. The wall on the opposite side of the bar is lined with a matching 8-foot tall wainscoting with arched mirrors and the same intricate carvings. A column supporting a leaded glass partition sits at the end of the bar. It is simply stunning!

Past the bar area, you’ll find the lunch counter. Added in 1962, this diner-style counter with stationary round swivel stools sits in front of the grill and serving counter. You can watch as your food comes hot off the grill. The side wall of the lunch counter area is also lined with booths for that real ’60s diner feel.

Stop by the Alpha Café at 7 E. Auglaize Street, Wapakoneta, Ohio and enjoy the food, appreciate the history, admire the architecture and savor the tastiest 129-year-old tradition you’ll ever try. But don’t wait too long; this holiday treat will be gone before the new year arrives!   You can check out more Grand Lake Region holiday traditions at

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