| Message Board
Foodways: Fast Facts
Town with German Character
Frankenmuth’s German look and feel is not an accident. Frankenmuth
was founded by immigrants from modern-day Germany in the 1800s.
But the first German-inspired architecture didn’t appear
until the 1950s as part of a concerted effort to attract visitors
after the town was bypassed by Interstate 75. William Zehnder
Jr. led this effort. His vision came to reality in 1958 when he
hosted the first Bavarian Festival to celebrate his German-style
remodeling of the Bavarian
Inn. Today, ordinances protect the German integrity and character
of the small town.
Frankenmuth’s German character and chicken dinners helped
put the town on the map. But what does chicken have to do with
town’s famous chicken dinners predate Frankenmuth’s
German theme. The tradition started at Zehnder’s
(formerly the Exchange Hotel) and Fischers (currently the Bavarian
Inn) prior to World War II. Both built a formidable reputation
for providing premium poultry fried to perfection. As Frankenmuth
adopted a German persona in the late 1950s, both restaurants kept
their family-style chicken dinners and combined them with authentic
German fare for a unique culinary combination.
7, 2007 - Jan. 27, 2008
Key Ingredients Michigan Foodways. Frankenmuth
Historical Museum, Frankenmuth.
7, 2007 - Dec. 7, 2008
"American Menus" - Discussion and comparison of regional
restaurant menus throughout the US (using actual menus). Traveling
presentation, by appointment. Frankenmuth.
Site: Frankenmuth Historical Museum
613 S. Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
email: fhadirector [at]