Frankenmuth, MI- It’s Michigan’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s home to fried chicken dinners. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. It can only be one place: Frankenmuth! I think everyone in Michigan has a favorite memory of this iconic Bavarian village, as it’s on most Michigander’s must visit list. I loved coming here for chicken dinners as a kid, and my own kids now beg me to bring them too. In fact, they are willing to drive 2 1/2 hours EACH WAY just to have dinner here.
The Bavarian Inn Restaurant is one of the iconic hotels and restaurants in Frankenmuth. It’s also one of the largest independently owned restaurants in the COUNTRY. Still owned by the Zehnder family, the Inn has three generations working every day. Dorothy Zehnder is the very sassy matriarch of this family, and she still heads in and cooks most days. She’s known for her fantastic pies. She’s going to celebrate her 94th birthday this December. Yes, that’s correct. She’s 94!
Doesn’t she look fantastic? I loved hearing about the history of the Bavarian Inn, and how the whole operation is truly a family affair. I can only hope that I can still work as hard as she does when I’m that age!
In addition to the main restaurant, and the over 40 different shops at the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, they also have another restaurant called Michigan on Main. Focused on Michigan products, the menu is much more diverse than just chicken dinner. Everything from burgers to pasta can be found, with updated flavors and presentations.
Of course, I was most impressed with the beer list! 17 different taps, featuring all Michigan beers, ciders and meads. They had offerings from Kuhnhenn, Short’s, Dark Horse, Perrin, Griffin Claw, Paw Paw, Roak, Atwater, 51 North, Cheboygan, and our pick for beer of the week, Hideout Brewing. I know, I know, we go all the way to Frankenmuth to pick a beer from Grand Rapids? That’s exactly why we picked it! We loved that they had one of Grand Rapids smaller breweries on tap, and as soon as I saw this beer I KNEW that John would love it.
Hideout Brewing just celebrated their 10 year anniversary. If you check out their beer catalog, they have a huge offering of tons of different beers. On tap at the Bavarian when we visited was their Vanilla Cheesecake Nitro Stout. Now I knew that John would love this beer because he loves stouts, but especially ones with notes of chocolate and vanilla. This one was extra creamy because it was on nitro, which I always feel is the best way to serve a stout. It comes in at 6.0% ABV and a low 17 IBU’s.
One of the coolest things at Michigan on Main is the amazing video WALL OF BEER. Located above the bar is a huge flat screen TV that lists all of the beers on tap, how much is left of each one, and what’s coming up next. It’s super cool!
So if you head on over to Frankenmuth this season for some shopping or family time, book a room at the Bavarian Inn. Enjoy the water park at the Inn. Have at least one chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Then for something new, and for an amazing craft beer list, stop by Michigan on Main.