F-r-a-n-k-e-n-m-u-t-h ! That’s what we used to shout out on the drive north on I-75 as we neared our destination and saw those giant billboards telling us we were getting closer. Frankenmuth and all it has to offer is a Michigan tradition. Some may find the Bavarian village, re-created in the middle of the thumb area of Michigan, a little hokey. I find it charming. From the glockenspiel in the middle of town to the stollen bread on the tables before dinner, I love all the quirks and small town charm of this Michigan landmark.
There are two restaurants in town, Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s. Some visitors prefer one over the other and are adamant in their choice. I’ve eaten at both. They both serve traditional fried chicken dinners and German specialties, like pork, weiner schnietzel and homemade Bavarian sausages. Both regularly have lines and suggest reservations. Both are kitschy, yet fabulous. From the family style service to the lederhosen the wait staff must endure, the ambience is well-entrenched and over-the-top.
You can walk off your meal by shopping at the quaint stores that line the streets or you can head over to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. That’s right. In the middle of a July heat wave, you can search for that perfect holiday ornament in their impressive collection of over 50,000 Christmas decorations.
The next time you are heading north, skip the drive-thru. Pull into Frankenmuth and enjoy not only an amazing meal on the road, but also a little piece of Bavaria right in our own backyard.