Dorothy Zehnder Turns 88

6 Nov


ZehnderBavarian Inn’s Dorothy Zehnder turns 88 on December 1st.  As a wonderful gift, we are asking for your help in making her birthday special by giving her the gift of memories and stories.  Please use the form below and add a comment.  We are looking for your Story, Memory, or even a comment about your experience with Dorothy.

Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy Zehnder!

Gift Dorothy Zehnder your Thoughts, Memories or Impressions…

On Dec. 1st, Dorothy Zehnder, of Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Fame, will hit a number of  wonderful milestones:

• 64 Years as a Mother
• 33 Years as a Grandmother
• 3 Years as a Great Grandmother
• 70 Years of kitchen duty – Prepared 10’s of millions of chicken dinners
• Has given her life of love to family and friends for 32,120 days
• Still works in the kitchen 6 days a week

Share your past memories with Dorothy.  We will paste and print out a memory book for Dorothy from all who are willing to share at any of these sites. Tell us where you are from; when you first visited and anything you feel Dorothy will enjoy hearing from you and your family!  Whether you recently visited for the first time or have been coming for 50 years, share the details with Dorothy!

Thank you in advance for sharing & making Dorothy’s 88th Birth Day a truly memorable occasion!

Shhhhh!  Don’t tell Dorothy, this is a suprise on her birthday!

If you would like to participate in this wonderful gift please use the form below.

To read more about the her Bavarian Inn History, click here.


367 Responses to “Dorothy Zehnder Turns 88”

  1. Joseph Devanand November 10, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    Dear Dorothy Zehnder,

    Many, many happy returns of the Day.

    I know that I am unknown to you. But I know you well. Not personally but through your grandson,Michael.
    I am from India. I reside at Vellore and I came to know Michael. So, this one incident happened when I met Michael.
    Michael left India for couple of weeks to Michigan. When he returned to India I asked How is your grandmother?. He replied, “Yes she is great. Now she is 83. But I did not see her as she was busy going for work.” I was really wonder stuck by his statement “how come a women in her eighties go for work?.”
    So,I asked him, “why she goes to work in this age?”.
    Michael Smiled and replied “JOSEPH, I COME FROM COUNTRY WHERE PEOPLE WORK!”
    This statement really changed my life style. My entire life style. I started working as though I am always young. I learned and cultivated habit of working any time a day. It changed my opinion towards working.
    My dear Grand Mom, You are always young and will remain in my heart when ever I work.
    Now I don’t have any contact with Michael but the words he stated is always in my mind when I feel Lazy.
    Great Birthday GrandMom.

    Joseph Devanand
    Business Development
    Anadocs IT Solution,
    chennai, India.

    • bavarianinn November 10, 2009 at 8:22 am #

      Thank you for adding your story. I hope your story is a start or more to come. Thank you.

    • Benjamin M. Piechocki November 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

      I will be turning 44 on December 16th. For 44 years I have been coming to your restaurant thanks to my parents. My parents are in their 70’s and have also enjoyed your restaurant since they were children.I have continued the tradition with my children who are now 20 and 17.I know that they will keep the tradition alive. I would just like to say to you thank you for all of your years of service! I just ate at your restaurant on November 14th and it was just great.
      I hope you enjoy your birthday!! For all the happiness that you have given to the many people that have visited your life, You deserve a great birthday and many more.

  2. Kerstan Dahl November 10, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    I grew up in Detroit with 12 brothers and sisters in the 60’s and 70’s. It was always a special treat to go to Frankenmuth and Bavarian Inn. The excitement was hard to contain as we drove up I-75 in 2 cars. I’m sure my Mother was just as excited, not having to cook for 15 for a Sunday dinner. As we grew older we would take our own families to Bavarian Inn and walk through the town, visiting the small shops. Our visits to Frankenmuth are filled with great memories that still come up in family conversations years later. Now we live in Colorado, but when we visit Michigan, we try to have a “small” family reunion with dinner in Frankenmuth reliving the great experiences we have enjoyed for our entire lives. Happy Birthday Dorothy, You have created many great and memorable moments for us and our families.

    Kerstan and Jeanette Dahl

    • bavarianinn November 10, 2009 at 11:11 am #

      Thank you so much for your story. We hope to see you soon in the future when you come visit Michigan again.

  3. Lynn Klammer November 10, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    I have many memories of Dorothy–from when I worked as a waitress, and also from the many times I was at the Inn as a guest. What stands out from them all however, is what a hard worker Dorothy was when I worked at the Inn. Dorothy could have been out in the dining rooms, mixing with the guests, but she was usually in the kitchen working right beside the rest of us.

    I recall one time when there was a giant party in the large dining room, and the mood was particularly hectic, Dorothy needed me for something. She came up behind me, grabbed me by the wrist, and pulled me along behind her. I’ve never forgotten thinking what a grip of steel she had for such a tiny lady!

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!

    • bavarianinn November 10, 2009 at 11:59 am #

      Thank you so much for your story. She is going to love all of these.

  4. Rhonda Ramirez November 12, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder!!
    I have been bringing my family to the Bavarian Inn since my son, Christian, was 6 weeks old. He is now 29! We visit quite often throughout the year, at least 4-5 times. We have many fond memories of the Bavarian Inn, staying overnight and eating wonderful meals at the restaurant. One day about 10 years ago or so, my husband and I were dining upstairs with our two sons, Aaron and Christian. Our waitress seemed to taking a shine to the boys and before we knew it, we were asked if we would like to take a tour of the kitchen!! We all got to see first hand, the kitchen tour and we talk about that experience to this day. When we have out of state company we always bring them to the Bavarian Inn for a delightful dinner and overall awesome experience. Thanks for the memories! See you soon!

    Rhonda and Phil Ramirez

  5. Sandra Dunnebacke November 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    My husband and I spent several memorable evenings in Frankenmuth while we were dating and spent the first few nights of our honeymoon at Bavarian Inn Lodge. We have always been enamored with the charming atmosphere, the friendly staff and city residents, and the fabulous food! We had just found out that we were expecting our first child when we spent our first anniversary at the lodge. We visited again on our second anniversary and brought our baby girl.
    The next year, we firmly established a family tradition of visiting on or near our anniversary and arrived with the happy news of a second child on the way!
    Since then, we have visited once or twice a year. Our daughters cannot think of anywhere they’d rather spend a vacation. The restaurant and lodge are so welcoming to families with children, and that’s not something that can be said about every establishment! Our girls are 9 and 7 now, and we’ll be spending time at the lodge again next week. They’re literally counting the days!
    Thank you for the shops, the strudel and pretzel classes, the arcades, the gorgeous decorations, the traditional costumes, the flowers, and everything else that you so tirelessly do to make our little vacations so memorable. I get choked up when I think about the memories we are building with our little girls, and how priceless those memories already are and will continue to be. When I’m an old lady, I’ll always have those memories.
    Dorothy, I hope your memories are also as precious. Congratulations on building such a worthy legacy for your family!

  6. Steve Edwards November 12, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    Thank you for your great hotel and the wonderful meals. We have so many great family memories at your hotel and restuarant.

  7. Mary Price November 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,
    Happy Birthday! You have no idea who I am, but I have been a loyal customer for years. You have given me so many memories. My father used to bring me here when I was just a kid (and I am 45 now). It was so special. You see, my dad has 7 children, and I was the last. I came 8 years after my mom thought she was done at 6 kids. He used to take me, just me, to your restaurant. It was just me and him. We talked and laughed. He always told me he brought me because I was the only one of his kids who liked the chicken livers. I knew it was more than that. I love my dad, and he is 85 and in failing health in Florida. What I wouldn’t give for one more dinner at Zehnders with him. But my husband and I make the drive up often, and spend time with our families making new memories. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your hospitality to all those you don’t even know. And God Bless you. Mary Price

  8. Timothy Montowski November 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder,
    I have been coming to Frankenmuth since I was born. I am now 43. A few years back I was deployed to the Middle East with The United States Coast Guard. Upon my return, I told my 2 boys I want to take them on a trip, anywhere in the world. They both smiled and said “The Bavarian Inn” in Frankenmuth. My wife was hoping for Hawaii, but she was just as happy. Thank you for assisting me with carrying on the memories and traditions of my family. Change nothing!
    See you soon and God Bless.

    Timothy Montowski
    US Coast Guard Retired

  9. Martha Smith November 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Wishing you the very best today and always, Dorothy! #88 is indeed a milestone to treasure!! The Michigan Transition Services Association(MTSA) has a long history of memories at the Bavarian Inn with our annual conference being held there each March. (When it “lands” on St. Patrick’s Day that’s a real bonus!) Each year I look forward to the conference(fun + work ) and know that everything will be “in place” due to the care and concern of you and your staff. We have never been disappointed!! Know that you touch the lives of many people each and everyday and you do make a difference. God bless you!

  10. Barbara Koeplinger November 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    Mrs Zehnder,

    We try to stop in Frankenmuth for a chicken dinner whenever we go to Saginaw to visit my in laws. We had their 50th anniversary party in Frankenmuth as that was their favorite place to eat. My mother in law is now in a nursing home so they won’t be able to celebrate their 62nd anniversary there. My father in law eats at then nursing home every day with her and she has alzheimers. I guess we will just have to stop and bring him some one of these days.

    I spent my 65th birthday up there in September this year with a girlfriend and it was so nice to have a little birthday cake to bring home. We love the German atmosphere and friendly staff.

    What keeps you young is working, so keep it up if you can. I wish I could have continued to work too, but wasn’t able to due to an auto accient.

    Thanks for having such a wonderful place for everyone from my Red Hat members to go to, to my family and friends. I have shared a lot of memories in Frankmuth over chicken dinners. I make the special noodles at home now and my husband even eats noodles now!.

    Wishing you the best for many more years to come!

    Lee and Barbara Koeplinger – Brighton, MI

  11. Lisa Cizmar November 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm #


    Happy Birthday! What a wonderful blessing you are for opening such a beautiful hotel with fantastic meals. The memory I have of your hotel is when my teenage daughter and I was traveling and we stopped for the night at your hotel. It was a beautiful mother-daughter evening with a terrific meal, gift shop and the staff was wonderful. Something that we both remember and keep coming back to.

    Thank you again Dorothy and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed birthday!

  12. Rob Stocks November 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    I remember my first trip to your restaurant. I was around eight years old. I was with my grandparents who both came to America from Germany when my mother was three year old. We where eating in your restaurant when my grandfather who rarely showed emotion got a huge smile on his face. He got out of his seat and walked over to a nearby table where Tennesse Erine Ford sat eating. Mr. Ford was one of my grandfathers favorite singers and he got to meet him in your restaurant. Today I am thirty nine and my family and I do our best to make it to Frankenmuth and Zehnders at least once a year. My kids love it.

    Thank you for all of your time and effort,

    The Stocks Family

  13. Dr. Cathy J. Siebert November 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    From the time I was about four years old until now (and I’m not telling you how many years have elapsed in between!), celebrating family birthdays at the Bavarian Inn has been a much cherished tradition. Back in the day, it wasn’t so much the great dinner that we looked forward to–it was collecting the little glass animals that appeared on top of the yummy sherbet at the end of the meal. I believe my mom actually still has a box of those little animals stored somewhere! A lot of years have passed, but every year we still celebrate family birthdays in your wonderful restaurant. With the recent adoption by my sister of a little boy from Nepal, the tradition will now be carried on into the next generation of my family.

    On behalf of my family, thank you for the many many years of wonderful memories! We wish you an outstanding birthday with many more to celebrate!

  14. JoAnn Fischer November 12, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    My family moved to Mt. Morris, Mi. when I was one year old almost 74 years ago. My earliest memory of Frankenmuth was going there for dinner when a small child. When i became a married lady my new family went every year for Mother’s Day and Christmas holiday’s. Then as festivals were added to fun times in Frankenmuth we went even more to Frankenmuth and the 2 famous resturants owned by the Zehnders. Every Dec. I take my almost 10 year old twin great granddaughters for our free birthday dinners. As long as I’m alive and also my family will always go to Frankenmuth for holidays, birthday’s and special events.


  15. Matthew & Valerie Chandler November 12, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder! The Bavarian Inn will forever be a part of our memories because we stayed there for our honeymoon in November 2006. We will always remember how special your staff made us feel when we saw our names on your welcome marquee. We continue to visit the Bavarian Inn several times a year (love the Perks Club by the way) because of the absolutely delicious food and the friendly staff. We have been known to drive the 2-hour distance one-way just to have your wonderful chicken and schnitzel (just last weekend in fact). Thank you SO much for all that you do. You are a very special lady and we applaud you. Again, we wish you a very Happy Birthday and many more to come!

  16. Don & Pat King November 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    My husband and I first came to Bavarian Inn in either 1999 or 2000 with Croswell Tours. We didn’t stay, we ate there and we enjoyed it so much we couldn’t wait to come back. The following year we came back and joined the Perks Club where we are still a member. We have been there a number of times now. We have brought each of our children and their families at least once and some twice. We have told friends and because of that they have visited. We love staying there and would have been there earlier this year if it were not for health issues. We plan to be back next year and enjoy the wonderful ambience of our facilities. Thank you! Don & Pat King

  17. Karyn November 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    For countless years we celebrated the “Beginning” of the Christmas season with our annual trek to “Christmas Town” with our Best friends and their family and our three sons! We always visited during the holiday season, stayed in the Bickel Suite at the Bavarian Inn, ate chicken dinner and pastries from the Inn and all of the things that ALL tourists do during the seaon to set the tone for the holidays. Santa at Zhenders was the ultimate picture experience…The time spent in Frankemuth was magical, wonderful and memorable. We still have several of our childrens’ WAX hands on our shelves and curio cabinets ~ Recently our married son and his wife took their young family and best friends to Frankenmuth to begin yet another generation of memories! Thanks for being part of lives!

  18. Maureen & Joe Saroli November 12, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy! My husband and I have been coming to the Bavarian Inn for about 28 years. We celebrate all of our birthdays at your restaurant and enjoy being in the Perks Club! Our children love the Bavarain Inn Lodge and we have stayed there many times. We are so happy that you are doing well and still able to work in the kitchen.
    God Bless You! And may you enjoy many more happy birthdays after this one.

  19. Sue Winterfield November 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Happy Happy Birthday and Thankyou from the bottom of my heart. I have been coming to Frankenmuth since I was a little girl…I am now 46 and still love it as much as I did in years past. We use to come to the Bavarian Inn with my Grandparents and Parents from the time I was a small girl. I have carried on the tradition with my daughters 4 in all to this day. Coming for dinner is so, so special. We visit quite a few times a year and I love it more each time. I will be a grandparent in the next few months and fully intend on bringing the new addition to have her first bites of mashed potatoes as did my 4 daughters. Some of the happiest times have been spent at your wonderful restaurant. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.

  20. Karen Trombley November 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder. We have enjoyed coming to Zehnders for most of our married life. We were married very young so the visits were few and far between in the beginning. We have, just this last week, celebrated our 50th anniversary. My most memorable visit to Zehnders was actually our first argument (shortly after our marriage). We stopped for dinner on our way up north and I attempted to order a hamburger! My husband was appauled and could not understand what I was thinking to order a hambuger in this fantastic restaurant that was so well known for it’s chicken! I was never a chicken eater until I tried yours!

  21. Linda November 12, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Happy Birthday!! Thanks for all the great dinners and memories that the Bavarian Inn has given me over the years. My family and I have spend many Thanksgivings in the Austrian Room at the Bavarian Inn. I cannot even tell you how many of my friends and family visit Frankenmuth every year. God Bless you and your family for providing a great family place.

  22. Carol Brewer November 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    Happy 88th birthday! I have been coming to Frankenmuth since my Grandparents we alive back in 1970. They lived in Flint and we used to pick them up every sunday at 1:00, we would all travel to Zehnders for chicken dinner. There was at least 9 of us all the time but most times we had aunts and uncles too as my father had 17 kids in his family. After my Grandparents passed away, I hadnt been up to frankenmuth for a long time, now that you host the car show we’ve started coming back. We stay the week-end at the lodge(honeymoon suite) and will not leave town without a chicken dinner. Thanks for all you do! and keep up the good work, as it makes awsome memories.

  23. Sylvie Naar-King November 12, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    We are starting a family tradition by coming on December 1st which happens to be my daughters birthday!

  24. Mary Miettinen November 12, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! My husband and I have been coming to Frankenmuth for 37 years. It is always a very special treat to eat a meal prepared at The Bavarian. You can just feel love and family from start to finish. I am very particular about food preparation but I never worry a bit when I sit to one of your lovely tables. No holiday would be complete without a family style chicken dinner. May God bless you and keep you strong and well, and most of all happy. Mary

  25. Elizabeth Thompson November 12, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    My first visit to your restaurant was in 1989 with my college class. Instantly I was in love with the restaurant. Since then I have returned once or twice a year with my husband and now my two young boys. Our oldest son was about 3 1/2 and we were on our way home when he informed us that Frank and Moof had very nice people at their restaurant. The Bavarian Inn is one of the few places I can take my boys and they gobble up everything in site. Usually they are very picky eaters but they love the food at your restaurant. We have celebrated almost every special event Frankenmuth hosts, from Snowfest to Oktoberfest and all the fun things in between so I am happy we can add one more, a very special birthday for someone we think is truly inspirational. The Bavarian Inn holds a very special place in our hearts with many family trips in the past and hopefully many, many more in the future. I honestly could not say that about any other place my family has visited.
    Hppy Birthday Dorothy.
    The Thompson Family
    St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

  26. Dawn Herron November 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Dear Dorothy Zehnder,
    You are truly a Grand Lady! I have had the pleasure of meeting you a couple of times and each time you were gracious, engaging and encouraging to me and I would like to thank you for that. I wish you a lovely 88th birthday with many happy returns.
    Dawn Herron, CCO
    Blue Collar Daughters…Creative Endeavors

  27. Alexis Mosley November 12, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy! I have been coming to the Bavarian Inn since I was little. I’m 19 now and I still love going there. We always have to stay in the hotel and play in the Fun Center and do miniature golf and eat at the Rat Skeller. We always have to have chicken dinner and shop down Main Street. We go there a couple times a year. I have a file on my computer just full of Frankenmuth pictures. I know my parents love it as much as I do. We will always continue to go there. Thanks so much. 🙂

  28. Leo Balcer November 12, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Happy birthday, Dorothy. It was a great pleasure entertaining at your restaurant for 14 years as a stroller inside and playing in the Fischer Platz as well.
    Just a historical note, my Dad had a poultry farm in Bay City and we supplied ready to cook chicken for both the Bavarian Inn (formerly the Fischer Hotel)and Zehnders.

    Sincerely, Leo Balcer

  29. Sharon A. Burgess November 12, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    Happy Birthday. I have had many pleasant experiences with you. I organized and held a senior expo several years ago at the Bavarian Inn. It was a very enjoyable event. I also recently attended a wedding that was wonderful. You should be very proud and I wish you many more happy years.

    Sharon and David Burgess

  30. Donna Griessel November 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!! My favorite dinner is Chicken so needless to say there is nothing more fun than coming to the Bavarian Inn. The last time we were there, our son, daughter in law and two granddaughters joined us. After dinner, we went for a carriage ride (it was at Christmas time so it was a beautiful time). Our granddaughters thought they were Cinderella. What a great memory. A wonderful dinner and then a carriage ride they will neve forget.

  31. carole S. Davis November 12, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    May you have a very Happy Birthday! I use to live in
    Saginaw and our family loved to come to eat at the Bavarian inn.. Over the years we have moved many times, but we have never forgotten the wonderful
    hospitality and delicious food….We were just at your
    restaurant this summer … my son and his family live
    in Grand Rapids and when I visit we come to see you all and it never seems to change , sooo good! again
    Happy Birthday – have never forgotten the hospitality
    and good cheer, even after 47 years…. enjoy the Day!

  32. The Randazzo Family November 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    We wish you a very Happy and Blessed Birthday! Thank you for many memories of the wonderful times that we have spent in your warm and welcoming ‘home away from home’ 🙂 My husband, my children and their children. We love staying at the Lodge too! They enjoy pool hopping, good food, putt-putt, karioke and so much more. It is so much fun for adults to spend an evening in the Lorelai singing along and enjoying your menu there too. It is nice for me (Grandma) to bring my sisters on special ‘lady trips’ too! We were there for a ‘before school starts’ trip with all the grandchildren and sons. We had adjoining rooms with a beautiful view of the river. I could go on and on..the white peacocks..the carriage rides..etc..etc
    The Christmas decorations are so lovely and make for a wonderful Christmas gift to the family. The lovely trees, especially the two story one, are amazing! We will be booking soon! This is the gift they all want the most. You and your family have made it a very special way for us to get together and build special memories that will last forever 🙂 Thank you so very much! You are truly a blessing!
    P.S. You have the most pleasant staff, from desk to housekeeping, that I have ever seen in all of our travels.

  33. Mary Beth and Tom Krause November 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Wow! Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!
    We came to the Bavarian Inn about 6 years ago when we were visiting Bronners. We thought we should give the restaurant a try. We didn’t know what to expect. It was lunch time, and My husband and I were starving after our 7 hour drive from Milwaukee. The hostess and wait staff were awesome…from our first bite of stollen…through the orange swirl icecream with ginger snaps…we were satisfied beyond the beyond. What a wonderful experience we had. The next year we stayed at the Bavarian Inn with our new baby…again…everyone everywhere made this trip a delight. So now, we travel at least 2 times a year to stay at the Bavarian Inn and enjoy some classic German cooking. (we are all German) My co-workers joke about our get aways…but we always say…when you find a good thing, why change it. Our 5 year old loves your kid friendly pools, arcade and the noodle soup. Thank you so much for sharing your traditions and helping us make our traditions. God Bless you in your 88th year, and may you have continued health and happiness! Mary Beth and Tom Krause from Milwaukee Wisconsin

  34. Melanie November 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder!! My children and I have lived in Michigan for 10 years now and we’ve made several trips to your restaurant and to the Lodge. Our first trip was the most wonderful experience we could have ever hoped for. We were astounded at the friendly atmosphere, the helpful people and the amount of FOOD! It’s like going home, not going to a restaurant. We recommend your establishments to everyone whenever they ask where would be a nice getaway. My children and I love spending time with your family whenever we get the opportunity. We always see, learn or try something we haven’t tried before while there. Thank you for giving us so many hours of pleasure and laughter. May each of your future birthdays sparkle with love and laughter.

  35. David A. Moody November 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    My family andi want to wish you a very Happy Birthday, we absolutley LOVE spending our vacations every year with you.
    Happy B-day and many more!!!!!!!

  36. Barb Biggs November 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    Several times a year we went as a family to Frankenmuth to walk the homey streets and feel the German Culture and closeness of the town. From the time our children were little and now as the are adults. Although we have moved to Tennessee, every chance we get we come home to “Michigan” and of course we make a trip to Frankenmuth as part of that trip, it’s almost a tradition. Thank you for your years of labor and love, you are truly a beloved icon of our beautiful state. Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder and many more!

  37. virginia miller November 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    Dorothy I want to say Happy Birthday and hope you have many more.
    I come to Frankenmuth every year for my birthday and try to come several times a year but I will always remember a very special fathers day dinner. We came to frankenmuth thinking we would miss the fathers day crowd only to find the parade was going on. We were so lucky we got a private room that overlooked the street and we were able to enjoy the parade while eating. This was a special day because we no longer have our fathers and we still remember this dinner. Thanks for the memorys.
    virginia miller and family

  38. Ron&Judy Malace November 12, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder:
    What a wonderful milestone for you and your family. Congratulations, and God Bless You.
    My wife and I, as well as our familys, have been coming to your restaurant for well over 43 years now. We have never had such great times (or memories) as we do with coming to your place, whether it’s to just plain laugh aloud and relax, or celebrate some special occasion. You just can’t be beat in our book.
    And even though we have never had the pleasure of personally meeting your family, that’s ok, because we always felt more then welcome, and more then just a customer anytime we were there. And we look forward to coming for another 43 years if the good Lord will allow it. And before I end this, I’d like to just say to the whole Zehnder family, “THANK YOU SO MUCH”.
    And Mrs. Zehnder, if the world had more people in it like you, and your family, what a wonderful world it would be.
    Thank You from the entire Malace family.

  39. Morris & Sandy Rizzitiello November 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations on having such a wonderful family. We love visiting Frankenmuth and have done so many times. We usually bring our parents who also enjoy the ambience and great food that you offer. Thank You for giving us many wonderful memories.

  40. Jackie Hildebrand November 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have many, many more. I am so happy to hear you are still working for that is what keeps you going and young. I have been enjoying your good food and atmosphere for over 45 years and never regret the hour and a half it takes to get there. My family has had wonderful times at the Bavarian Inn and they too continue to make the trip for the Chicken Dinner and brousing around town through all the lovely shops. Your Chicken is the greatest and I so look forward to it every time I am any where near the area or in the mood to take the trip up. You have done such an excellent job at making us feel right at home in such a lovely German atmosphere and I want to Thank You for that. God bless and keep you and may you live a long and healthy life.

  41. Abby Pook November 12, 2009 at 9:03 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!

    I am 68 and from the time I was four, my family always had a tradition of going to Zehnder’s on Mother’s Day, every year. We all would dress in our finest and enjoy the long drive out there! We looked forward to the wonderful meal! After I married, we’ve continued the tradition!

    Thank you for so many lasting memories!


  42. Irene Baker November 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    We always have a great time when we come to your little hide away. I always tell people to come to Frankenmuth to try the resturant and the lodge no place like Frankenmuth, you guys got it going on!! Thanks for the WONDERFUL times. May God Bless you always HAPPY, HAPPY,HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Hope to see you in January for my Birthday.

  43. John and Kelli Krix November 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! Our family holds a special place in our hearts for all of Frankenmuth, for you, and your whole family. We have been returning each year with our three children, and have had many happy moments at the Bavarian Inn, and enjoyed the wonderful chicken dinners. We wish you God’s richest blessing in all you do, and we are looking forward to returning again in a few weeks! Thank you for all your good energy and we wish you many more happy birthdays!

    The Krix Family, Toledo Ohio

  44. Linda Mastin November 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    I attended a wedding at the Bavarian Inn and was so impressed with the service, food, decor and everything about it. It was one of the most beautiful weddings that I have ever been to. We stayed at the Inn and it was so nice that we ended up coming back several other times for vacations. But what impressed me the most was when Dorothy came out of the kitchen at the wedding and went to each and every table of wedding guests and the wedding party to check with everyone to make sure that everything was fine and everyone enjoyed the food and service. I don’t think you could find that anywhere else, where the owner comes to talk to every guest at the wedding. Very Impressive.

    God Bless Dorothy and her family. May she have many more years.


  45. Halina Minadeo November 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Dear Mrs Dorothy Zehnder:

    Herzlichen Geburstag!
    Joyous Birthday wishes and blessings for the future!
    Mrs Zehnder, you are an inspiration–wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, dynamic businesswoman, creative chef. Thank you for 35 years of delightful memories. We began coming with our beloved mother, Nina, in 1974, knowing that the reminder of southern Germany would please her. She was enchanted from the start. We had spent the second half of the 1940’s after WWII in Bavaria, mostly in dismal refugee camps. But the beauty of the natural landscape lifted the spirits of young displaced persons who were happy to have survived and were starting a family. Imagine the vistas of mountains, castles in the clouds, forests, the Danube, Regensburg with its ancient monuments and famous cathedral. There were schuhplatter dancers, yodeling, picking berries and mushrooms in the woods, beautiful Christmas displays. So every trip, with a stop at Bronner’s, was a glad venture into the past, minus the hardships.
    The Bavarian Inn is too charming for words, with the wall murals, clocks, quaint furniture, costumed staff, darling boutiques. The highlight of the day, of course, is the hearty, home-cooked dinner, a cornucopia of flavors, aromas and colors.
    Our mother passed away too soon in 1998, but we three siblings have continued the tradition. We hope to pass it down to our grandchildren as soon as they are old enough to make the 90-minute trip with us.

    With sincere gratitude and admiration
    Halina Didycky Minadeo
    George Didycky
    Irene Didycky Faris

  46. Betty & Dale Lyon November 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Happiest of Birthdays 88 is GREAT! We have visited your fine restaurant many times. One of the most remembered was the coldest of New Year Days. We had 2 new babies that we were showing off! Our whole family was with us. A great time for us all. The year was 1973— HAPPY BIRTHDAY

  47. Karen Hiscock November 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder! My husband and I and my sister and her husband had our first visit to your hotel and restaurant this past June for my brother in laws 50th birthday. We had such a wonderful time and a special birthday dinner. The staff allowed us to set up the table with some pictures and birthday favours to make the birthday a memorable occasion. It was amazing. I hope your birthday is just as special. While this was our first visit, it will not be our last. We are all the way from Newfoundland Canada but we will be back very soon. In fact, the Thanksgiving weekend.
    Happy birthday and God Bless.

  48. donna & john November 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    when our kids started school we would go up for dinner befor school started

  49. mark fornes November 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Dear Dorothy- I have been bringing my family to your Inn for 20 years. 2 years ago, my 10 year old daughter and I stopped to spend the night on our way to Northern Michigan. When we entered the bakery in the lower level, we immediately recognized you from pictures in the Inn and were amazed to see you working and taking care of customers! We introduced ourselves to you and your gracious hospitality to my daughter and I will never be forgotten. Happy Birthday from the Fornes family in Dayton, Ohio!

  50. Herbert R. :utz November 12, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    My first visit was in 1957 When I was a Production Engineer with the then Great General Motors. A number of we Engineers would visit about once a month. we slowed down in the late sixties.My wife and I still make about two trips a year from Columbus Ohio. We enjoy everything about Frankenmuth. We have dined many times at Zinders and we participate in the birthday club. Have a wonderful BIRTHDAY, at our ages we deserve the best. We shal look you up and say Hello on our next trip in the summer of 2010. Again Happy Birthday and GOD bless you!

  51. Ann Sonner November 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy…. and may more! My husband and I have been coming to the Bavarian Inn in December for the past three years with our two young sons. It has now become a “family tradition” that we all look forward to every year. We cherish the time that we have there and will continue building family memories for years to come! Keep up the good work in the kitchen!

  52. Danna Scigaj November 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    Happy Birthday!
    Do you believe that I still have the pictures of my sister and I (with the whole family – including both sets of grandparents) in front of the mouse and cheese! To me, what makes that photo so special, is that I have a picture of my two children with their grandparents in the same place.

    We get up to you restaurant at least six times a year, and I want to let you know what a treasure you and Frankenmuth have been to our Michigan family.

    My deepest wish is that someday, my children will take their kids their often too.

    God bless and happy birthday!
    Danna Scigaj
    Waterford, MI

  53. Lynn Amato November 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    Happu Birthdy Dorothy,

    Your committment to your community along with your family has been a wonderful experience for my family and I. Growing up my family along with my Aunts, Uncles and cousins would take a yearly trip to Grankenmouth with the highlight being your “Famous Chicken Dinner” Uears have passed nut I strted my own tradition of heading up there with my kids and friends to see Santa, the town and especially the dinner!! Thank you for your loyalty and I wish you nothing but the BEST in health and LIFE on your 88th birthday!!!!!

  54. Heather Dice-Jones November 12, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    I worked @ Bavarian Inn Resturant during high school. It was my first job and it was a very pleasant place to work at. I started off as a salad/desert girl and up graded to a server once I was 18. It was a excellant place to work for. The owners & co-workers were wonderful. My mother also worked there. Know that I have children we stay a weekend @ the Bavarian Inn Lodge every January. My children just love it.. Thanks for the wonderful experiment to have with your family:) Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!! God bless you!

  55. Eileen Prabucki November 12, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorthy I would like to thank you and Tiny for giving are children some special work ethic Our son Mitch worked in the laundry during high school and are Daughter Loretta worked as a waitress for a few years she met her Husband there while working they both have fond memories while at the inn Thanks again Eileen Prabucki

  56. Courtney Hancock November 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder,
    Happy Birthday! I just wanted to tell you that I have grown-up coming to your wonderful Bavarian Inn, at least once a year for all 24 years of my life. My parents led us to believe that Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is where the “real” Santa saw the children from Michigan. We came every year to give our letters to him and eat dinner at the Bavarian Inn. It would not be a complete trip to Frankenmuth, without eating at the Inn! I have been married now for almost 3 years, and this is one family tradition that will never be laid to rest. My husband loves the fact that our Holiday Celebrations start with a new Christmas Ornament and a great big Chicken Dinner! This year, we have an 18-year-old exchange student from Sweden and we cannot wait to introduce him to your town and another of our priceless family traditions. Blessings be upon you, and may you have many more happy birthdays!

  57. Pioterek Family November 12, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    What a wonderfully blessed time our family has when ever we step foot into the Bavarian Inn. We enjoy all the sights, sounds, and dalishes Smells of the Christmas season. Thank you for your dedication to excellence. Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder May God continue to bless you and your family.

  58. Margie Wells November 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday dear Dorothy, Happy Birthday to You. What stamina you have to be working at 88. You must have great pride in all that you have started and continue to do. We moved to MI in 1984 and love this state. Shortly after moving here a friend from church introduced me to Frankenmuth and I found everything my eyes could take in most enchanting. I have brought all my family here to experience the magic of a Bavarian Christmas Town who serves the best chicken dinner that a good cook of a grandmother could ever serve. Dorothy may your 88th BD be the best ever and filled w/blessings and good health. Thank you for all the joy you have provided for so many. God Bless You, Margie and Rodger Wells

  59. Sharon Craver November 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Happy 88th birthday to you. I had the pleasure of dining at the inn with a tour group.The food was delicious and the staff were ever so nice. I tell everyone about it. I especially loved the dessert we had that night. A bavarian pastry type. With creme and powdered sugar and starwberries I believe. Oh my gosh. I am trying desperatley to find a recipe similar to it. It reminds me of my great grandmothers desserts. She came from Alsace Lorraine as a very young bride. Anyway a very happy birthday to you and many more.

  60. Greg and Glenna Anderson November 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    Congratulations, Dorothy, on your 88th birthday! My husband and I, as well as our now grown son and daughter, have many years of wonderful times spent in Frankenmuth. We enjoyed many visits to the Bavarian Inn Lodge and still do today. We have enjoyed so many family dinners and celebrated many special occasions at the Bavarian Inn, including birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Days — often with our family traveling from Cadillac and then meeting my sister and her family who are from Bad Axe. There is no finer chicken dinner than that which you serve. And we never leave Frankenmuth without a guten morgan coffecake and some of your delicious cookies! We look forward to many more visits to the Bavarian Inn. We always have such a wonderful time!

    My oldest niece will be married in Bad Axe in March 2010. We are already planning an overnight visit in Frankenmuth on the day after the wedding. We will have our son and daughter-in-law from St. Paul, MN and our daughter and son-in-law from Jacksonville, FL joining us for this special visit!! And all of us can hardly wait to relive all of our Frankenmuth and Bavarian Inn memories! Thank you for creating such a wonderful place to create family memories!

  61. Barbara Wisniewski November 12, 2009 at 11:15 pm #

    IOur family has enjoyed Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn for so many years I’ve lost count! My mother, who was also named Dorothy, loved celebrating her November birthday with dinner at the Bavarian Inn. A few years ago we had a surprise party for her at your restaurant and nothing could have pleased her more. Thank you for making the Bavarian Inn so special for so many people. Happy birthday, Dorothy! May God continue to bless you and your family.

  62. Jami November 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!

    My family and I are from the Mt Morris area and have been visiting the Bavariann Inn Restaurant twice a year for the past 15 years. Once in June to celebrate 3 different anniversaries and then again at the holidays. The thing is, when we come, we share more than a meal, we share a memory, a story, a laugh. Yes, we all agree that the food is delicious. A favorite dish for everyone in my family is the “big fat noodles!” But we take away more than a full stomach when we leave. We take away a cherished family memory that can be so few and far between at times. Spending time at your restaurant is a true experience. We appreciate you and what you do very much. I hope you have a blessed year!


  63. Renee & Bill Burns Jr. November 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder: Happy 88th. Birthday and Many Many more. My family has been coming to Frankenmuth for over 20 years. Now my husband and I have been coming every winter during Winter festivle. People think we are crazy for not going someplace warm for our time away, but we LOVE!!!! coming up to the Bavarian Inn and spending our time there relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Often times we have other family members or friends join us. I have even told family members to give us Gift certificates for birtdays and Chirstmas as this is something my husband and I enjoy so much. It truly means more to us because we know we will have a wonderful time .
    You are an amazing woman with an equally amazing family. You have been blessed with love and a wonderful family and career that you obviously love. It is my hope that you continue for many years to come.
    Even though we have never met, I feel a bit like a part of the family as that is the way your establishment has come to make us feel. Best wishes too you.

  64. Larry & Shirley Varney November 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorthy,
    My husband and I have always enjoyed eating at the Barvarian Inn. We have been there several times and it always seems to get better. That must say something for the cook. The atmosphere is so relaxing it makes the meal twice as good. I think the most fun we have ever had is when my husband and I brought our mothers to the Barvarian Inn for supper. They couldn’t get enough to eat and they enjoyed themselves so much. They talked for ever about the great meal and how much they enjoyed it with there friends.
    We love the gift shops even if I don’t need anything I always find something to enjoy to buy if no more than for a memory.
    Thank you for putting your heart into a really nice place that everyone can enjoy and have fun at.

  65. Kelley Pomper November 12, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    I have been enjoying the Bavarian Inn for 10 years now! My best friend brought me to Frankenmuth for the first time in 1999. I loved the Bavarian Inn restarant and inn so much that I planned my honeymoon there later that same year.We were one of the first guests to join the perks club. My husband and I share our anniversary dinner every year at the inn. We also come back later on in the year for our birthdays. We love the feeling of a home cooked meal and the service is wonderful! We are always treated like family. I was lucky enough to get to meet Dorothy once. What a wonderful lady! I only hope to be is wonderful as she is at 88! I admire her energy. She is a wonderful role model for women all over the world. May god bless her with many more birthdays! Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!

  66. joanne Craig Wonson November 13, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Dear Mrs Zehnder happiest of Birthdays.

    I would like to share with you that our family feels like a part of yours. My 2 sisters and mom and dad have come to “chicken ville” as my dad would lovingly call it since we were quite young our families have each visited indivudually and as ag roup and have enjoyed Fraknemuth so much you think we live there.
    A very heartwarming story we often share is when we were little and as sister do would argue which restaurant we would eat at. To appease his three chicken eaters Daddy would always tell us the kitchen was under the street and we would get the best meal at either restaraunt…which stopped the argument for awhile. But as we matured we have a much more pragmatic solution we eat and both and the winner on the third day
    Our Daddy is gone but we always know he is there with us at the Beir Platz listening to the Polkas and of course He’s in the Kitchen under street making sure our CHICKEN<CHICKEN<CHICKEN is ready.

    Thank you for giving us a place to share our family time and memories of dad with warmth and a smile even if our hearts are breaking.

    Pete's girls and family

  67. Christine Tucci & Family November 13, 2009 at 12:08 am #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder, A few od my fondest memories!

    The Bavarian Inn has always had a special place in my heart. I have been coming there since I was a little girl. Now, I have my own family, we start the holiday season every year the 1st weekend of Dec. The walks down main street, the endless sounds of Christmas music, and the beautiful lights on display. How can I forget the Largest Christmas tree we have ever seen, and watching my 4 kids as little toddlers and young adults trying to figure out how many millions of lights were on the tree and to think that they just stood there trying to count ever light. Many pictures of the Inn, great establishment, never forget the picture frames in the halls and the history in every room.

    What a wonderful way to spend precious memories that will live in our hearts a lifetime. They will go on and on with every new generation.

    Your day will be filled with LOTS of LOVE, Cherished memories with dear family and friends. 88 years yooung 🙂

    Thank you so much!

  68. Rick & Cindy Robinson November 13, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    Dear Dorothy Zehnder:

    Happy 88th Birthday:

    You are so blessed to have reached this age and still are cooking your most delicious chicken dinners 6 days a week. A devoted mother, such a beautiful and loving family that you have all around you and great grand children. We do not know you personally but we feel like we do from coming to Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn so many years. I was 8 years old in 1965 when my mother and dad were coming to Frankenmuth and that first time I was sold on the most fabulous tasting chicken and all the fixings. I am 52 years old now, and we have brought our children to Bavarian Inn also and they love it. We are from Roseville Michigan and the trip is only 1 1/2 hours for us but worth every bite. When my children were on winter break when they were 10 years
    old we took a trip to the Bavarian Inn for 2 nights and they had the best time having the chicken dinners and going down to the video arcade, playing putt putt golf and swimming in the pool. My children now are 25 and 28 and they have been back since. It’s a great place to come and just a relaxing environment away from the big city. Your staff has been wonderful all the way through. Now, we are grandparents to our grandson Christian who is 2 1/2 and he will too be sold on the Bavarian Inn and your most famous chicken dinners. 44 years of fantastic food and entertainment in Frankenmuth at The Bavarian Inn & Lodge. God Bless you and have a blessed Happy 88th Birthday ever and many more to come.

  69. PatriciaSue Cassar November 13, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    We wish you the very best on your 88th birthday and may you have many more to celebrate with your family. Our family has enjoyed many meals at your fine establishment. We have grown from an initial family of 10 to a family of 34 and still counting. All of us have visited the Bavarian Inn alone, with all of our families, and once for Thanksgiving Dinner. The last was superb and we were treated like family, as always. But my personal favorite time with you was when you were demonstrating how to make home style rosettes and you took extra time with me to show me a few of your secrets that made them turn out perfectly every time. I was so very impressed with your knowledge as well as you kindness to teach me to make what has become a favorite cookie in our family. Thank you so much for all of the beautiful memories that you and your family have given this Michigan family over the last 45 years. May God bless you with good health, joyful times with your wonderful family, happy memories and continued success in your business. You are the epitome of the greatest hostess and kindest inn keeper we have ever known.

  70. Becky and Anthony Neumann November 13, 2009 at 12:52 am #

    My husband and I had the pleasure of celebrating our wedding at Bavarian Inn Lodge! It was such a special day and to celebrate it around the Christmas season at Bavarian Inn was a dream come true. One of the most memorable parts of our day was when Judy did her greeting (which we love…we have been to many weddings there), and she explained the story of Dorothy. We felt so blessed to have had our wedding at a place she founded, and more importantly, to eat the amazing food she had helped prepare. The wedding and the food are still talked about today by all of our friends and family. The Bavarian Inn is an incredible establishment, thanks to the help of Dorothy. We have never met her, but we feel somewhat close to her now! We look forward to celebrating our first year anniversary at the restaurant, especially so we can enjoy the food that she will hopefully help prepare. Congratulations Dorothy and we wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. You found your purpose in life, have touched many lives, and there is no better present than that!

    With all our love,

    Tony and Becky Neumann

  71. Jeannine Kajdi November 13, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    I wish you a very Happy Birthday and hope there are many more to come. We first stayed at the Bavarian Inn several years ago. I can tell you I think of it every day of my life. A picture I took off the balcony on a cold snowy February day is my screen saver on my computer even through the summer. I hope to one day retire to the area. Everyone there is so friendly and when we come, we stay for a whole week. Some years due to health problems we were not able to come, but our hearts were there. Your work and dream has made many happy memories for a lot of people. God Bless You All. Jeannine Kajdi

  72. Paula Konfara November 13, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    I remember standing in lines that twisted around the building when I was a little girl. My sisters and I loved everything about our Sunday adventures to Frankenmuth. Years later, I was the mom taking my four children for a Sunday adventure to Frankenmuth. And when my sister was looking for a place for her Wedding, Frankenmuth was the place. You’ve been such a part of our family memories.

  73. Daryl Hansen / Toledo.Ohio November 13, 2009 at 2:44 am #

    Dearest Mrs. Zender,You have been a G_D send,Thanks so very much from hearts and our homes to yours,thanks for all the food naturally,the best ever,the hospitality,the joy,the warm felt hearts of all your goodness that has shined outward to all who you employe for they have taken from you and spread all that has been taught to them,and has reflected to others who visit there weather for simply for vacation time,or for possibly a honey moon as I once did.thanks you so very,very,much!!!! Your and Your husband’s and childrens dream lives on in the spirit of all who work for you,thanks again Very Sincerely,,,Daryl Hansen Toledo,Ohio Take care and G_D bless you and all You come in contact with!!!!

  74. Paul & Chris Stotts November 13, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday Mrs. Zehnder & many, many more! It was nearly 14 yrs ago now that my husband and I were married at the Methodist Church in Frankenmuth and then had a horse drawn carriage ride all throughout town..and on through the covered bridge to the most beautiful brunch reception at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. My husband and I didn’t want anything huge but wanted a small, quaint little reception with family and a few friends only with the poolside atmosphere. The way everyone worked with us was fantastic. It was mid-February and I still recall the way everyone commented on the huge strawberries in the fruit bowl! It was gorgeous..everyone treated us wonderful so your guidance in the kitchen obviously is PERFECT!!!! Thank you!!! Happy Birthday!!!

  75. Sally Pletzer November 13, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    For SO MANY years we have enjoyed coming to Frankenmuth for the wonderful Chicken Dinners– just love the chicken and stuffing!! Frankenmuth IS Zehnders and Zehnders is what made it as famous as it is. That clock that shows the Pied Piper is a treasure in it’s self.
    Thank you Dorothy for your part in our memories- We wish you a zillion more Birthdays. May God Bless you always in many ways- Sally Pletzer and Family.

  76. Judy Storm November 13, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I am so happy to be wishing you a very happy 88th birthday. God has richly blessed you and I hope your good health remains for years to come. We have always enjoyed coming to the Bavarian Inn for lunch and also for your Christmas dinner. Thanks for making the Bavarian a wonderful place to celebrate.

  77. Mark Bonto November 13, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    We were at the Inn last year and saw Dorothy’s picture. Our youngest daughter said, “Look mommy and daddy – they put grandma’s picture on the wall!” We always enjoy the stay, the amenities, and the great chicken dinners! It’s been a yearly tradition for our family for many years now. Happy, happy birthday, Dorothy!

  78. Harry Borsheim November 13, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Happy birthday Dorothy Zehnder! We spent our honeymoon there in December 05 and visit several times a year. We enjoy the peaceful homey atmosphere and the memories of past events.
    Harry & Rhonda Borsheim

  79. Cindy Osinski November 13, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    Happy Birthday,

    I have been coming to Frankenmuth for over 45 years since I was a small child and the Bavarian Inn has always been a favorite stop. Now we stay at the lodge with our family ( Parents, children & grandchildren). I introduced Frankenmuth to my husband when we were dating and it is his favorite of all places to go and we haven’t missed a year in 33 years of marrage. Here’s hoping you enjoy good health and many more years with your family.

  80. Joy Coyle November 13, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Dorothy!

    Our family has been coming at least annually to the Lodge for a few days of fun together. The memories of when my Mother was alive and we used to come during winter break week are the most special. Our daughters were young then and the time of the 3 generations together was so precious. You seem to have a strong family as well. All the best on your birthday!
    Joy Coyle from Plymouth, MI.

  81. frank defina November 13, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    happy birthday dorothy
    I have many fond memories of frankenmuth and chicken dinners as a child and now as an adult with my wife and family. I did have the privalage of meeting you one sunday morning at church, my wife and I were visiting and at the end of the service you turned around and welcomed us to your church, and invited us to join you for a chicken dinner. My wife and I visit frankenmuth twice a year and always feel welcome at your fine resturant. Again happy birthday and god bless you and your family during this holiday season.

  82. JOHN SKALSKI November 13, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    I am now 55 years old but till this day I can still remember when Dorothy handed me my first Bavarian Inn drumb stick on my first birthday. My entire family was at the Inn to celebrate. That drumb stick was the biggest leg in the world and I remember my eyes lighting up and I ate the whole thing. My Mother had to pry the bone out of my hand. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOROTHY. John Skalski

  83. Michelle Kilian November 13, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    One of my favorite childhood memeories is making the drive from Flint to Frankenmuth several times a year. A stop at the Bavarian Inn was always on the agenda. We love the chicken dinners and would anticipate having it for days before the trip. This is a tradition that my husband and I now carry on with our own family. Thanks for giving us wonderful memories to share year after year. Michelle Kilian

  84. Melissa Ball November 13, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!

  85. Melissa Ball November 13, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!
    My family and I have been coming to the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Restaraunt for years now! We love coming there and we always look forward to all of the friendly faces. My parents used to drive my brother and I out to Frankenmuth to look at the christmas lights. And now we take our daughter to stay at the lodge and eat the famous chicken dinners. We all come out to recieve our birthday dinners it is our family tradition! Thank you for creating such a family friendly enviroment for us and all the world to enjoy!!

  86. Joe & Linda Sims November 13, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy! Of course you don’t know us or our family but we know of you…
    We have been visiting since 1960. Our entire family congegates at the Inn for dinners…maybe Mother’s Day/Father’s Day or various birthdays…not to mention the occasional dinner out…We all love it! That includes Mother(our matriach),sisiters and brothers, sons and daughters,cousins, and now in-laws and grandchildren.

    As the yrs. have passed it gets harder and harder to get us all together….But it still remains we love the dinners, the atmosphere, and the relationships! Keep on doing what you love…the effort shows.

    Joe & Linda Sims
    Howell, Mi.

  87. Karen Richie November 13, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday. Your family has been so much a part of mine over the years. For many years, we spent our winter breaks in the Bavarian Inn, enjoying all the family activities that you offered. Each trip was, of course, topped off with a trip to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for a traditional chicken dinner. We began this tradition many years ago and continue to travel north whenever we can for a dinner. Our family loves going downstairs into the coziness of the small shops and bakeries found there. It was one of my husband, Gene’s, favorite things to do and we fondly remember these trips as we remember him. He died nearly six years ago, at 46, and my children and I still carry on the tradition of heading to Frankenmuth when we get the chance. Some of our fondest and warmest memories of our family times together are those spent with your family. We look back at all of the wonderful pictures and once again enjoy the smells, sounds, and feel of the place and we are surrounded by its warmth. Thank you for the memories and God bless you as you celebrate your 88th birthday.

  88. Jim Engel November 13, 2009 at 9:34 am #


    As a 48 year old man who started working for you 33 years ago, I recall my first true one-on-one interaction with you. As a relatively new bus boy working on dishes in the kitchen you approached me one day. Floyd Herzog, my dish tank supervisor told me to go with you for a special job. I was always up for doing something new and was happy for the opportunity. I think I was a little nervous.

    You took me back to the cold food prep area and you told me you wanted me to slice cucumbers for cucumber salad. You showed me exactly what to do. You showed me how to use the peeler to take off sections of the green skin but leaving some of the green for color, then showed me how to put it through the slicer which made the thick slices quickly. Simple enough…

    You watched me peel a cucumber and put it through the slicer and seemed satisfied. You said, “Good, now here are the cucumbers I need you to cut up for cucumber salad.” It was five massive grey tubs full of cucumbers. Each was more than a bushel of cucumbers. That is when I realized how BIG this restaurant was! My eyes widened thinking of the workload as you left me with my peeler, slicer & stack of cukes!

    When I finished (I don’t remember how many hours it was) My hands were green, my apron was mostly green and there were bushels of sliced cucumbers! As I feel asleep that night I had a dream of my hands going through the procedure of peeling a cucumber over and over and over!

    This fun story just demonstrates how you have had to lead volumes of employees over the past 70 years to put out volumes of food production in so many ways. I know this wasn’t just the case for cold salads, but also for hot entrees, hot side dishes, thousands of gallons of sherbet, thousands of loaves of bread weekly and so many thousands of pies & tortes for so many years.

    It would be very difficult to measure the influence you have had on the work ethic of so many young people who had their very first job working for you in the Bavarian Inn kitchen. I know that ethic still stands strong today.

    Now, as the C.O.O. at your Bavarian Inn Lodge I recall discussions we have had through the years about encouraging staff to be the best they can be and strive for cleanliness, consistent food production and speedy service.

    I am so lucky to work with you all these years since I was 15 years old. We don’t work side by side very often anymore (more often at Board of Directors meetings) but my fondest memories are in the kitchen and when I was supervisor in the Fischer Platz in the summers. I learned about hard work but I learned about having FUN while doing it.

    Many of my relatives worked with the Zehnder family over the years including my parents of course who met while working with your family. So I always tell people, if it weren’t for the Zehnders, I might not be alive! It wasn’t until Tiny Zehnder recalled that as a young boy he rememberd my great-grandmother worked for you in the kitchen in her elder years. It was then that I realized I was a 4th generation Engel working for 3rd and 4th generation Zehnders! My daughter, Abby is almost 15 so before too long she could be the 5th generation Engel to learn from you and this Companies wonderful work ethic!

    God Bless you for your thousands of successes each year over the past 70 years! Thanks for encouraging, teaching, pushing and inspiring in the special way that you do!

    With my deepest admiration. Peace & Love,

    Jim Engel G.M. & C.O.O.
    Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Lodge

  89. Peggy (Bierlein) Reinhardt November 13, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Greetings Dorothy on your 88th Birthday. My most fond memory is when you showed me how to make a sandwich when I was working in the salad section at the tender age of 16. I still use those special techniques in making sandwiches today. I never thought a sandwich could be such a work of art. I enjoyed my job in the salad department and as a waitress at the Bavarian Inn.
    Let the kids pamper you on your Birthday–at 88 you deserve it.
    Your Franconian Friend
    Peggy Reinhardt

  90. Lois M. (Reinhardt) Bickel November 13, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!
    I first met you while working as a waitress while attending FMuth High School. That was 45 years ago. I remember thinking what a sweet, friendly, and kind person you were. You were the owner of this big company and had the compassion to work with us and not act like “The Boss”. You are truly a wonderful person and respected by all.
    Later in life we sold my father’s steam engine, thrashing machine, Oil Pull and tanker to Tiny’s Historic Assoc. I am happy to see them every year.
    Most recently you autographed your cookie cookbook for me. Thanks ever so much! God be with you always~ Lois

  91. Lynn Czap November 13, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zhender! You could not have dedicated your entire life in the way you have without God’s blessings–and oh, how He has blessed your restaurant and community. At the very heart of what you have done is to reflect what’s good and what’s important in life: commitment, faithfulness, and love–all wrapped up in a recipe that begins with the world’s most famous chicken dinners, and served in a family environment that is second to none. I admire and respect your life’s service, and the legacy that you will leave for your family is humbling and worthy of our heart-felt thanks. It sets the bar high for those who follow! God bless.

  92. Jim and Lisa Sutphen Family November 13, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Our family has been visiting the Bavarian Inn Lodge and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for over 15 years. We enjoy the benefits of Perks Club. We have spent wonderful family time with our 4 boys playing indoor golf, swimming in the pools and eating the best chicken dinners around. We have so many great memories including our 10th wedding anniversary. I have scrapbooked pictures and stories that are some of the boys favorites to look back at. Dorothy your dedication and your family have made us feel at home many times over the years. We look forward to many more happy memories.
    Wishing you a wonderful birthday and a special thank you from our family to you and your family.

  93. Elizabeth Booth November 13, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Birthdays are what my family always celebrates in Frankenmuth. I don’t even remember the first time I went to Frankenmuth as it’s always been a birthday tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.

    Usually my family would go in September and November since mostly everyone’s birthdays are in those two months. Now we go to Bavarian Inn whenever we can for a yummy chicken dinner. In fact I just went this Halloween with my three best friends. We went in costume and had the best dinner at your restaurant.

    Bavarian Inn and Frankenmuth make me feel like I’m home because I’m always there with my family and the dinner is just like having a homemade dinner at home, even better!

    Thank you for all your hard work. And congratulations because I don’t think many people can accomplish what you have with your restaurant in that for many people in Michigan, Bavarian Inn is more than just a restaurant, it has a special place in our hearts and it brings families together. Most of all, Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!


  94. Diane Cerrito November 13, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Dear Dorothy,
    God’s Blessings on your 88th birthday! My husband and I have 2 daughters and moved to Lapeer in 1990 from Warren. Our first Christmas in the area, I insisted that we take our oldest daughter -then 2 years old – to see Santa at Bronner’s. Of course, that included lunch at the Bavarian Inn where I had some very fond childhood memories. We shivered outside as my daughter marveled at the Piped Piper clock. That trip began a tradition which has continued every year since. Our second daughter arrived in 1995. When the girls got older we discovered that we enjoyed the Roof Garten more than the traditional dining rooms. Seeing the people on the street adds to the atmosphere and we are hooked on the potato cheese puffs. On one trip you even came into the Roof Garten and said hello. I would like to thank you now, as I did then, for giving my family such a wonderful place to visit not only every December, but several times a year. I always tell people that if I feel like I need cheering up, I go to Frankenmuth. See you soon!

  95. Jean Wong November 13, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Dorothy, Many, Many happy returns to the day of thy birth, may sunshine and gladness be given. May God in his mercys prepare you on earth, for that beautiful birthday in heaven.
    you don’t know me, but my family has been traveling for many many years to eat your wonderful chicken dinners. we apprecieate the family values your family has placed on your resturant and community. After our family sings happy birthday to our members, my grandmother always said the above prayer. it has become our family tradition. Many wonderful days ahead Dorothy and keep the chicken comming. Jean Wong , Wyandotte, Michigan

  96. Turner Coaches, Inc/Donna November 13, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Happy, Happy Day Dorothy,
    Wishing you a wonderful day with family and friends that mean so much to you. We get to come once a year with a family of travelers (50) to enjoy your wonderful food and hospitality. You are a testimony to good, clean, hard, work and how it has molded your life and accomplishments.
    Expect to see you there for many more years.
    Sincerely, Turner Coaches, Inc./Donna

  97. Mary L French November 13, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    It is a grand tradition to come to the Bavarian Inn as a family, going back three generations. It is mandatory to gather for dinner in the month of November or December for our holiday time. As a matter of fact, we were just there this year, on November 11, Veterans Day. Your Birthday cards enable us to come as a family (there are 5 of us out of 13, who have a December birthday) and have it be affordable to enjoy!
    Congratulations on your 88th Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder. Keep on cooking! You are still doing a quality and fantastic job! God Bless, The French, Bagby and Clapper Family. P.S. we personaly met you some 30 yrs ago.

  98. Irene & Ernie Cowl November 13, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Happy birthday, Dorothy
    We spent 3 days at your Bavarian Lodge, celebrating our 60th anniversary. You made our vacation so special, and the hand written card we received from you when we got back to Belwood, Ontario was so very thoughtful.
    You are a very wonderful lady with an amazing family who loves you.
    Many more years of happiness are wished for you

  99. Irene & Ernie Cowl November 13, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday , Dorothy
    We spent 3 days at your Bavarian Lodge for our 60th anniversary, and we were treated so royally. Just hated to leave and we will come back.
    The handwritten note you sent to us, when we arrived home in Belwood, Ontario was so very thoughtful.

    You are truly a wonderful woman with an amazing family who loves you.

    Many more years of happiness are wished for you

  100. D Blair November 13, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    My family would always plan our annual trip to Frankenmuth around Fathers day because it always feel within a few days from my grandfathers birthday and that is where he wanted to go for dinner. As we came into town papa told us the story of how he hauled the bricks from Detroit to Frankenmuth for the Brewery, of course we heard that same story year after year. When I had heard that the Brewery was being tore down I wrote to The Zehnder’s and asked if there was a way I could get a brick from the Brewery as a memory of my papa who had long passed away. I received a call from the Zehnder’s at home saying they had put a brick away for me. I am so greatful to have that brick as a memory. My family and I still make a trip to Frankenmutch each year. Dorothy Happy Birthday to you and thanks for the memories you and your family have created for all of us.

  101. Dennis & Marcey Kasprzyk November 13, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    We have been coming to the Bavarian Inn for almost 40 years now, when we first started dating. Since that time, we have gotten married, had 2 wonderful children, and have seen many changes through-out the years. We started to bring our own children, and especially my father-in-law, to your restaurant. Besides the thrill the kids have gotten in Frankenmuth, my father-in-law always looked forward to having chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn. To me, he was like a little kid in a candy store when he was there. After dinner he would always say, “I really packed it in” ( meaning, he was stuffed ! ). He has since passed on some years ago, and I just can’t help knowing that he’s always there with us when we are having dinner. The Bavarian Inn will always be a very special place in our hearts! And thank you, Dorothy, for being a part of this, too ! “Happy Birthday, Dorothy !”

    Dennis & Marcey Kasprzyk
    Southgate, MI.

  102. Dawn LeVasseur November 13, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!

    Like many other people in Michigan, I too spent many birthdays at Bavarian Inn. When I was a child I loved the chicken of course, but what I really waited for was the orange sherbert, vanilla icecream and shortbread cookie for dessert. I also always treasured the little plastic figurine that came on top of the icecream. I still look forward to spending my birthday at Bavarian Inn, although as an adult I love all of your food, so it is always a challenge of what yummy delight I will choose for dinner.

    When I was in high school I joined the German Club because, being German, I wanted to learn more about my families heritage. During those years we came to the Bavarian Inn many times as a group. In my senior year we even chose your restaurant for a destination on senior skip day.

    After getting married and having a daughter, we continued the tradition. We also discovered the Lodge and spent multiple mini vacations there each year during our daughter’s childhood.

    Thank you for so many great memories! You are an inspiration to all.

  103. Gloria Salvio November 13, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! The Bavarian Inn will always hold a special place in our hearts. Every year, around the end of January, I would take my 2 children to Bavariann Inn for a getaway weekend. My sons birthday was January, and my daughter February, so we always went right in between to celebrate their birthdays! We always got to see Christmas decorations still, and it was something we always looked forward to doing, and still do!! Being a single mom, it was a very special thing to do, having that quality time with my children. We would get up early, head to Frankenmuth with all the goodies in the car for the drive! When we pulled up to the Bavarian Inn, we would check in, than go shopping in all the shops! Than go for your famous chicken dinner, and back to the Lodge for swimming and miniature golf! Than later in the evening we would order pizza! Good times and great memories, thanks for everything!!!!

  104. Dave Kubel November 13, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!!

    One of the few positive memories of my childhood was visiting Zehnder’s and Bavarian Inn. I always asked for more bread or other side dish because they were delicious and I didn’t want to leave! Now, my kids love visiting your restaurant as much as I did because every visit is a special positive memory to tuck away. Thanks for all you have done over the years to create great food and special times, especially for kids!

  105. Dawn Fishel November 13, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    I first starting coming up to the Bavarian in with my parents about 10 years ago who have both since passed away. We came up the week after Thanksgiving every year. Eight years ago I brought my then boyfriend up & we had an excellent time. The next year when we came up he proposed to me there in a carriage ride. I will remember everything about that. The dinner that we had at Bavarian Inn restaurant, how excited my mom was & how she had to tell everyone she passed that we had just gotten engaged! Everyone in the courtyard area was told. The Bavarian Inn will always hold a very special place in my heart. I can remember the goods times I had their with my parents & will always remember that it is where my husbanda & my journey together began! Happy Birthday Dorothy!!!!

  106. Pastor Mark Loest & family November 13, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    Dear Dorothy,
    The list of accomplishemnts over many years is long and impressive. So many “vocations,” as Luther likes to call our various callings. Congratulations! Of course this list must start with your Baptism 88 years ago, and continues by the grace of God to this very hour.
    One great story: when we were at the Inn on Sunday, October 25, you greeted our family and indicated you knew our oldest daughter Audrey was working at the Inn. Then you told Andrew, who had just turned 8, “we’re waiting for you!” I think that story says it all. Charming, friendly and encouraging. And Andrew is already thinking about how he will look in Lederhosen in 2017.
    While I am not your pastor, I have known your gracious Christian hospitality and friendliness since we came to Frankentrost almost six years ago. Thank you. God’s blessings now and in the furture. And thanks be to God.

  107. Donna M. November 13, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    God’s blessings, congratulations, and many more to you Dorothy on your 88th birthday. My daughters and I have spent many Thanksgiving weekends in the third floor tower room “scrapbooking” our pictures and memories, catching up and enjoying our time together. We’ve always had dinner in the restaurant too. Even after a “turkey” feast at home, we’ve found room for a “chicken” feast on Saturday. The family has also celebrated many birthdays there in the past. May you continue to be active in all you do to make our visits as happy as they have been. Cordially, Donna M., Diana K., Deborah H.

  108. Justin Bamberg November 13, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    When I was first hired in at the Bavarian Inn almost 9 years ago, my first greeting from Dorothy was like every other new persons greeting in the office which was a sweet “Hello, my name is Dorothy, nice to meet you.” She would ask a couple of other questions and then move on back down to the kitchen. For me and for most, it was an honor meeting her.

    I unfortunately didn’t get much time to work with Tiny Zehnder, but there is one memory I have with the both of them. Bavarian Festival Parade Sunday my first year at the Bavarian Inn he came into his old office which was right next to our Front Office and we would all go in there and check out the parade and Dorothy stopped up to get him settled and after she left he asked if I could go get me a Chardonnay or a Brandy I can’t remember which. I was unsure at that moment on what to do so I ventured into the Alpine bar and asked the bar tender for what Tiny wanted and explained to him that Tiny was in his office and requested a drink. I did come back with his drink and Dorothy was up there by then and thanked me for helping but looked back at Tiny and yelled at him for having me get it in that older loving couple kind of yelling.

    My final memory is more personal to me as Dorothy couldn’t remember my name and she would always call me Jason, which was common to me, it is an easy mistake, but I think it frustrated her so she started calling me Buddy. She would come into the office asking for her “Buddy” or “where is my Buddy”, “when is my Buddy come back” and “Hi Buddy”.

    In May of this year, I moved out of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and crossed the river to the Bavarian Inn Lodge to work for Judy. I have had some wonderful memories at the Lodge as a child when my Grandparents would pick up us kids we would go to Frankenmuth and play games down in the Fun Center and play miniature golf. I’ve had some wonderful memories of the Bavarian Inn Corporation.

    If you ever get the pleasure, Dorothy gives out wonderful hugs.

    Happy Birthday Dorothy from your Buddy.

    Justin Bamberg
    Bavarian Inn Lodge
    Graphic/Webmaster and Marketing Specialist

  109. The Bartram Family November 13, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy!

    One of our favorite family traditions is our December weekend at the Bavarian Inn!

    After years of our local tree farms near our home turning into residential and commercial developments, we decided to spend a weekend in Frankenmuth and looked for a local tree farm for our holiday tree. Little did we know that weekend was the beginning of a new holiday Christmas tree tradition for the Bartram family!

    We now always spend an incredibly enjoyable weekend at the Bavarian Inn Hotel with our two daughters in December. We enjoy all of the family activities that are offered through the hotel. Swimming, video games, Ratskellar, putt-putt, great food, it never gets old! Even as the kids have grown up, they still enjoy the hotel and all it has to offer!

    Dinner is also always great at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant! We couldn’t spend the weekend in Frankenmuth without the fabulous chicken dinner!

    Before we drive home at the end of our weekend stay, we visit the local tree farm in Vassar in search of the perfect Christmas tree to cut down and bring home!

    This is a weekend that we plan and anticipate throughout the entire year! It just wouldn’t be the holidays at our house without this weekend to jumpstart our holiday season. We have such fond memories year after year!

    Thank you for providing such a great place to spend with our family and most especially for family traditions that will be with us and hopefully with our children’s families for years to come!

    Thanks for the memories! Have a fabulous 88th birthday, you deserve the very best!

    The Bartram Family
    Farmington Hills, MI

  110. Maryana Z November 13, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    This passed October was the 1st time I have stayed at the Bavarian Inn. Although my family and I visited Frankenmuth often, we rarely stayed over night – my parents liked to make 1day out of it. Boy by the end of the day I was worn out.

    October 15th weekend, me and my significant other Paul, decided to have a mini-getaway at the Lodge. That same day, in the hotel room, he gave me a scrapbook he made of our 2years together and to my shock the last page was a proposal. WE GOT ENGAGED! It was exciting enough to be at the Lodge for the 1st time, but the proposal made things much more special.

    We enjoyed the restaurants, mini-golf (he beat me by one point), and celebrating at Lorelie Lounge 🙂

    I’m sure we will make it our new tradition to go to Frankenmuth around October. It was a beautiful time of year.

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!

  111. Linda & Joseph Krause November 13, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy Zehnder!

    Thank you for all the wonderful dinners. My family has made Frankenmuth an annual event for the past 30 years. We spent the weekend at the Bavarian Lodge for Halloween what a fun place to be. The waitstaff was exceptional and the dinners delicious. We throughly enjoyed the two halloween parties in the lounge and will be coming back next year.

    Thank you again and enjoy your day.

    The Krause Family

  112. Maria November 13, 2009 at 11:30 am #


    We had as many as 5 generations staying at the Bavarian Inn up until 2002 when we lost our eldest Grandmother who loved it there.

    Our visits began in the 60’s. One particular memory stands out. We needed a special birthday cake and Zehnders had just closed. We were staying at the Bavarian Inn (as always) and their staff connected us to the Zehnders bakery. When I explained our situation, they offered to help. They asked me to come right over. When I got there a lady took me to the back of the bakery where she personalized a special cake for one of the 80th or 90 birthdays we were celebrating. We have never forgotten their Act of Kindness!

    My mother is 85 loves the food and accommodations. The eldest visiting Grandmother was 98 until she passed. It was wonderful to have a family oriented place where seniors (in wheelchairs with medical problems) could go and enjoy their Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, and Great-Great Grandchildren. Also a place that Grandchildren could enjoy their Grandparents and leave with wonderful memories.

    Wishing you and your family all of God’s Blessing!

  113. Beth Glitt November 13, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Happy 88th birthday Dorothy Zehnder,

    My husband and I travel every year to Michigan. The past four years we have stopped in Frankenmuth to enjoy the beauty of the town, Little Bavaria in the middle of Michigan, it is wonderful. This past summer we were able to bring my three children, all girls. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a life threatening and very rare disease the year before our visit. We didn’t know if she would survive her diagnosis let alone be able to travel. She did survive and our trip to Frankenmuth and our stay at the Bavarian Inn and dinner at your restaurant were highlights of a wonderful family gathering. We were able to celebrate the gifts that life has given us in a place where family is celebrated everyday. Thank you for what you give to everyone that visits and thank you for creating an atmosphere of joy, fun, friendship and love. We are all excited about our return visit in the spring of 2010. See you then and happy birthday.

  114. Kathleen Weger November 13, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    I want to say Happy Birthday to Dorothy Zehnder.
    I remember all the good times my sons and I have had when we visited the lodge.The dinner at the Lodge was always fun to watch the boys enjoy the soup and chicken how their little faces dug into the food like it was gold and I guess to them it was as they really look forward until we come back again.
    Many happy returns to all
    Kathy Weger

  115. Lisa Strait November 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder! I am writing this on my 45th birthday, which I was having qualms about until I saw the email saying that you are about to turn 88. Wow, If I can be as active and surrounded by love for the next 43 years as you are, I will find myself truly blessed. My husband & I attended the Michigan Sheriff’s Assoc conference in June, and were so pleased with our stay. At our dinner, you came out to meet all of us and say a few words. I was totally struck by what a wonderful, hard working women you are. Your work ethic is amazing. We will be back to see you soon, this time we are bringing our children. I do have memories of chicken dinners at Zehnders from when I was a child and I want my kids to have the same experience also. Hope to see you then, in the mean time, have a great Birthday and enjoy the memories. You have so much to be proud of.

  116. Debbie Alger November 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy! I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for years of special Frankenmuth visits. Growing up, it was always a special time to visit Bavarian Inn. Even now that I am grown, it has become our getaway of choice. We have very special memories of your restaurant, and now my children are making memories of there own. If we dare go to Frankenmuth without our kids – boy are we in trouble! Thanks for all you do and all you have done and a very, very blessed birthday!
    Debbie Alger and family

  117. Robin Bolyard DeHaven November 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Miss Dorothy,
    We have so many wonderful memories coming to your restaurant. My Grandmother loved it! Especially your wonderful chicken. We came at least twice a year until her death at 91 years young in 2004. I live in Texas now but I still order you chicken seasonings. Thank you and you family for our special memories!!!

    Happy Birthday to you!
    Wishing you many more!
    The Thibodeau family

  118. Jessica Unangst November 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder-
    Happy birthday, may you have many, many more to come! I have so many fond memories of the Bavarian Inn & Lodge. My first memory was when my father brought us over to watch the construction of the wooden bridge! So amazing that I, as a little girl, stood on the other side of the river, and watched them working on that beautiful bridge! The summer of 2001 I was married to my wonderful husband and we celebrated our wedding reception at the Lodge – it was one of the most memorable days of my life and the ambiance at the Lodge was the perfect setting for our special day! Now, every year my family gets together in the Spring at the Bavarian Inn for a special family meal. Our family continues to grow, we are up to 27. This special tradition was started by my Grandmother – who turned 84 in June. Grandmothers are such a special part of every family and teach us to start and continue traditions. She has instilled so many values in my life, I’m so very thankful, as I’m sure all of your grandchildren feel the same about you. Thank you for allowing us to make many special memories at the Inn and Lodge. These will last a lifetime!
    God Bless you,
    Jessica Unangst

  119. Sheila Hernandez November 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Happy Birthday!

    My family has been visiting Frankenmuth for years so the memories are long and happy but there is one time per year that is very special.
    Every year since my daughter’s birth nine years ago me, my daughter, mom, aunt and cousin visit for the weekend in December. (That’s 3 generations!)
    Since it’s an all girls trip we talk, eat (quite well!), laugh and act silly!
    At the end of the trip we always take a picture by the giant tree in the reception area and each year replace the last in the frame.
    Thank you for providing many wonderful experiences for my family from years past and years to come!

  120. Rosemary Karkosak November 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy and thank you for all the time you’ve spent working so families like ours could have a memorable dining experience. When our children were growing up, one of the highlights of our trips downstate would be stopping at Bavarian Inn for a family style chicken dinner on our way back up north. It was the perfect way to wrap up our vacation time. Thank you from our entire family for contributing to our collection of happy memories.

  121. Diane Scerba November 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Dear Dorothy Zender,

    Happy Birthday and best wishes for many, many, more! I have enjoyed your Bavarian Inn Restaraunt for many, many years – it is/was a family tradition that every August we would take our girls there for a dinner on our stay-cation. Now my “girls” are 29 and 33, and they still want me to take them there each year! In fact, this past Sept. 6th my beautiful daughter Kathi had her wedding at the Bavarian Lodge, and it was absolutely breathtaking – we couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day, and everyone raved about the food and the fun kid activities during their stay. Thank you so much for all you’ve done over the years, and a special Thank You for making my daughters wedding one that will never be forgotten.

  122. Mary Morgan November 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Dear Dorothy:
    Happy Birthday! I know it will be a memorable one for you. My husband, Randy, is a Baptist minister and when we moved to our first church in Caro, MI in July of 1971, we were about to celebrate our first anniversary. Friends suggested we go to the Bavarian Inn for a special dinner. I remember paying $3.99 for the chicken dinner – and truly got all we could eat! That began a love affair with the Bavarian Inn’s allure which continues to this day 38 years later! We still have the stein mugs we bought as an anniversary souvenir. For 10 straight years, we ate there on our anniversary and though we have moved to 3 different churches around Michigan, we continue to bring relatives, youth groups and friends to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn. We now own a ’54 Ford which we enter into the AutoFest each September, so keep having occasion to go to Frankenmuth and the Inn. Your family has added a great deal to the charm of the city and that is another thing to celebrate. May God continue to bless you and may you feel a portion of the joy you have given to many others down through the years.
    Mary Morgan

  123. Gina Dobbins November 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Dear Dorothy Zender,
    I wanted to wish you the Happy Birthday from my home to your’s.
    I come there all the time with many friends but allways on my Birthday Dec. 7th. Your Restaraunt was the frist place my husband took me 25 years ago. So it is a memory for us. I thank you so much and I miss your coffee ice cream the soft one you made hahaha. It was good and you keep up the good work. Wish you many more and have a wonderful day see you that week I turn 50th this year. So we both have somthing to be thankful for. God bless you
    Happy Birthday Gina

  124. Josephine Mintoff November 13, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zhender!

    I have been coming to Frankenmuth since I was a little girl. Now that I am married with two children, we have been coming to Frankenmuth twice a year. It has become a tradition to come and eat the famous chicken dinner, we enjoy so much. Everything is so magnificent, even the staff, and the cleanliness. We really look forward to coming to visit Frankenmuth, our next visit is in June, we have already made our reservations with the Lodge.

    I hope that you have many more wonderful years and God Bless You!

    The Mintoff Family
    Norm, Josephine, Stephanie, Norman

  125. Joann Sovel November 13, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    My family has been coming for Chicken dinners since my first daughter was six months old, both my daughters have always looked forward to coming every year. We had a few exchange students that always enjoyed Frankenmuth. It was an exciting year when they both brought along their husbands. We have recorded many family firsts based on our trip to Frankenmuth. This year we will be joined by my granddaughter….who is six months old. The tradition is being carried on to a new generation.
    Thanks for the great memories and the great food!
    Enjoy your birthday!

  126. Constance K. Kranich November 13, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Your place is my favorite restaurant.!! I have memories of coming there since I was a child living in Caro, MI. We have come there for every special occasion possible. My dearest family members and special friends come with me. Love the dinners there and the shopping now too!! Thanks for so many special memories. I plan to keep coming and enjoying as long as I have breath and God allows me to get around!! Thanks so much!! I’m just 68. There is still time for me to come there again and again!!! Thanks!!

  127. Debbie Richmond November 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    Happy birthday, Mrs. Zehnder! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to tell you how much Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn mean to me. I have been visiting Frankenmuth with my family since I was a little girl. At least one Sunday per month we would pile into the car and drive from the suburbs of Detroit to Frankenmuth for an afternoon of walking, shopping and, of course, eating dinner at Bavarian Inn. I have such fond memories of these special family days. You see, my dad worked for a construction company and was gone from early in the morning until late at night Monday through Saturday. I rarely saw him for more than a few minutes during the week. But on Sunday we had family day. The five of us would talk, laugh and get to know each other a little better. So many of our family days took place in Frankenmuth that I still love going there and I am now almost 35 years old with a 4 year old son of my own. In fact, I love it there so much that my husband chose it as the location for his marriage proposal on my birthday in 2002! We had a lovely dinner at Bavarian Inn and then went on a horse and carriage ride, which is where he pulled out a ring and asked me to be his wife. So you see, Frankenmuth and Bavarian Inn are very special to me for many, many reasons. And I want to thank you and your family for making it so. Your hard work and devotion to making everyone else happy have not gone unnoticed. You are very much appreciated and should be very proud of what you have accomplished. I wish you many more years of your own happy memories, and I look forward to visiting again very soon. Sincerely, Debbie Richmond.

  128. Jim and Krystal Kaiser November 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!
    I have been coming to Frankenmuth ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always wanted to get married there and this past August I was married in Fischer Hall with our reception at Bavarian Inn restaurant. It was everything I had imagined! Also my husbands last name is German so it was perfect! I love the Chicken dinner and we go to Frankenmuth at least 5 times a year or more! The Lodge is wonderful! My guests and I stayed there and its soooo much fun! All my guests were impressed!! Thanks for all the great memories and much more to come when we start our family. Happy Happy Birthday!!

  129. Lal Cook November 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!

    Along with my partner and our two 9 year-old grandaughters, we had traveled to Michigan from Connecticut in August this year with an American friend to visit his brother and sister-in-law for a family get-together, and stayed overnight in Frankenmuth (never heard of the place before then!) and met up with further family members of my friend for a meal at the Bavarian Inn, a lovely experience which we all enjoyed, we later returned to the Inn to do a bit of shopping, some of which came home with us to London, England. A fabulous memory from a great holiday. You must be very proud of what your family has achieved, we wish you many more birthdays… Just wish your Inn was situated a bit closer to us… Lal Cook.

  130. Holly Nester November 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder:

    Frankenmuth is part of the wonderful uniqueness of Michigan. Thank you for being a part of that. One of the few vacations that I’ve been able to have with my husband was a weekend at the Bavarian Inn. We had a wonderful time and it brought back fond memories of visiting when I was a kid. I hope you have the most wonderful birthday.

  131. Lou Bressette November 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Dear Dorothy:
    My family and I are wishing you a very Happy Birthday. We are your canadian friends who come to Frankenmuth as often as we can to enjoy the beautiful Bavarian town of Frankenmuth. The amenities, shopping and fine eating keep us coming back for more. Thank you for making Bronners a beautiful place for families and friends to come together for an unforgettable experience.
    God Bless You.
    The Bressette Family From Canada

  132. Scott and Julie Lomas November 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    Happy Birthday!
    I have been coming to Frankenmuth since I was a small boy with my grandparents, Ralph and Rozella Shumaker. Since then the tradition has continued and my wife and I have taken our daughters and now our granddaughter.

    One of the last memories I have of my grandpa was our trip to Bavarian Inn (and Cheese Haus) the month before he was called home to be with the Lord. I can still see him munching on some cheese he bought after a huge dinner and him tell me not to tell grandma.

    I pray that God blesses you with a special blessing this year.

    Scott & Julie

  133. Marion Zidzik Rozum November 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations on a successful family business. My family also is involved in a family business, and we understand all that you have given, not only to your business and family but also to all who walk in your doors. Another great example of the American dream, but only those who share a family business know all the blood, sweat and tears along with the gratification that goes into serving others. Thankfully, it gives us great satisfaction and pride in our families. Your restaurant has always been a destination for out of town visitors. The ride from Canton, Michigan gives us plenty of time to catch up on each others lives and to anticipate a wonderful dinner. Tomorrow we will be in your restaurant celebrating two birthdays with our company from Pennsylvania.

    Wishing you a wonderful family celebration of your life!

  134. Cathy November 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Happy Birthday! I find it remarkable and wonderful that you are still working 6 days a week (unless of course it is against your will (just kidding!).

    I am one of 10 children. I have a fond memory of all of us eating at your restaurant, with most as adults, and our parents. I still remember the pleasure of a great meal with all of my siblings and both of my parents, and that FUN ice cream with the little plastic animal on top!
    Another fond memory is: my in-laws shared the same birth date. Their family traveled there to celebrate the birthdays 2 years in a row.
    Finally, my own children (young adults) will spontaneously state, “I’m in the mood for a big chicken dinner! Let’s go to Frankenmuth.” We get there 1-2 times a year.
    Thank you, and God bless you on your birthday — but take some time to REST and ENJOY your life!!

  135. Kimberly November 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    Happy Birthday! I would like to send you my families most heartiest congratulations on your 88th special year! You are a true inspiration to us all, keeping up in a comercial kitchen at your age is a wonderful thing.
    I also share my birthday, Dec.7, with my family at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and resteraunt every year! We rent a suite and have a wonderful time making new memories. Thank you for making my day so special to me. Best Wishes for many more.

  136. steve and suzanne sadlocha November 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    happy birthday and you deserve many more, Dorothy .
    I too am a grandmother and have been coming to the inn for many many years. I came as a young married person, brought our children every year, a couple of times a year and now our grands. Dorothy, my girls even made a reservation for me to come and grieve my fathers death. I stayed a couple of days and did feel a bit better. Everyone is helpful and you feel as though you are at home, I would call it a comfortable feeling.
    Thank you Dorothy for sharing your life with all of us.
    The sadlocha family

  137. Lorraine Ruediger Goward November 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    We started coming over to Frankenmuth for chicken dinners for my dad’s birthday every year on June 1. We also came to mark special days, such as Grandma’s birthday, anniversaries, special aachievements. A very special day that I will cherish forever is bringing my daughter there for lunch after shopping and buying her wedding dress. What a special day that was! Dorothy, you are a hard working woman, and you have made the restaurant the success that it is. Happy Birthday.

  138. Audrey Bassett November 13, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    You are an inspiration to all of us oldsters. I am not quite as old as you, but the idea of working every day–especially in the kitchen–is daunting. I couldn’t so it, but more power to you. Please take the day of your birthday off.

  139. The Martin Family November 13, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    Our family has been going to Frankenmuth for the famous chicken dinner’s for as long as I can remember. My mom’s birthday and mine is in October and thats where the family celebrates it. The fall colors are wonderful and so is the family style chicken dinners. The whole family would load up in the motor home and celebrate birthdays in Frankenmuth. So on your Birthday Dorothy we would like to wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Just as you had made ours with the wonderful family style chicken dinners!!

  140. Rachel Klaus November 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Zehnder! What a blessing of 88 years you’ve had! I wish you many, many more happy years!

    At least once a year (sometimes more) since I was about 5, my family has piled in the car and driven to spend a day or more in Frankenmuth. It’s something we all look forward to! Over these past 19 years of my life, various family events have been held at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant including my grandparent’s anniversary dinners, birthdays, and, perhaps the most special for us, dinners with my dad before he left for Iraq and when he, thank God, safely returned home from Iraq! We’ve brought new friends to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge, we’ve added new family members (my husband and my sister in law) to our annual trips, and just recently my husband and I took our 2 daughters for a family day in Frankenmuth that was completed with dinner at the Bavarian Inn! My oldest still talks about “Fwankenmoof” all the time! I only hope that she grows to have the same fond memories of it all that I do!

    I have WONDERFUL memories of all my church youth group winter retreats at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. Many rounds of pool, video games, and karaoke songs were sung and played there! As well as lots of swimming. We’re all amazed that, year after year, we were welcomed back! Not many places would gladly take back a group of excited teens!

    Mrs. Zehnder, your hard work and dedication to all you do makes everything so special and well worth the trip! I look forward to many more dinners and memories in your restaurant! Happy Birthday!!!!!

  141. Liz Spangenberg November 14, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    I was eating lunch in Zehnders yesterday with my daughter Kari and grandson Lucas. Happy 88th birthday and may you have many more. We have several family memories of eating at both of the restaurants and one recent memory was coming up for the ice festival two years ago with my son Pete, granddaughter Amy Stevens and grandson Matt Iverson on a Sunday and we all enjoyed our day in Frankenmuth. My husband Bill worked for The American Institute of Baking and he inspected “Star of the West” several times and gave them top grades! Thanks for great meals and happy memories. The Spangenberg Family

  142. Judy Gaitley November 14, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    Happy Birthday!
    We have been coming to Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn since I was a little girl. I still enjoy coming up to stay, eat and shop. Have a great birthday and take the day off!!

  143. Linda S Bentley November 14, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!

    What a wonderful contribution you have made to the patrons of the Bavarian Inn resturant. My mother and I came to Frankenmuth thirty five years ago. We returned with my children in tow and now the whole family comes at least for Mother’s Day, weekend visits, and other occasions. Everyone looks forward to the food, especially the noodles! Thank you so much for providing such wonderful food and great atmosphere for my family to enjoy. Hope you have a special celebration.

  144. Tami Houck November 14, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Happiest of Birthdays, Dorothy!!
    It is our honor and priviledge to be writing this letter to you on such a special day! Our family has a long standing tradition of visiting your restaurant every year in November. It for us, symbolizes the start of the holiday season. We were just there last weekend! My mother, God rest her soul, used to take us to your restaurant every year just for that purpose and we have continued the tradition with our kids. Thanks for making the start to our holiday season such a memorable tradition and for always making the wholesome food you do! It is becoming a lost art to make food that it nutritious for you body and tastes good, too! You do it so well and you can tell the love that goes into each bite!! Thanks for being the hard worker that you are and we wish you many happy returns of the day!!

  145. Trish Sigmond November 14, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Dorothy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I think it is awesome that you are so much still involved in the everyday work at the Bavariann Inn! It is such a wonderful place and no doubt you have helped make it that way! My husband and I make our way up to Frankenmuth at least once a year. It is special to us and we enjoy our time there. We love staying at the Lodge, especially room #469 !! It is so peaceful to walk out on to the balcony and watch the sun set over the lake. We have so many memories staying there and we definatley owe them to you and your family!! Please know that you have made our lives sweeter by devoting your time and energy to this great place!! Happy Birthday !

  146. Amy Kovacs November 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!! My husband and I have brought our boys — currently ages six and five — to the Bavarian Inn for the past three years over February break. My sister-in-law and her two kids join us as well, and we always have a wonderful time. It’s such a great place for young families to enjoy spending time together. From swimming to putt-putt golf to games, we always have a great time. Thank you so much for maintaining such a wonderful family environment. We love it! Enjoy your special day!!!!!!!!!!!

  147. Linda and David Manini November 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    Happy Happy Birthday!
    About 15 years ago my husband and I spent only 1 night in Frankenmuth
    and always said we would return. Well, this past July we came back and I can’t tell you what a wonderful visit we had.
    We didn’t know what to expect when we walked into your restaurant as it was our first time but I can tell you now how much we enjoyed it. We were given a mini tour of the kitchen while we waited for our meal and it was amazing what goes on behind those doors. Our waitress Niki was a joy and the experience we had there was fantastic. We are already talking about going back for a longer visit next time(we only had 2 nights) and of course our first dinner stop will be The Bavarian Inn.
    Please keep up the fantastic cooking. Our meals were superb.
    Thank you for making our visit so special.
    Enjoy your day and wishing your many more.

  148. Christine Chavez November 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,
    I would like to say thank you for everything you have done to make Bavarian Inn what it is. I have been going there ever since I was a little girl with my family. It is absolutely my favorite place to be. I introduced my husband to your wonderful Inn the moment we started dating. We are now expecting our first child in June and my plan is to have the baby’s baptismal reception at the Bavarian Inn. I can think of no other place that would do that special day justice. I am so excited to have my child experience the wonder of Bavarian Inn and the whole town of Frankenmuth. I know he/she will come to love it as much as I do which is why I wanted to say thank you. Your story is such an inspiration to me. Have a wonderful birthday and we wish you many many more!

  149. Linda Hudspeth November 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    Dear Ms. Dorothy,
    Have a wonderful birthday…. and many more! I visit Bavarian Lodge twice per year… once in Fall for the colors and the other for my own birthday in February.

    One of my favorite memory is giving my tween twins (9 years old) the key to the room… having them promise to stay together… and allowing them to go ‘alone’ to the game room. They left filled with pride (hands filled with loose change) and so happy, never knowing that my husband and I followed them from a safe distance. We had since grown to trust the Lodge to have a safe family atmosphere for my kids to enjoy the games, pools, and snacks.

    Thanks for giving us a wonderful family vacation spot (that even my twins, now 18 years old, still ask to come along with us).

    Happy Birthday!!!!

  150. Ruth Belisle November 14, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Over the years it’s been a tradition for me to spend a special day with each of my grandchildren in honor of their birthdays. As part of the activities we enjoy on that special day, I let them choose their favorite restaurant for our meal. Invariably they choose the Bavarian Inn…with the waiters and waitresses in their nifty Bavarian garb and Linda Lee coming around to serenade them and have a picture taken with them. As you can see, in addition to my children, I’ve shared these happy memories with my grandchildren. So Dorothy, we all wish you a very happy, healthy, joyful 88th birthday with your family, and we thank you for the wonderful memories.

  151. Mike Williams November 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy,
    I am only 50 but have been going to the Bavarian Inn all my life. My Mom and Dad would pack all 7 of us kids in the car and run up I-75 from Livonia a few times a year. My dad would tell us about going up there when he was a kid. I remember waiting on the front porch for a table and the little figurines in the Ice Cream. All of us have continued to make trips to the Frankenmuth and my Sister was even married there. This is especially amazing as we live in other states now.
    On several occasions we have met my pastor at the Bavarian Inn as it is also a tradition for them, and we live in Illinois.
    Recently my daughter brought her fiancée all the way from Tennessee, telling him that this was a tradition she wanted to start in their family as well. After all it is the best chicken in the world.
    Many happy returns,
    Mike and Tracey Williams

  152. Karen Brown November 15, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    My husband treated me to a very special 45th birthday celebration the 1st week of October this year. He grew up in Michigan (we live in Texas), and I’ve always wanted to visit. So, he gave me the best tour of his old stomping grounds as well as special places he had never been able to visit. One of these places was Frankenmuth, and we had the privilege of staying at the Bavarian Inn. What a beautiful, family-oriented place to stay! Everyone was wonderful and hospitable, and the air conditioning problem in our room was handled perfectly. While in the hotel room, we had the honor of watching a program of your history. I have never heard such a sweet story of dedication and life’s work. The treasured memories and traditions I’ve read in other postings show me the magical, warm hearted atmosphere you have created. We had dinner in the restaurant, and everything was wonderful. The next morning I was ordering breakfast to take back to the room, and my husband wanted pigs in a blanket. I couldn’t find it on the menu, was going to order something else, but the hostess was determined to try. So, she came back with the manager, who ran off to the kitchen and talked to the chef. The chef made a wonderful creation out of sausage and pancakes, arranged fancily on a plate with strawberries. My husband was very pleased. Although I haven’t met you and I may have only that one experience, I feel fortunate to have had a glimpse of what others have made into a tradition. It seems to me that you are one special lady, and I wish you a very special, happy birthday!

  153. Robert M. Smith November 15, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder :
    We have been visiting and “loving” Frankenmuth for over 35 years and never grow tired of your wonderful hospitality . We make the trip from our home just across the Canadian border several times a year and always stay at the Bavarian Inn . Once a year we go as a three generation family with our children and grandchildren .
    Earlier this week (Tues. Nov. 10) we stopped at the Bavarian Restaurant bakery first thing in the morning . As we were parking, a lovely lady entered the lot and parked her vintage Buick in a spot marked “Reserved” .As she walked toward the restaurant she gave us the most beautiful smile anyone could receive .I don’t speak or spell German very well but I believe she was saying “Welkommen” or however it is spelled . We felt like she knew us personally .It was of course the wonderful lady Dorothy Zehnder reporting for work . She had so much enthusiasm in her face and so much “spring” in her step . It was a moment to be cherished ….
    Happy Birthday from Linda & Robert Smith LaSalle Ont.

  154. bob travis November 15, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    A big thank you from my family to yours for all the years of good-eating and fun we’ve had at Frankenmuth. I’ve been coming up there since childhood and am now bringing my grandchildren. I was there for the millenium celebration New Years Eve,1999. We will be there for Thanksgiving this year. Thanks again Dorothy for all you do and have done.

  155. Julie Jaehnig November 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy,

    I have only been to your restaurant twice so far, but both times, as I live quite far away. Both times the food and service have been memorable, as everything was wonderful.

    I wish you the very best in life, family, and friends.


  156. Ron and Angie Olsen November 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Frankenmuth and this past year for our 25th wedding anniversary we stayed 3 days! We have stayed at your hotel anywhere from 4 – 6 times every year since we have been married. It is our down time as we both work, run a business and serve at a high level in our church. we get the honeymoon jaucuzzi suite and love it! May God Bless You with health and happiness for the next 88 years!!!

  157. Kraig Cawley November 15, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    I would like to thank the entire family for a wonderful operation that has helped me build many wonderful Memories. On this occasion the Bavarian Inn memory I wish to share is the tradition I held with my Grandfather, of enjoying a fine lunch with him at the Bavarian Inn one Saturday per month during lawn mowing season. After I finished mowing his lawn (on the South Side of Saginaw–driving to his home from my parents’ Frankenmuth home), he would lead me to your restaurant and order your Giblets and Gravy, each time he’d tell me how they were better than the last, and that no one else made them that way anymore. This was in the mid to late 1970’s. Wishing Mrs. Dorothy Zehnder a very special happy birthday.

  158. Cathy (Zuellig) Mitri November 15, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder:

    Congratulations on your 88th birthday! It seems like yesterday that I worked in the meat dept. and as a waitress at the Bavarian Inn. I was so thankful to work at such a fine business throughout high school and college. I still recall looking forward to coming back on college break even if it was only to work a few days. You, Tiny, Bill, Karen were always happy to see us all return. Your hard work and endless hours were an inspiration to me when my feet were killing after a 10 hr shift during Bavarian Festival. But you were there when I arrived and were still there when I left – with always a smile on your face.

    I am grateful for all the friends I made and opportunities I had while employed by you. Thank you for the work ethic you instilled in us all. I only wish the patrons could know what a fantastic lady you are – your business has thrived because of the way you live your life in the Lord.

    Happy Birthday!

  159. Maggie Bognar November 16, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!!!
    My Name is Maggie, and I was a waitress at the Bavarian Inn about 1986. I really enjoyed working for your company. I would say from all of the jobs I have worked in between, that it is one of my top favorite jobs that I had ever worked. You and Tiny took care of your employees by having great incentives for working there and you always had special special dinners made just for the employees that were not even offered on the menu.
    I remember you bring special motivational speakers for the employees and you had great respect for everyone that worked there.
    It was a job I had always looked forward to going to. Thank you for making it easy.
    God Bless you abundantly even more from your generosity!
    Maggie Bognar

  160. JOHN MALKOWSKI AND FAMILY November 16, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    Happy birthday,
    My family and I have been going to Frankenmuth for many years. My parents loved taking us to your place and we always had a good time. Thanks for everything and hope you have many more birthdays.
    The Malkowski family

  161. Sheila & Lynn Stamiris November 16, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Dearest Dorothy — while I have had great pleasure working with you, Tiny and the rest of the Zehnder family for this past 10 years … one of my favorite memories of the Bavarian Inn comes from Christmas of 1985. I was pregnant with my youngest child and actually spent 8 hours in the hospital on Christmas Eve (her due date.) After alot of “nothing” … I went home without delivering and far from feeling ready to make Christmas dinner. So along with Lynn’s Mother and Dad, daughters Kara and Sarah … we came to the Bavarian Inn for Christmas dinner. You still had a few reservations left … and we enjoyed a most memorable dinner. Our youngest, Kate, was born on Dec 30 of that same year … thanks for your friendship and kindness you have shared with me. Happy, Happy Birthday! All the best … Sheila & Lynn

  162. Larry and JoAnne Burrill November 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday to a Grand Lady. You and your family have treated us very special each time we come to the Lodge or Restaurant. You can always expect a good time and good food.

    Larry and I have been coming to Frankenmuth for over 40 years. We have spent many occasions with family at the Bavarian Inn and have enjoyed seeing you, whether at the restaurant or on your way to a charity function. You have so much energy, concern for people and love for good food.

    We thank you for continuing to make the lodge and Bavarian Inn places everyone should visit, whether for a special event or just a leisurely evening out.

    Our special wishes to you, Dorothy, for a wonderful birthday and many, many more. We know your whole family will be celebrating with you and our thoughts will be with you.

    Fondly, Larry and JoAnne Burrill

  163. Lori Adkins November 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder,

    I have been coming to your restaurant almost yearly since I was very little, I am now 31 years old. Last August my husband and I took our then 4 month old daughter on our first family vacation to The Bavarian Inn. The hotel and restaurant will now always hold a special meaning to us. We would like to thank you for creating such a special place for visitors from all over the world. We look forward to coming back many times in the future.

    The Adkins–Royal Oak, MI

  164. Peter J. Danielczuk November 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Being a polka DJ from CT, my wife and I and friends enjoy coming to Frankenmuth for the Summer Music Fest. The one thing we look fowrard to is dining at the Bavarian Inn. We have been coming for many years and had the pleasure of meeting Dorothy. We think she is wonderful and wish the very best on her birthday. In Polish we say Sto Lat!. God Bless you for many more years Dorothy and we will continue to look forward to many good meals at the Inn

  165. Theresa DuRocher November 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you and many more! You are a true gem and I wish you all the best. I so enjoyed my days working at Zehnders. Frenchy and I so loved being there. Sending you hugs and best wishes for your birthday.

    Theresa DuRocher and
    daughter, Maryagnes Van Klaveren

  166. Mrs. Carrie Dimmer November 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    First and Foremost, have a blessed Birthday…. May God Bless you, your family and your business for years to come….

    Your Hotel and Restuarant, hold a very special place in my heart as well as my families. As children, my husband and I had fond memories of many dinners at the Bavarian Inn. Always remembering the little Bavarian people in the ice cream you would get. Now our children are receiving that same memory. We began taking our family to your hotel 3 years ago. We and our children loved it so much that we made sure we came up at least 2x a year.

    Your hotel will even be more sacred to me as my last family vacation was held there Thanksgiving 08 before my young husband suddenly died 8 weeks later.

    Soon after, your place became a refuge as I have spent two weekends there this year to get away and grieve at the place we loved…. Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn.. Our young children love it there and so do we…

    I will always make it a point to come up from Detroit once a year to have your wonderful food, a wonderful room, great swimming, warm staff, and to see and shop in your beautiful town.

    Happy Birthday again, and Thank you for your hard work and wonderful establishment.


    Carrie Dimmer

  167. rita and ken englebry November 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,
    Happy Birthday and hopefully many, MANY more ;0)
    We have been coming to The Bavarian Inn for over 20 years. My husband was on the Fire & Rescue Team for Ford Mtr. in Avon Lake,OH. Whenever they had their competitions in Michigan, we always made reservations and came to your establishment. We even brought our grandson who LOVES YOU! We also came at the varied winter holidays and loved watching our children, then THEIR children’s eyes dance to the beauty, kindness, and all-around family feelings we received. We never get tired of coming here. Now we are bringing our two grandchildren before Thanksgiving….maybe next year we will be lucky enough to bring our latest arrival and her parents from GA. It’s always nice to come to The Bavarian Inn. Frankenmuth is such a friendly place.

  168. Michael Garlick November 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    We’ve been coming as a family to your home, and I say home because it doesn’t feel like a business Dorthy and Tiny. Always made us feel welcome. My Grandma always took us to your home, and now that she’s gone. We take our children too!

    Happy Birthday, and Many Happy Returns,

    Thanks for the Home Cooked Meals,

    The Garlick Family
    Michael, Betty, Chelsae, Jacob & Ian.

    P.S. We’ve already made reservations for this year, can’t make your birthday but will see you Dec. 17th.

  169. Joanna Morris November 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!

    I have been so blessed to work for the Bavarian Inn Corporation for the past 12 years and was fortunate enough to work at the Restaurant with you at the beginning of my career. I remember when I was asked to update menu specials after Renee who worked in the Front Office area took another job. I was so excited to be able to work with you on this task because I knew that I would learn more than just monthly specials!

    I always think fondly of my time at the Restaurant and am truly amazed by the personal interaction that you have with the staff members. It was a such an honor to have you and Judy stand on stage with me and install me to the President’s seat for the Board of Michigan Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. This is a memory that I will hold in my heart for a life time. Thank you for all that you do for Frankenmuth, your staff and your guests. We are all better for having known you!

    God Bless You,

    Joanna Morris
    Assistant General Manager
    Bavarian Inn Lodge

  170. Dave Serowik November 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy,
    Me and my family and friend’s. Have alway’s enjoyed comming to
    Frankenmuth to enjoy the best Chicken Dinner in the world.
    We have been comming for 25 year’s plus. My family and I tried both
    Zehnder’s and Bavarian Inn. I love Zehnder’s the best.
    We would come from skying trip’s to have a great chicken every year.
    I belong to the Warren Michigan Jayceess for are Brunch last Sunday.
    The meal was great the chicken was so good so was the sqarsh.
    I also love to walk around.Every time I’m there I feel like I’m part of your family, I feel at home. I hope you many more Happy Birthday to come.I will be returning to enjoy the best Chicken in the world in the comming Future.- Dave Serowik

  171. Kathy Gaylord November 16, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Happy birthday Mrs Zehnder! My family and friends have enjoyed spending our birthdays and Christmas parties in Frankenmuth. Thank you for providing a great and memorable place for people to enjoy! May God bless you with many healthy and happy years to come!!

  172. David Marten November 17, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy. Wow 88 years young. My family and I have been returning to the Bavarian Inn for years as it is a warm and friendly spot with great food. I was lucky enough to get my MBA through Michigan State with Karen. She introduced my boys to the kitchen where you (Dorothy) put them to work and showed them what a great operation your have. They will never forget their experience. The Frankenmuth tradition will hopefully always remain. All the best to the Zehnder family and to your special day.

  173. Laura Jackson November 17, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Ms. Zehnder. I must say that you should be very proud of all of your accomplishments. Your restaurant has a very special place in my heart. It has become a tradition that on my Grandparents birthday, they take their free chicken coupons and invite our family up to Zehnders where we enjoy a family meal. It is always delicious and a great family memory. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful birthday!!!

  174. Natalie Barger November 17, 2009 at 5:11 am #

    Dear Dorothy,

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for your love of family and goodness. You certainly are a women of proverbs 31: ” Your children rise up and call her blessed.” My family and I have spent a few weekends at the Bavarian Inn both the restaurant and lodge. It is wonderful to go to a place where family love and care is premium.

    I can just enjoy the wonderful food and atmosphere that you and your
    family provide. My Mother who is now with the Lord always made special dinners on Sunday after Church.

    Thank you for being an inspiration and blessing to so many and may God bless you for your kindness in this world and in Heaven.

    The Barger Family

  175. Agnes November 17, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Well, happiest of happy birthdays! We come to Frankenmuth at least once a year. My birthday is in September and husband’s is in November. My husband’s standard joke is we come for the free chicken dinner and it only costs us 200 to 300 dollars! I do hope you have a wonderful year and I want you to know how much WE appreciate your place and thank you for the warm memories you have help created for us. Peace and blessings. The Zellers of Crown Point, Indiana

  176. Nancy Genova-Mitchell November 17, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!! Just wanted to take an opportunity to let you know that staying at the Bavarian Inn for family birthdays has been a tradition in our family for many years. My mother started the tradition back in 2001, the year I divorced, as a way to show us that our family will still be connected. Since that time, we have celebrated countless birthday weekends at the Bavarian Inn. My mother passed in June of 2005 and we came to the Bavarian Inn to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in September 2005. How excited we were to have the MacLellan family suite – my mother’s maiden name!! It was like she was with us the entire time. Since that time, we have requested the MacLellan room each time we stay and celebrate our birthdays together with my mother’s spirit with us!! Thank you so much for all your hard work and for allowing us to share our private memories with you on this your 88th birthday!!

    Nancy Genova-Mitchell and Family

  177. Arno & Jan Schury November 17, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Dorothy, you have made a difference in Frankenmuth & our world since we moved to Frankenmuth 35 years ago. You always have a smile & a hug when meeting us. When we have family get-togethers at BI, you are there to congratulate us for whatever the celebration or if we are just having a sandwich in the bar, there you are to greet us & wish us “Das gute Essen”. We know “Chef Dorothy” has great presence in the BI kitchen. Your specialty desserts are always tempting. No calories, you say! Dorothy, you have made a differnece in Frankenmuth & in our world. We are honored to know you as a special lady & friend. Have a wonderful 88th birthday. Love Jan & Arno Schury

  178. Teresa Gerring November 17, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zender,
    I have many fond memories of visiting the Bavarian Inn as a youth with my parents and grandparents. We didn’t get to come often, so it was a really big event and I looked forward to it because everything was so beautiful and the food was so delicious. I married and moved away but in 2001 my family returned to Michigan and one week-end we brought my then five year old son to Frankenmuth for his first visit. While we were at dinner, my son Logan, who was really into the food network at the time, was overheard by our waitress expressing some curiosity about the kitchen where you cooked the food for “all those people” he saw around us. The waitress casually asked him if he would like to see it and when he eagerly said yes, she said she would see what she could do. A few minutes later a very sweet lady in kitchen attire came and asked us to join her for a little walk through the kitchen. Logan stared in amazement at the huge kettles cooking and all of the machines and utensils used to prepare your wonderful meals. It was an experience he has never forgotten and the Bavarian Inn remains his favorite place to eat today. We didn’t know until the end of the meal that the lady who came and gave us our kitchen tour was none other than Mrs. Dorothy Zender! I want you to know how much we appreciate the time you have taken to make the Bavarian Inn such a wonderful family place and to make people, even little people like my son, feel special there! We hope you have a Wonderful Birthday filled with the warm memories of family and friends that you have made possible for so many of us over the years. May God Bless You! Teresa Gerring

  179. Jakob Heckert November 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder, may our Lord richly bless you on your eighty-eighth birthday. May you have many more. You are a great lady, who delights the staff people and the public. We appreciate you and your work greatly. You children demonstrate the fine person you are. Jakob Heckert

  180. Tracy Weber November 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    Dear Dorothy: Thank you for your generous, strong, and loving spirit – you are an inspiration. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Tracy

  181. Rev. Brian and Johnda Tuttle November 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    We both wish you the happiest of birthdays! You have been both such a wonderful friend and business associate!
    And you are such an inspiration to the entire community. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives and that you continue to be a daily part of the community. You and Tiny created such a wonderful legacy within Frankenmuth and we are so lucky to be able to share in your continued spirit and drive that keeps this such a wonderful place to visit and live! And the fact that you still work so hard keeps me motivated to try and keep up with you (I can’t….you still work circles around us!). Although we have seen each other and worked together since I was invited to the Lodge to assist with weddings starting in 2006 (I married Sabine, who worked for you at the time) – it was a chance meeting in 1996 of both you and Tiny that shall stay with me and my visits to Frankenmuth since. That meeting the summer of 1996, was following the tornado that struck Frankenmuth and I came up to see if I could help. The many volunteers worked off and on for many days, but it was the invitation by one of the families to come and visit and dine at the restaurant that I happened to meet you too! There were years following that we would come to eat and we always had wonderful meals and enjoyed seeing you. These days, I get to share some of my work-days with you, Judy, and the entire family – as well as all the Bavarian Inn associates who I know you also consider your family. Reading many of these well wishes in celebration of your birthday are so many who have worked with/for you all these years. You can see what an inspiration you have been on so many – and why so many of these folks love it and you so much that they never leave the Bavarian Inn. Blessings to you, from both of us!
    Rev. Brian and Johnda Tuttle

  182. Cheryl Hubbard November 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    Dear Dorothy – Thank you for staying committed to something great all these years while most people would have given up. You are an inspiration. One of my favorite childhood memories was the plastic monkey on my vanilla/orange swirl ice cream at the Bavarian Inn! Happy birthday and God bless you!

  183. Sharon Schmult November 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    Hoping you have a wonderful Birthday. We have celebrated our Mothers Birthday with a over night stay at the Lodge and dinner and celebration at Zenders for the last few years. She is now 86 years old and loves to go to Frankenmuth whenever she can. Every one there has always made our stay fantastic.

    Thank you for everything and again Happy 88 Birthday.


  184. Norm Hughes November 18, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    Congratulations and God Bless You, Dorothy!
    I met you and Tiny when running for Congress in 1978 and 1980. Although the rumor was that you were of a different political party I felt your love and your support, as I did from many others in this lovely Bavarian village – the Bronners, Raus, Rupprechts, etc. What a special place! Perhaps it was the Lutheran and German connection, but I think it runs in the genes. Our family retains a tradition of visiting your restaurants a couple or more times each year and we will be bringing two of our children and their husbands and children, two brothers and their families and my 91 year old mother to see you the Saturday after Thanksgiving. God Speed! Norm Hughes

  185. Marianne McArdle Ginnan November 18, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    I grew up in the Detroit area during the 60’s & 70’s. My family was never especially close, in fact, volatile was probably a better description. Even as a young child, I would get a stomachache when I knew family events were coming as I knew my mother would end up mad at someone and ruin the day. The one time we could all come together peacefully was the yearly trip to Frankenmuth. We would walk around town, going into all the little shops (when the Christmas stores were on the corners, remember? I loved those shops! They were magical!!), then head to dinner. This family who could barely stand to talk with one another could wait in line for food for two hours together.

    I am now married and live out of state. The trips we have planned with our family back to Michigan are not complete without a trip to Frankenmuth. In fact, we have planned trips SPECIFICALLY for going to
    Frankenmuth. Both boys cherish those memories as much as I did~getting to share in something I did as a child. My goal is to someday have my Christmas tree be ALL Frankenmuth ornaments!

    Thank you for doing what you do so we can all have our special memories and family traditions!

    Happy Birthday, dear Dorothy!

  186. Judi Lincoln November 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    I met Dorothy when I was assigned to do some legal work for the Bavarian Inn and I was introduced to multiple generations of Zehnders at the first client meeting. She came from the kitchen to meet me but couldn’t stay for the meeting because she had to get back to work. She was a delight then and still is. I especially enjoy her welcomes to banquets and large gatherings. She loves what she does and has passed that on to her children and grandchildren.

    Congratulations, Dorothy!

  187. Bobby Reynolds November 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy,

    Although we have never had the pleasure of meeting, it sound like you and my mother have a lot in common. She will turn 87 on the 3rd of December and has spent her life in a kitchen also. In addition to feeding her family of 8 children, she was the head cook in a school cafeteria until she turned 80. At that point she could no longer lift the big, heavy pans and was forced to retire.

    Our parents first brought us to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn in 1970. We have been coming back several times a year ever since. The food is always delicious, well prepared, and well presented. Now that we are retired, we often “take a ride” just to enjoy a wonderful dinner at the Bavarian Inn. (Must tell you that we think the cranberry ice cream is the best.)

    So here is hoping that you have a Very Happy Birthday and many, many more to come.

    God Bless you,

    Bobby Reynolds,
    Oregon, OH

  188. Sharon Bolander November 18, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Have a wonderful birthday, Mrs. Zehnder! We have enjoyed many chicken dinners at your restaurant with various family members and always take the out-of-state folks for a grand time. Thank you for all you have done to add to the pleasure of visiting Frankenmuth.


  189. Wolford Family November 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder,
    My family and I moved here from Minnesota about three years ago and we have never seen such a wounderful place to stay and visit like the Bavarian Inn! We will now make this a vacationing spot for our family for many many years to come! Thank you so much for all the hard work you have put into this beautiful vacation spot for families like mine and many others. Happy 88th birthday 🙂

    The Wolford Family

  190. Terri November 19, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    Dear Dorothy,

    My family has enjoyed our visits to Frankenmuth and Zehnders for the past forty years. I now have children of my own and our annual dinners and walks through the town are something that we look forward to all year. Thank you for all of your hard work. Happy Birthday, and may you enjoy it as much as we enjoy all that you have done for us.


  191. Marcia Frazier November 19, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    Happy Birthday to you…..Happy Birthday to you……Happy Birthday dear Dorothy….Happy Birthday to you…..May you continually be blessed with good health! My family has brought us up to Frankenmuth since we were little girls. We still go up and enjoy it just as much as the first time. My parents, sisters, daughter and I go up and bring other people with us at times. Everybody loves Frankenmuth. My boyfriend and I go up at least 4 times a year. We just enjoy everything about it so much. With much credit given to you and your family, Dorothy, you all have worked so hard to get where you are at today! It truly shows that you enjoy what you do. Again, have a special Happy Birthday from our family to you. Marcia

  192. THOMAS CENCER & FAMILY November 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Frau Dorothy!

    The Cencer’s have spent some of our most memorable family moments stuffing ourselves with the one and only Frankenmuth family dinners over the past 31 years…I first stopped in at Zehnder’s with my new bride on our way to a Grand Hotel honeymoon on Mackinaw Island in 1978, and spent so much time enjoying the special food and unique atmosphere that we missed the last ferry to the island later that evening! I ended up hiring a private boat to salvage my reservations!
    Since that special day, we have enjoyed countless annual visits with our five children. My sons still proudly recall the meal when we polished off seven bowls of those buttered noodles in one seating! I can’t even imagine how many plastic dolls topped off ice cream desserts over the years??? Memories rich with long lines up the back ramp looking at histric pictures lining the hallways, accordian players, liederhosen-clad waiters, a beer at das Fenster in the lobby, the stairway leading to who knows where on the third floor, the manequin sitting at the bar with whom I always sat for a quick chat just to embarass the kids, the bread under glass, the stories painted on the walls, the leftovers smelling so good all the way home…Thankyou for making such a comfortable family destination. God Bless you and your family on your birthday! Sincerely, Doctor Thomas Cencer

  193. Jim Barger November 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi Dorothy, You have been such a permanent “fixture” of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and have been responsible for a good part of all its success that we have just taken you for granted! So now I want to tell you especially that you are such an inspiration for all of us who wish to do what you are doing, and that is to stay dependable and responsible way past the time many people retire. Thank you! Keep doing what you’re doing (I can tell you are enjoying it) and I extend to you bright and sunny wishes for happiness on your special day. Jim Barger

  194. Bill and Joan McNally November 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    Lovely, cheerful, friendly, helpful Dorothy. Thank you for your friendship, hospitality, Tiny’s wildlife parties, etc. Our Minnesota family always visits the Bavarian Inn for your wonderful food. Bill never misses seeing you and getting the Chicken Sandwich with his friends on Wednesdays. God continue to bless you Dorothy and your family. You are all special.
    Bill and Joan McNally

  195. Susan November 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! I went to Frankenmuth for the first time in high school with my German Club. It was around 1976. I fell in love with the city and your restaurant on that day. My family is from Germany (my Mom and Dad were born and raised there), so, in some ways, Frankenmuth always feels like home to me. Thank you for keeping your family traditions and your beautiful restaurant welcoming and open to all. My husband, myself and two daughters come up several times a year from Sterling Heights, MI, to celebrate birthdays and sometimes just to enjoy a good meal and a little shopping. It is our tradition to eat in your restaurant every time we come. I hope your birthday is the best ever – Happy 88th!

  196. Diane Spinek November 19, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    I have been coming there for over 50 years. First with my grandparents and parents, then with our kids, and now with our grandchildren. We have so many wonderful memorys there. We come there for birthdays anniversarys and just for a ride, which is quite often. We had my parents 50th anniversay and there 65th anniversay party there. And hopefully next year there 67 th party. Thank you for creating all these wonderful memorys for my family and I know there is still more to come.Thank you and have a Very Happy Birthday. May Gold Bless you with many more healthy and happy years. Diane

  197. Nancy Champion November 19, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy My husband and I spent our short honeymoon in Frankenmuth. (The only hotel was the Frankenmuth Motel and Bronners was in Aunt Hatties store.) We try to return every year. Now we bring our children and their families. It has become a wonderful anniversary and Christmas tradition. Thank you. We’ll be seeing you in a couple of weeks for our 38th anniversary.

  198. Dietrich Bronner November 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dear Dorothy! We are so blessed to have you in our community. I have been so privileged to know you! One thing about you I perhaps most admire is that you never act your age. You always act the age of those around you, in any situation. You always are so approachable by anyone, of any age, from any walk of life. In conversation, you respond exactly at that person’s level with so much excitement and enthusiasm in hearing what they have to say, be it someone who is 7, 17, or 70. Your energy, hard work, dedication, courage, and leadership are exemplary, and that sweet smile is more than contagious! God’s Blessings each and every day! -Dietrich Bronner

  199. The Eberharts November 21, 2009 at 1:37 am #

    My husband is of Austrian decent and visiting Frankenmuth brings a little bit of comfort of his hometown back to him. When our children were small we traveled from Parma, Ohio each year to see either the Festivals or Christmas lightings. And of course, have dinner at one of the restaurants where the German cooking is excellent and fullfilling. As our family is close, we understand the delight when you wish to celebrate your Mother’s birthday. 88 Years ! How wonderful ! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dorothy ! We visit each year to celebrate our birthdays with a feast at the restaurant. Hope you have many more years to celebrate.

  200. Gary and Doreen Hammond November 21, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy and thank you for All you do!
    Each trip we make from Muskegon to Frankenmuth is a special trip. So special, in fact, our plan is to move to that great city. We had a very special trip though on our twentieth wedding anniversary. We made plans to come over July 4th weekend but due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to cancel. The Inn graciously granted our refund and wished us well. Three weeks later, we were able to reschedule and we were treated like royalty! ALL staff gave us special treatment it seemed. All the way down to the pizza box. Yes, we ordered pizza in our room and they wrote “Happy Anniversary” on our pizza box. Who does that?? YOU DO! And we thank you as that was just one more thing that made our trip memorable.

    Doreen and Gary Hammond
    Muskegon, MI

  201. Chris and Z November 21, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    We were fortunate enough, after years of spending Thanksgiving day at the Bavarian Inn, to hold our wedding their in 2004. A more beautiful, family friendly atmosphere could not have been found anywhere from the beautiful gardens, to the delicious food, the elegant room, but most importantly the WONDERFUL staff that has been lead and fostered by Dorothy. Without you the Bavarian Inn would never be the one-of-a-kind place it is today. We enjoy celebrating our anniversary every year at the Inn that started it all, and are still welcomed as if it were our wedding day all over again.

    Happy Birthday Dorothy and a sincere THANK YOU for all you have done for our family and the thousands of families that have known the joy of the Bavarian Inn. Enjoy your day and the many years to follow! My Mother turns 87 this year and I know she too appreciates the old world charm of YOUR Inn. We appreciate you.

  202. Aaron C. Wade November 21, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    As far back in my mind as I can remember, I have been a consistent annual visitor to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn or Zehnders. No matter what drama was going on in the rest of the world, I was always at peace when I came to visit. Little Bavaria has become a quiet escape for me that I look forward to seeing every time I think of it. After each visit I can’t help but wonder when I will be coming back to it again.

    The childhood and adulthood memories were so strong, that I thought it not only the best place, but the only place appropriate to propose to my fiancée. The Edelweiss room will forever be a blessed place, because of that day she accepted my ring and said yes.

    This year we stayed in the Bavarian Inn Lodge for the first time, and we enjoyed the experience so much that we happily look forward to doing that again also.

    Despite the subtle changes and improvements that have been made over the years, the Bavarian Inn has been a keystone of tradition. Thank you all so very much.

  203. The Hayes Family November 21, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    Happy Birthday!

    My family and I have been coming to Frankemuth for the past 18 years.
    It is a Thanksgiving Tradition that started with my children and now we take our grandsons every Thanksgiving. We travel from Old Brooklyn, Ohio. We also visit during the Snowfest and Summer fest in June. We love staying at the lodge with so many things to do with our grandchildren there. Wish a very Happy Birthday, and many more to come.

  204. The Purdles November 21, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Happy Birthday. Dorothy!

    Thank you and your family for such a wonderful place to go to. My husband and I live in the Detroit area, and have come to Frankenmuth for the past 24 years. We started coming together when he proposed to me and we have tried to come up to celebrate our anniversary each year. We will be married for 25 years this February 2010. Oh yes, our married children have taken up the tradition as well.

    Again Happy Birthday.

  205. Steve & Georgia Hammett November 21, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Happy Wonderful Birthday Dorothy!!! We wish you a fun, special, blessed birthday!! We sure do appreciate your friendlyness a few years past in meeting you at one of the dinners held at the new pavillion. It was a dinner dance and you made sure you stopped at chatted with each person that was there. You made us feel very welcome and right at home. What a wonderful person you are.
    May God bless you in 2010
    Again, have a beautiful wonderful blessed 88th Birthday.
    Sincerely, Steve and Georgia Hammett

  206. Patricia Austin November 21, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Blessings on your 88th birthday. What a wonderful tribute to woman who is greatly admired by her family. We share many family memories of times we have celebrated meals at the Bavarian Inn. My son no longer lives in Michigan because he serves our country in the Air Force. There is never a trip home that doesn’t include a 2 hour drive for dinner in Frankenmuth. May your special day include the warm memories shared by a loving family. Farmington Hills, Michigan

  207. The Kuipers November 21, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!! What a blessing you have been for so many years and still working! My husband and I have been coming to Frankenmuth for so many years that I can’t count them. We love staying at the Bavarian Inn and then of course, eating with so many others at the Restuarant. The food has always been our favorite for lunch and dinner! All it takes is one person to inspire so many others and that is what you have done for the whole community of Frankenmuth. The day after Christmas, we are bringing our children and the grandchildren to stay over night and enjoy the wonderful swimming area and let the young ones know why we love to stay there!
    Thank you and God bless you on your 80th birthday and may this year be one of your best!!!

  208. Lenore Poellet November 21, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Dear Dorothy,

    We wish you a Happy 88th Birthday on December 1. You are so friendly whenever we see you, no matter where it is, at Bavarian Inn, etc.
    You always make it a point to see us whenever we eat at the Bavarian Inn, which is such a special gesture.
    Have a great day and many more.
    God Bless you and your family.
    Lenore & Clint

  209. Chrystal Ditzhazy November 21, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    I would like to wish you a very Happy Birthday!! Our family has had the honor of having dinner at the Bavarian Inn every December 23rd for the past 15 years. It is a tradition that started when our oldest son was our “only”. Since then we have been blessed with two more boys. Our children know of no other tradition that the trip we make to visit Frankenmuth every year. Since we started this tradition our group has grown to include many of our friends and their families.

    We always tell everyone that with all of the hectic hustle and bustle of the holidays that there is no better place on earth to spend the night before Christmas Eve than at the Bavarian Inn. It truly brings the Christmas spirit to our hearts the minute we drive into town.

    We have had the pleasure of watching people get married while we have been staying there and it truly feels magical. To watch our teenage sons and their friends get misty eyed watching a wedding is truly a priceless gift.

    We have also added another tradition. My youngest son who turned eleven this year chose to stop having birthday parties all together about six years ago and has chosen to stay at the Lodge instead. He say’s there is no place on earth that he would rather spend his birthday at!

    It is because of all of this we would like to thank you for creating a place where families can start and build upon traditions that are not about the commercial side of Christmas but instead are about the joy of just being together. We hope that you realize that although we do not know you personally, we feel connected to you and your family and hope that when you read the words of all of the people you have touched throughout your years you will begin to understand just how very special you are!!

    Chrystal Ditzhazy

  210. Lynda November 21, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    I have memories of visiting Frankenmuth from when I was a young girl. I have traditionally come to eat once a year for my birthday since I was 25. I am now 62. A yearly trip is planned with a girlfiend, but that is not to say that I do not drag my sister or anyone else with me on different occassions. I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the chicken dinners. Thank you so much for the great memories.

  211. Nancy Bauwens November 21, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Happy Birthday and many many more. I grew up in Oshawa, Ontario and have been coming to Frankenmuth and enjoying your chicken dinners since the mid 1970’s . As the years have passed the tradition of celebrating my birthday has passed on to my children and now my grandson. There has never been an occasion that we have not commented on how firendly your staff is and make us feel like one of the family when we visit.. I am sure you are very proud of all of them as they are of having the opportunity to work with you. Congrations on your lifes achievments and have a wonderful day. God bless..

  212. Rick & Chri Buckner November 21, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    Dear Mrs, Zehnder,

    Our story is a romantic one for certain but for the last 13 years my wife and I have made Frankenmuth our second home. Whether it be camping or staying at the Inn each trip is cause for celebration because that is where we fell in Love. Each and every time we visit your Inn it takes us back to where it began. Thank You so much for the memories i assure you there will be many more with you.

    Rick and Chris Buckner
    Howell, Mi

  213. Laurie Sanabria November 21, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    My daughters and I come on stay on a fairly regular basis and have many happy memories. When my daughter was 4 we took her to Disney world. on the way home she told us she wasn’t sure if she like Disney or The Bavarian Inn best. Wow, we could have saved a bunch of money!!
    My favorite memory: We stayed during the week. It was really quiet and even though we weren’t supposed to do this, I pushed my daughter around the hotel on a luggage cart. The pools were especially warm that visit (that is the only way you can get me in) So we swam and swam. Sometimes having the pool to ourselves. I could go on as there are so many memories. Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

  214. Michael & Victoria Metiva November 21, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    Frankenmuth has always been a special place for us to visit.
    It has such an old world charm.
    We have enjoyed many meals at the Bavarian Inn.
    Many wonderful memories!

    We wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY and a Blessed & Merry Christmas!

    Michael & Victoria Metiva
    Saginaw, MI. (Thomas Twp.)

  215. Sue Lazell November 21, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    Dear Doroty Zehnder,
    A very happy birthday to you. What an awesome milestone. My family and I have been coming to Frankenmuth for many, many, years. Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn are my most favorite places to visit. I came with my own children and now my daughter and her family have become part of an annual tradition of coming Thanksgiving weekend. They live in Florida and they look forward to their annual visit to Michigan and their trip to Frankenmuth with Grandma. I have told my children to have my funeral dinner at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and leve an empty chair for me, and know that if I were there, I would be having a great time with them. They think I am crazy, but I can’t think of any place else I would like to see them get together. When we come, which is often, about every six to eight weeks for dinner, we always enjoy being there. The kids have decorated cookies in the basement level on our Thanksgiving visit, and we have seen you there. We have enjoyed your cookbooks, and recipes online. It is a happy tradition, and one I am sure that we will keep up for many years. We were saddened when you lost your dear husband, but what a legacy you have both given to your community, your family, and all of us who just love coming to see you. Have a wonderful birthday, and may God bless you with many more. Love, Sue Lazell

  216. Jerry Gault November 21, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Congratulations Dorothy and many happy returns.

    As a Canadian we were first drawn to your establishment by our teenage daughter fifteen years ago. She had read of a great place in Michigan to go shopping and of course the best chicken dinner. I headed out to a place called Frankenmuth with my teenage daughter and four of her girlfriends. The only request I had from the girls was that we were all going to try your chicken dinner for supper the first night we arrived. The food was superior. When a group of teenage girls comment that your food was way better than McDonald’s. That was the greatest compliment because I didn’t have to stop at any fast food chains on the way back to Lindsay, Ontario, Canada.
    We have been back several times after and still compliment on the qualitity of of your meals and the service. Zehnder truly means ” finest qualitity and finest service”. Well done.

    Jerry Gault

  217. Jerry & Anita Naugle November 21, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Dear Mrs Zehnder,
    Happy Birthday !!! 88 years young.
    Over our 72 plus years Frankenmuth, the Babarian Inn and Restaurant have been a part of our lives. We have been enjoying the sites and food of Frankenmuth first as a child with parents, then as a parent with children and now as a grandparent with grandchildren(even a couple great grandchildren), these many years. I thank-you for contributing to our memories and providing such a nice place to visit.
    We Wish You All the Very Best-Happy 88th Birthday.
    Jerry and Anita Naugle
    Linden, MI

  218. Jeniel Payne November 21, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    My Grandmother always spoke of use being related to Dorothy Zender. She is the Granddaughter of Herman Schluckebier. We still have a family farm there in Frankenmuth. Herman moved to Flint, MI and raised his family there. That is were my Grandmother Clara McCurdy was born. She married Jeriel Ponder on July 4, 1946, at their wedding they served Frankenmuth Chicken. We visit Frankenmuth often and love to go eat chicken at the Bavarian Inn. I have met you a few times, at book signings and at the family reunion, even though you may not remember me I will always remember this as a part of our heritage.

  219. Denise Polasky November 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Hello and God Bless You on Your Birthday!
    We have been visiting Frankenmuth, particularly Bavarian Inn Restaurant for many, many years! My children and friends have all come to love it up there, and, we now cannot go up for a visit without staying overnight at the Lodge.
    Your legacy will be the traditions and family friendly place that you, Dorothy and (may God rest him) Tiny, brought to us here in Michigan. What a blessing you have been to so many famillies!
    Happy Birthday from everyone in my family!

  220. eliewriter November 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy! You must be so proud that Zehnder’s has become such a wonderful Michigan tradition.

    I have the best memories of Zehnder’s, which serves the world’s best chicken and other treats. It’s where I learned to love apple butter, it’s been the site of several of my boyfriend’s family gatherings, it’s the kind of atmosphere and food that’s worth lining up for.

    As a reporter back in 2001, Zehnder’s was also kind enough to open up their kitchen at the holidays and share a recipe and allow us to take photos for a news article at Christmas time.

    I personally plan to return to Zehnder’s many more times. Congratulations on your milestone birthday and on building an icon that makes Frankenmuth and Michigan proud.


  221. Susie Glynn November 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dorothy////
    We go allmost every year on Christmas Day with are family to Bavarian Inn.We all love it.
    Thank you

  222. Rev. Eric Perry November 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    I want to wish you a Happy Birthday! I also want to thank you and your family for providing a beautiful place that my wife and I have brought our children to over the years. It is always special to go to Frankenmuth and stay at the Bavarian Inn and enjoy the great food that you have provided. We love the chicken dinners.
    May God bless you always.

    Rev. Eric Perry

  223. Darryl and Rose Schmitz November 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Wishing you a very blessed and happy birthday, Dorothy! Thank you for the many years of happy memories of playing in Linda Lee’s band at the restaurant and lodge. :o)

    Darryl and Rosie

  224. Sue November 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy,
    You were always so nice to me when I worked at the Inn, and when my kids worked at the Inn they, too made comments regarding how friendly you ALWAYS are! Take Care & God Bless!

  225. linda duddles November 21, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    I have been coming up to Bavarian my whole life and I am 68 years young. A group of girls and I come up every year to celebrate my birthday. I have all your cookbooks and Dorothy has personally signed all of them for me. I love the time she takes to come out to sign them for me. Hope you have a very special day for very special lady. God bless you with many more birthdays. Love and see you in May, Linda Duddles, Orion, Michigan

  226. Annette Manwaring November 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Our family has enjoyed many, many years of celebrating at your fine establishment. We have made a family tradition of stopping at Frankenmuth on our way HOME from vacations…that way its almost like the vacation is not over quite yet! We have seen some changes lately…and hope things do not go the way of other establishments. Please consider keeping your high quality meals and wonderful customer service. Our last 2 visits have been less than perfect but we will be back. Thank you!!!

  227. Jim from Sammamish WA November 21, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    I grew up in Bridgeport in the 1970’s where a trip to your restaurant was always a welcome treat.

    Even though I now live in Seattle and have traveled the world (including several trips to Bavaria), I still jump at the chance to get back home to have dinner in Frankenmuth. One of my last memories of my father who passed away a little over a year ago is the trip we made to have what turned out to be our last meal together in Frankenmuth.

    Your legacy is truly remarkable. Best of wishes and many happy returns to you on the occasion of your 88th birthday.

  228. Dawn Wager November 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    Happy birthday Dorothy. My husband and I were there three years ago and a mama duck had babies in your flower bed. You put out a sign for everyone to look but leave her alone. You came out and talked to us and just enjoyed the morning with us. God bless you and your very tender heart.

  229. Laurie Stasiuk November 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    I started coming to Frankenmuth (Bavarian Inn) almost 40 years ago. My family has always had a tradition of coming to the restaurant since I was a baby, it was the one time when my mother’s family would all get together in one place each year.

    While my grandparents who started the tradition are now deceased, my mom and I, as well as my own family, continue to visit several times a year.

    I have now introduced my own children to the Bavarian Inn and they enjoy coming up and staying at Splash Village and coming to the restaurant for their favorites (Buttered Noodles, Mashed Potatoes and the cranberry relish!)

    We come up every chance we get, and I can see it being a tradition that will continue with my children when they become adults.

    Thank you so much for the memories I will always have of my grandparents, the time my family has spent in Frankenmuth, and the absolutely wonderful food!

  230. Mary Maggetti November 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    I remember my Dad and Mom taking me and my 5 brothers and sisters to Frankenmuth, patiently standing in the parking lot looking up at the big clock waiting for the little guys to come out. We would gasp and giggle when the glockenspiel would begin to play and the doors would open. That memory made me want to bring my kids there and share that with them. It became tradition for my husband and I to bring our kids to Frankenmuth over our Christmas vacation each year, we would enjoy our chicken dinner and wait for the clock, and stroll the streets in the snow, drive over the wooden bridge 1,2,3…times, walk over the bridge, and spend the night at the beautiful Bavarian Inn where we would play in the pool, play mini golf, play video games, get our wax hand molds made, and make all kinds of happy memories. One of our favorite things was to see which family’s room we would be staying in. We would look at the pictures and read the stories. My family is German, my Great Grandparents having come to Michigan from Germany in the 1800’s, we would wonder if we were somehow related and imagine what life must have been like for them, we had so much fun making up stories and wondering.

    I have a girls club that has been together since 1984, there are 10 of us we know each other from high school, we get together once a month and sometimes we go for weekends together, so of course I said “Let’s go to Frankenmuth”. We stayed in the King Tower Ste. and shopped our legs off, we had a great time, it is a great memory.

    When my sister-in-law wanted to plan a very special celebration for my in-laws 50th anniversary in 1997 of course we said”let’s go to Frankenmuth” she made the arrangements and we all managed to surprise them with dinner and a night spent at the Bavarian Inn with all of their 6 children, their 5 sons and daughters-in-law and their 16 grandchildren, it was quite a feat to pull off but Mary did a great job. Mary has since passed away from cancer, she was the best, she taught 1st grade, she ran the 1st Michigan Fife and Drum Corp where she raised many other peoples kids, and she was a great Mom to her 2 children. The picture we took of the whole family out in front of the Bavarian Inn still hangs in my Mother-in-laws living room and is a great memory of when we were all together for their anniversary celebration.

    Frankenmuth has been a big part of our lives, as close as I can recall we’ve spent 6 or 8 overnights there and countless chicken dinners, one time being more fun than the last. Though in recent years we’ve had to close our business due to the economy, and have had to cut out some of the extra’s so we haven’t celebrated there, one day it will be within our means again and we will say “Let’s go to Frankenmuth” and we’ll go, and it will be just like it was then, what a great feeling that will be.

    Happy Birthday to Dorothy. As a Mom I know what it is like to want great things for my children and just keep working and working to keep good family traditions going. Dorothy I feel that your hard work has not only done that for your family but for mine and so many others. I appreciate that you and your family have kept Frankenmuth. I think of how wonderful it must be to work together with you family and make such a beautiful place for people to enjoy all while making your living together, it’s a big part of the intrigue and charm of your place, but it doesn’t just happen, it’s a lot of work I know that and so do others, that’s why we keep coming back, to show our appreciation and do our part to keep you going. Happy Birthday!!!
    Many Happy Returns,
    The Maggetti Family
    Bob and Mary,
    Brad, Alex, and Melanie

  231. Brenda & Randy Scott November 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Dorothy –

    Wishing you all the very best as you celebrate your 88th birthday! My husband and I have wondeful memories of the Bavarian Inn as we have spent out entire lives making great memories with our family.

  232. Patty November 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorthy,

    Serval years ago when I was 17 my first job was at Bavarian INN I used to help at the concession stand outside at the Fischer Platz. It was one stormy Sunday evening and I was not feeling well and the customers were very rude and Dorthy came up to me and said if you want to be rude to them go ahead however you don’t have that in you for you have the Lord on your side and that is how I made it through that stormy night. It was as though Dorthy was my gardian angel that night. I wish the best. Take care for there are many angels watching over you.

  233. James Raley November 21, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    To the One and Only Dorothy Zehnder,

    As the son of an octogenerian myself, I applaud your longevity and stamina in not only life but the workplace as well. I have a deep respect for the Zehnder family and what they have acheived, due in no small part to the efforts of you and your husband these past 70 years.

    We have met only once, so far, very briefly this past April 4th while I was attending a function at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. You may remember us, we were the large group of people all dressed in Renaissance costumes (Lords, Ladies, Pirates, Wenches, etc), and I was dressed as King Henry Tudor VIII.

    You came into our dinning room and walked by EVERY table asking how are meal was and if everything was okay. Having been a restaurant manager myself many years ago, this ment a great deal to me, seeing the matriarch of the Zehnder dynasty wearing a kitchen apron (with obvious evidence of work!) walking around and checking on her guests. I was sitting at the end of one table and had the great honor to speak with you for a brief minute, thanking you for your gracious hospitality and wonderful food. I invited to to attend the FrankenFeast After Party later that night at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, to which you responded that your daughter, Susan, had told you about the Renaissance group having a party and that she and the entire Lodge staff were excited to be hosting us. We had a grand party and look forward to coming back next year for the 8th annual FrankenFeast, starting off the festivities with another great feast at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant under your watchful eyes!

    I wish you all the best on your 88th Natal Day and truly hope to see you again in the near future and for many years to come. You are one of the great treasures of not only Frankenmuth but the entire State of Michigan, a woman to be celebrated for her commitment to family, friends, food, and fun. And in true Renaissance fashion, I salute you with a great HUZZAH!!!

    Warmest Regards,

    James Raley
    King Henry Tudor VIII
    Royal Court Director
    Production Staff
    Mid-Michigan Renaissance Festival
    Frankenmuth/Vassar, MI

  234. Linda Hautau Locke November 21, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy,

    For the last couple of years my brothers and I with our spouses having been celebrating the Christmas Season with a lunch in December at Zehnder’s. This year we’ll be there on our own dear mother’s birthday, December 8. Mother would have been 93 if she were with us in person, but she’ll be with us in spirit.

    Thanks for providing us with such a winderful place to gather. Two of us come from Port Huron and our Grand Rapdis brother/sister-in-law will meet us.

    Happy Birthday to a grand lady.

    Linda Locke & Family

  235. Gene Russell November 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Hi Dorothy I had an occasion to visit your Resturant on two times. Sure did enjoy the Chicken. Have ordered your stolen bread on many occasion.Hope to get back up there one day.Wish you A happy Birthday. Your friend from North Carolina. Gene Russell

  236. The Koss Family November 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder,

    On this special occasion celebrating your 88th Birthday, we wanted to thank you for creating so many special memories for our family. Since our first visit as a family in 1965, (our father had been there on his own even earlier), birthday’s, anniversary’s, vacations were often celebrated with a “trip” to the Bavarian Inn. Our family loved the opportunity to sample genuine Bavarian dishes and your Saurbraten has always been one of our favorites.

    As a student at Michigan State, my great “escape” from college life was to pile as many friends as we could in our car and travel over to the Bavarian Inn for dinner. We introduced many to your wonderful cuisine, some who have continued to bring their families through the years.

    Our family has settled in the west and trips back to Michigan are infrequent, but you can be sure that the Bavarian Inn is one of our “must do” stops. On our last visit two years ago, we were so grateful to discover that the memories we held came to life as we reminisced over our favorite dishes. It was so gratifying to discover that any changes were only improvements.

    We wish you much love and happiness, Mrs. Zehnder and thanks for all the joy you’ve given our family.

    Happy Birthday!
    Cherie Koss Waldo for the Koss Family

  237. Pamela Root November 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    I started coming to Frankenmuth when my mother-in-law and father-in-law found this town. I would help with the driving. That was a little more than ten years ago. They have since passed, but I still bring girlfriends with me every year either at the end of October or the beginning of November for a weekend get away. What a great place and the people everywhere have been nothing but kind. It takes me about five hours to get there, but the drive just seems to fly knowing that is where we are going to be for a few days. Happy Birthday Dorothy, words cannot express the feeling that everyone including myself have when we walk into the restaurant or just by driving into town. I wish you all the best and many more to come.

  238. John J. Bittman November 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    My Father used to take our family up to Frankenmuth at least once a year when we were growing up. A one day trip up to Bronner’s then dinner at the Bavarian Inn.
    When I was asked one year where I wanted to eat for my birthday, I chose The Bavarian Inn. We live in Ohio. It was an outrageous request but we did go.

    I love the chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn and I have been coming back at least once a year since 1986. My wife and I have been coming here semi-annually since 1994.

    Again, Happy Birthday,

    the Bittman family

  239. Paul and Kerri DeWindt November 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Happy 88th birthday Dorothy. I just wanted to share with you that although we live in western Michigan, we come to Frankenmuth at least once a year. Every time we visit we HAVE to eat a traditional German dinner at the Bavarian Inn restaurant. The first time we visited with our three picky children, they actually cried because we informed them we were ordering the family style meal and they were not allowed to get a children’s meal. However, by the time they tasted the delicious chicken, sauerbraten, noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade bread and chicken noodle soup, they were diehard German food lovers and still are to this day. While some children beg to go to McDonald’s, our children repeatedly ask us when we will next visit the Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth! Thanks for the wonderful food and great memories. Paul, Kerri, Nathan, Joy, and Joshua DeWindt

  240. NADINE JANIK November 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm #




  241. Jennifer Hall November 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    I hope you have a wonderful Birthday! I have to tell you that I have been coming to the Bavarian Inn for many years now with my husband and two children. They are so excited to go! I love it so much I even had a dream recently that we went there! I am very impressed that you still assist in making the wonderful meals at the restaurant! That shows how much you care. Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Birthday Celebration and Holidays for 2009.

    The Hall Family
    David, Jennifer, Scott, and Emma

  242. Boona November 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday to you Dorothy Zehnder!

    On November 25th each year, coming to have dinner at your Bavarian Inn has become my favorite family birthday treat to enjoy the good food and hominess there. We also love to go to Frankenmuth at this time of year to see the holiday decorations and watch the small children’s eyes glow when they see the “magic” of Frankenmuth.

    You should feel very proud that you helped to make your pretty town a place on the “must stops” for anyone who visits Michigan.

    I am also very impressed that you still get up every day to go help prepare for another day of taking care of your Bavarian Inn guests! May you continue to have good health, properity, and happiness all they days of your life!


    The Bardocz Family of Howell, MI

  243. Kassie York November 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    I have been coming to Bavarian Inn since before I was born. When my mother was pregnant with me, she just HAD to have a Bavarian Inn dinner, so she made my grandmother drive up to Frankenmuth with her that night (which is about a two hour drive). I like to say that my love for Frankenmuth started then.

    I moved away from Michigan a few years ago, but two years ago I decided to come to Bavarian Inn with my family for a vacation at Christmas time. My boyfriend was on leave from Ranger School for the Army and decided to come with me. He knew how much I loved Bavarian Inn and wanted to enjoy the time with me. Our first night at Bavarian Lodge we had arranged to have dinner at Bavarian Inn with my whole family. We decided to walk from Bavarian Lodge to the Inn and when we reached the half-way point on the Covered Bridge, my boyfriend stopped, got down on one knee and proposed to me in German. We are now happily married. Last year we returned to Bavarian Inn to celebrate our anniversary date and we are returning this year to celebrate the second anniversary date. What makes this exerience even more special is that my parents were married in Bavarian Inn about 18 years ago, and they were the first EVER to be married at Bavarian Inn. Every moment at Bavarian Inn is special for me and the memories continue to grow.

    Happy Birthday Dorothy and know that your hard work and dedication is appreciated!

    Best Wishes,
    Kassie York
    Fort Campbell, KY

  244. Rod McEachern November 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy,

    My father, Phil McEachern, “Mac”, “The Coffee Man”, drove his Ford Roadster into Frankenmuth in the summer of 1935. He sold Herr Fischer and Herr Zehnder each twenty pounds of coffee. Thus began our tradition of celebrating all our family occasions at Frankenmuth. My father became the longest tennured vendor in the history of the Zehnder family, over fifty years.

    Every Christmas Grandma Zehnder gave my father two boxes of German Christmas cookies. How our family looked forward to that delicious gift.

    Eddie and Tiny would say, “Frankenmuth can’t get started until Phil McEachern drives in on Monday and proclaims, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.”

    Thank you for the wonderful memories.

    Rod McEachern
    “The Coffee Man’s ” son

  245. The Pallo family November 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    The happiest of birthdays to you, Dorothy! Our family has enjoyed spending my birthday at the Bavarian Inn for the past 25 years. I introduced my husband to Frankenmuth, then my children, and now my children’s children. Our trip to the Bavarian Inn is one of our most looked forward traditions every year. I only hope I am still able to visit when I am 88! Have a wonderful day and God Bless you and your wonderful family.

  246. Bob & Beverly Snyder November 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    88 Happy Birthdays to a very nice lady. We have had many nice visits to Frankenmuth, and one of the best is if we see Dorthy. She always stops to chat and make sure everything is okay. If we all had alittle Dorthy in us what anice world it would be. Happy Birthday! You are one of a kind.
    The Snyder Family

  247. april baker November 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    My small family come’s every year for two nights and return’s back home the day before Christmas eve we have been doing this for six years now and it’s our daughter’s high lite of the holiday season. Thank you for creating this wonderful destination .

    Happy Birthday!
    April Baker

  248. Pamela Okerblom Tice November 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy.
    My parents, Haldor and Anne Okerblom brought my sister and I to Frankenmuth since we were babies in highchairs. We are now 52 years old. It was our most favorite place to go several times a year. We lived in Detroit and we felt like it took forever to get there. We learned how to spot the billboards that said 45 minutes to Frankenmuth, 15 minutes to Frankenmuth. As little girls, we would lay out our dresses and plan our trip the night before and get very excited. We knew we would have to stand in line but my dad would tell us stories and we would look in the basement windows at all the hubbard squash piled high. How we wished that people would hurry and eat so we could get to have our dinner.
    We had the same hostess for many years, she was an older lady, very professional and we would stare at her blue felt hat with the big white feather. She always made us feel welcome and seemed to remember us.
    Once for Christmas, I got $20.00 and in those days that was the price of a Family Style Chicken Dinner for 4 and I begged my parents to let me take our family to Frankenmuth and I would pay for it. I knew that year finances were very tight and this was my way of treating us to our favorite place. My dad, at first said he couldn’t let me do it. My mom convinced him that it was something I really wanted to do. I was in third grade and felt very mature as I paid the bill with my $20.00.
    We now live in Northern Michigan, my dad has since passed away, my mom is 82, and we continue to bring our children and grandchildren to Frankenmuth several times a year.
    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to such a wonderful
    place and to give us all such happy memories.
    The Okerblom girls,
    Pam and Shelly

  249. Susanne Loy November 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    I taught third graders for many years. The last field trip of the year was The Bavarian Inn restaurant. My students dressed up for their special tour and luncheon. Afterwards, they would change their clothes and play in the park.
    On several occasions, on our kitchen tour, the children would meet “Miss” Dorothy. Her smile and sweet spirit were always a bright spot of the day.
    Happy Birthday to a wonderful lady that brings joy to so many! Thank you for all you do!

  250. Suzanne Milne November 21, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    I wish you the most wonderful birthday ever. My husband and I have enjoyed many wonderful chicken dinners and snitzel at your restaurant. We first went to Frankenmuth on a bus trip with the nurses from IODE Hospital in Windsor in the early 80″s. I fell in love with the little Bavarian City and have returned several times a year since. We spent several anniversaries at the Zehnder’s Hotel near Bronners in their deluxe suites with the jacuzzi tub. We have stayed at the Bavarian Inn, The Drury Inn and Suites, Merv Herzog Hotel And several places near Birch Run. When ever we hit these areas, we always make arrangements to have at least two meals with you. Everyone is so friendly, and the service is fabulous. We were just there for my birthday and had dinner in the “Cow Path” Room which was very private and enjoyable as well. I buy the Zehnder’s seasoning every time I visit and I also bought the cookbook with many of your favorite recipes in the downstairs shopping area.
    May you have many more happy returns of the day.
    God Bless You,
    Suzanne and Heath Milne

  251. Kenneth and Michele Lekse November 21, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    We wanted to wish you a happy birthday. We live on Ohio, and love visting Frankenmuth. We truly love Zehnders. We always are treated so nice. It is an enjoyable experience. Thank you for your lovely hospitality. May you have a wonderful birthday!!

  252. Diana Hemphill November 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    I have wonderful memories of a time spent with my children when they were just tiny…dressing them in their PJ’s and watching them play in the play area after they had had a swim in the kiddy pool…and then watching them at 21 spending time as they did when they were young swimming and playing video games.
    Oh, and the chicken is just as good now as it was 20 years ago….!

    Wunderschonne Geburtstags grusse!

    Diana, David, Bobby, Niklas, and Rebecca Pleschke
    from Niagara Falls Ontario

  253. Susan Moore November 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    My husband Sam and I came to your restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. We went to one of the functions in your kitchen and watched the chef prepare different foods. Mrs. Zehnder stopped by and chatted with quite a few of us. After she left, we found out who she was. Surprisingly, when we had lunch, the next day, in the Roof Garden, Mrs. Zehnder stopped at our table to chat. We were very pleased such a nice person remembered us and also remembered our anniversary. What a great leader you have.

  254. Brian Horrobin November 21, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Birthday blessings, Dorothy!

    I first went to Frankenmuth as a 7-year-old child in 1972, and had my first Frankenmuth chicken dinner at Zhenders. Now I am 44-yearsold and take my wife and 5 children every year right after U.S. Thanksgiving. We eat at the Bavarian Inn, where my wife’s childhood memories are. My children love going every year and look forward to the meal at Bavarian Inn. It is the highlight of our trip.
    May the Lord bless you to continue doing what you love — spending time with your family and serving chicken dinners to your happy patrons!

    Brian and Ruth Horrobin and family
    Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada

  255. Pearl Carr November 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Happy Blessed Birthday Dorothy and many many more! My Daughter Kim and I come to the Inn twice a year, once in July which is her birthday, and once in December which is mine! We spend the day and night in Frankenmuth and it has become our tradition. We Love It!

  256. Michelle Baumann November 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    Happy Birthday and many many more!
    My story is a bit different. I have spent so many wonderful memories in Frankenmuth so much so we spent our Student Nursing Convention there! It was wonderful.
    The special reason I wanted to leave you birthday wishes is because since Dec. 08 my sister in law Darlene was trying to feel well enough to make the trip north and bring her children for a weekend. Every weekend she would say “I wish I could take them to Frankenmuth”, several times we went as far as actually planning the weekend, but when it would be time to pack she couldn’t do it she was to weak or too ill.
    She was facing a pretty grim prognosis so I prayed hard we would make the trip.
    Unfortunately she passed away before she was able to make that trip with her children to Frankenmuth.

    To celebrate your birthday I share this memory with you, for creating such a wonderful place she longed to see it one more time.

    I hope to meet you when I bring my family and her children again.

    thank you again for all you do!

    Michelle Baumann (and Family)

  257. Tom Thomas November 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Congratulations to you on your 88th birthday. When I was a child growing up in Royal Oak, my parents used to bring us about once a year to Frankenmuth and a trip to either Bavarian Inn or Zehnders. I graduated in 1974 and joined the US Army and was stationed in Germany for two years. Bavaria, more specifically Oberamergau was obviously the inspiration for the Bavarian Inn! I married in 1978 and brought my wife and kids to Frankenmuth for the first time in 1996. We have been bringing them each Christmas time every year since, sometimes with a German exchange student from the school I teach at. Now we come with our kids and grandkids. So, you have served 4 generations of my family over the years! Thank you for so many wonderful memories and all the incredible food! (My son would add that the beer is his favorite). Happy, Happy Birthday!

  258. Norma and Walt Halfmann November 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    We served at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Saginaw from 1993-2004. Many Christmas Day dinners were spent at The Bavarian Inn because it felt like home for Christmas when we had no family nearby. We visited numerous times a year for family celebrations and always had the warm welcome from hostesses and servers.

    Norma began visiting Frankenmuth in 1965, when her family moved to the Detroit area. Her family introduced Walt to The Bavarian Inn in 1976. It has been a family favorite for many years.

    Norma remembers a 5th grade Holy Cross class field trip to The Bavarian Inn with our daughter’s class where they got to visit the kitchen and met Dorothy in a stairway and she took time out to greet the students. How personal!!

    We only have fond memories of the the Bavarian Inn. We now live near Tampa Florida but did enjoy lunch there in May when we flew to Michigan for the retirement of a teacher at Holy Cross in Saginaw.

    God’s Blessings for a Happy Birthday!

    In Christ,
    Walt and Norma Halfmann

  259. Arleen Cronk November 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the Bavarian Inn team. The Lord has blessed you with the gift of a twinkle in your eyes and a sincere smile on your face everytime you meet someone. Thank you for sharing that gift with me and everyone you meet. May our loving Lord continue to bless and keep you.

    Arleen Cronk

  260. Mary Wisneski November 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    Your hospitality has been part of my life for over 40 years, we have been coming to the Bavarian Inn with my parents who are no longer with us, but we still continue to travel to Frankenmuth quite a few times during the year. Your town is like a second home to us. We now bring our grandchildren to Frankenmuth to enjoy all the good times your town has to offer. Things may change from time to time in Frankenmuth but your warm heart always brings us back. Happy 88th Birthday and many, many more. The Wisneski Family of Royal Oak, Kinde and Armada.

  261. Janice Reske November 22, 2009 at 12:25 am #

    Dear Dorothy;

    I’m sure when you started this journey, you never thought you would touch so many peoples lives. Your restaurant, is a fond memory in my life growing up as a young girl in Detroit. Our church use to plan once a year to come there and have dinner. We all looked forward to spending the day, and the enjoyment of your great chicken dinners. That is a story we have told relatives all across the USA. They may not have visited, but they know about “The Bavarian Inn”. Thanks so much, and Happy Birthday” and may God Bless you with many, many more.

  262. Pamela Noles November 22, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!!
    My daughter, Elizabeth, celebrates her birthday on June 12. When she was younger we always had her dinner at the Bavarian Inn. She is 17 now and still we come not always June 12 because of high school graduation parties. She loves the chicken soup and always eats at least 3 cups instead of the salads. She is in German class in high school and we even travel to frankenmuth and eat at the Bavarian Inn and make pretzels and she eats her soup. I wish I could upload pictures because one year when it was really warm we had watched the parade and done the chicken dance in the street we went into eat and she fell asleep with her head on the table. It was so funny. Our family has celebrated birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and even been there for the 22 & 23 of December for a pre-Christmas get together. I do have to say that we love your resturant and lodge and Thank You and your family for always showing us a great time.

    So Dorothy please enjoy your day like we have we have enjoyed days in your resturant with the love of family and friends around you!!!
    The Noles Family

  263. Tina Schamante November 22, 2009 at 12:52 am #

    HAPPY 88th BIRTHDAY, MS. DOROTHY! Thank you for all you do in making the Bavarian an experience to remember. Our Granny and Mom loved Frankenmuth and enjoyed bringing the whole family to enjoy all its splendor especially the family style chicken dinner at the Bavarian. Since they have passed, we continue the tradition of visiting at least once a year. This year, we are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with you and your family at the Bavarian. Our sister will be with us from Florida so it will be an extra special event along with celebrating your birthday.
    Best wishes,
    Tina Schamante and family.

  264. Jason Whiting November 22, 2009 at 3:29 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy Zehnder!
    Although we have never met, you and your entire staff at the Barvarian Inn have been a part of my life for over 30 years now. There are thousands of restaurants to eat at across the country, but there is only one Bavarian Inn. When we would travel to Frankenmuth, we would just not come to enjoy your wonderful and extremely delicious chicken dinners, we would come for the experience! Your establishment is so much more then a restaurant, it is a place where families come together and create memories for years to come. I salute you, and your entire family for not only being a part of some of my most precious memmories, but for being a place where I can create new memmories with those I love the most…my family. Happy Birthday!

  265. Melissa November 22, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zendher,

    The Bavarian Inn is the sight of many wonderful childhood memories for me. I would always collect the little picks from the ice cream at the end of the meal, and as a child, was always amazed that girls got the girl picks and boys got the boy picks. The Bavarian Inn is about tradition and family for me, and as an adult, it continues to be one of my favorite places to go. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to providing a great family restaurant and fabulous food all these years!

    Sincerely, Melissa

  266. connie bayma November 22, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    Morning and Happy Birthday:

    Through the years Frankenmuth has been a delightful place to visit and just get away from the hussle and work load everyone has but can use this special place to just relax and dine and get away from it all. Have been visiting Frankenmuth since the 50’s and of course have special memories of the tiny place it once was including the small Bronners store. We have had family reunions with family coming from Texas, Colorado and California who still like to speak of the wonderful meal and laughter all enjoyed. Wishing you a truly Happy Birthday and isnt it a blessing to have a joy to go to everyday no matter what age we happen to be. God Bless you and your family and believe me you will have our continued support and happy meals.
    Connie Bayma
    West Bloomfield, Michigan.

  267. Laura Thacker November 22, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy!

    I would just like to personally thank you for everything you have ever done, and I’m sure will do to make so many families’ stays in Frankenmuth so memorable.

    I am recently from North-Central Ohio. I’ve recently moved to Va. Beach with my family. We did not get the opportunity to visit Frankenmuth this year unfortunately. My kids (ages 10 and 13) were very disappointed. They really enjoy coming up there.

    I started brining my kids to Frankenmuth I would say 9 years ago. My mother had been up there with a group of friends and loved it. For many years, the kids, my parents and I would make the 4 hour drive so we could spend a day at Bronner’s and of course have a meal at Zhender’s. Finally 3 years ago, the kids and I decided we wanted to stay at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. We only stayed one night, but we loved it! I have to say, the Lodge is one of the nicest hotels we have been at…not to mention we love how it is so family oriented.

    The following year we talked my parents into going back up with us and staying at the Lodge. They loved it, too! They couldn’t believe that all those years we had driven 4 hours one way to just spend a few hours, when we could have been staying there and seeing so much more. We all enjoyed so much of Frankenmuth. The kids loved Tiny’s Farm. We noticed there was a building with my familiy’s last name on it (Roberts). My father spoke to the gentleman that gave us the tour…here we find out that “Roberts” is a pretty common German name. We’ve always known that our family was Germany (coming from Wertenberg (sp?)). How fun!

    One of our biggest jokes that visit up was my father’s fascination with the Cheese Haus. We had rooms beside each other at the Lodge. My kids would always go over to my parents’ room in the morning and right before bed. My father would have the “cheese channel” on in the room everytime! LOL…he could not wait to go to the Cheese Haus. Needless to say, we went there before leaving on our last day. He just had to try the chocolate cheese, which was wonderful.

    Last year, I took my now husband up to Frankenmuth (without the kids…which I am still catching slack for because my kids wanted to go). I was not sure how he was going to like it, but I must say he really enjoyed himself. We took the riverboat ride, walked around Riverplace, walked all over town, ate at Zhender’s and the Bavarian Inn, etc. He really loved it! He phoned his father while we were there trying to plan a time when we could come back up there with ALL our family. He even enjoyed Bronners! We watched the video they have there about the history of Bronners. After it was all over, he turned to me and said….wow, Mr. Bronner was a man that truly LOVED Christmas and wanted to share that with everyone! That is how it feels throughout the entire town! When we are up there, it is like there are no problems in the world. You feel like a kid again. It brings back memories of when I was a child. My family always made the holidays so enjoyable. I have tried to do the same for my children.

    We are looking forward to visiting again this coming summer (2010) once again. It’s just not the same without making that trip to Frankenmuth every year…and all these happy memories we have would not be possible if it was not for you and your family sacrificing so much of your time for people like us. We all thank you so much!!!

    May God bless you and your family!

    The Thackers
    Va. Beach, VA

  268. Evelyn Pickwick November 22, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Mrs. Zehnder,
    Wishing you a joyous birthday surrounded by your family and friends. Going to the Bavarian Inn has been a tradition for our family my entire life. First with my grandparents, then with my parents, and now I take my children there. That’s four generations! Even when my little ones were very small, we felt comfortable taking them to your restaurant. It is clearly a warm family experince. One of my children has an allergy to gluten. Can you just imagine how happy we were to find out the Bavarian Inn has a gluten free menu?
    Another fond memory I would love to share with you: We have had several exchange students from Germany over the years live with us. Not surprising, everyone of them experienced home sickness at one time or another. When this happened, I would surprise them with a trip to Frankenmuth and dinner at the Bavarian Inn. It always put a smile on their face and helped them get through their homesickness.
    Happy Birthday!

  269. David Rudzinski November 22, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    My parents began bringing me and my siblings to your fantastic restaurant when I was a child, and it is still a destination for us as a family almost 40 years later. It was a special treat a few summers ago when our waitress brought us back into the kitchen and we were able to meet you. I was moved by you hard at work making salads, yet taking the time to come over and speak with us for a few minutes. Talk about down to Earth! Most restaurant owners are hardly visible, let alone approachable. You really made our day special, and I hope that these messages from your loyal patrons make your 88th birthday just as special, too.

  270. Patty Worden (Beyerlein November 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm #


    Happy 88th Birthday! I remember my first interaction with you. I was working salads in the kitchen as a 17 year old (over 35 years ago!). I needed to mix up a batch of cole slaw. I put on my long food service gloves, poured the sauce over the cabbage in the bowl and started mixing. You came by and gave me instruction on the ‘right’ way to mix up the cole slaw. There you were in your beautiful dirndl, not afraid to get it dirty, and showed me how to really get in there and do that ‘hands-in’ mixing up of the cole slaw. I respected how you were truly involved in every detail of the business. I also admire how you are committed to your family, faith and community. Thank you for all you have done.

    Patty Worden (Beyerlein)

  271. Connie (Zehnder) Prok November 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    I admire you so much for your dedication and love for your family and for your business, which of course, has thrived over the years, due to your constant attention to the details! Being part of the “Cleveland Zehnders” meant any number of trips to Frankenmuth to visit my Aunt Clara and Uncle ‘Toots,’ to take the horse-and-carriage tour, spend time at St. Lorenz cemetery across the road from the church, and while there, having our meals at the Bavarian Inn. If we were lucky, “Tiny” would join us for a bit and reminisce with my father.

    Your family and your community have been richly blessed by your leadership and integrity. Happy 88th Birthday, Dorothy… and may God continue to bless you and your family.

  272. Paul Henkel November 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm #


    Many wishes for a Happy Birthday!!

    I am now 44 and I can remember as a small child the planning and preparation that my mom and dad put into the trip to Frankenmuth and the meal at Zehnder’s. We didn’t have a lot of money, so saving up for the trip was the key. We made the trip at least once per year, and always for a special occasion. We would get all dressed up, leave early, and make a full day of the trip, and always looking forward to our dinner at Zehnder’s. I still have some of the trinkets and other things that my mom bought for me in your basement stores.

    To this day, not a year goes by that I don’t make the trip at least once.

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy. Thank you for the many good memories that I have of Frankenmuth, and more specifically, Zehnder’s.

    Paul Henkel
    Mount Clemens, Michigan

  273. Ursula Urbanski November 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    me and my family wish you the best of Birthdays. We visited Bavarian Inn in 2003. We had a very bad Car Crash. We had wanted to visit my family in Germany. My husband was not able to travel that far. I found your advertisement on the web. I booked a few nights around Halloween. We had the best time. The food was great. The view from the hotel was beautiful. Almost like home.
    Herzlichen Glueckwunsch zum Geburtstag.
    Ursula Urbanski

  274. Robert & Lisa Mouatt November 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Dearest Mrs. Zehnder,

    Happy 88th Birthday from the Mouatt family who have been sharing your passion for Frankenmuth and Barvarian Inn for more then 30 years. We spend Easter with you every year. We celebrate all of our birthdays with you, which include Myself (Lisa) my husband Rob our children David and Courtney along with their spouses Benjamin and Sarah and our two grandchildren Adaline and Benjamin Jr. We never miss a Christmas and we are on hand for several summer and fall visits as well. In fact we celebrate two December birthdays (myself and my Husband Rob) and thanks to your wonder resturant ,we will be there with family to share and enjoy. So heres to you Mrs. Zehnder have a wonderful 88th birthday and many more to come. God Bless
    The Mouatt Family

  275. Heidi Bolger-Rehmann November 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm #


    You have served as an inspiration to many women and entrepreneurs in your long business career. I deeply admire the role you have played in your business, family and community. What a wonderful legacy you have created for so many.

    God Bless and Happy Birthday!


  276. Ruth Newton November 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! Even though you don’t know me, I feel as though you are part of our family. My parents were born and lived in Germany until they were in their mid-20’s. They raised us in all the traditional German ways. After moving to Michigan when I was three, we spent many wonderful days in Frankenmuth and at the Bavarian Inn. Now that I am grown with three children of my own, my sister and I make at least one trip per year with our families to the Bavarian Inn. It is one of our very favorite traditions. I hope that someday my children will continue this tradition with their own families. We have had some of our best ‘family times’ at your restaurant. Thank you for sharing your heritage with us and being part of our family.

  277. Sharon Perkins Goodheart November 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    The Goodheart Family has been enjoying coming to the Bavarian Inn for 25+ years for our annual holiday dinner. For the last several years, we have reserved a private room and expanded the party to include our extended family. The service we have received has been excellent. The staff is always accommodating and friendly. Last year, your son Bill was nice enough to stop in and say hello. Congratulations Dorothy, for all the years of hard work and example you have set for all restaurant’s employees. Have a wonderful birthday.

    Sincerely, Jim Goodheart and the Goodheart family

  278. Joseph Thompson November 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!!!!! I’ve been eating Bavarian Inn chicken since I can remember! It’s always the best destination in Frankenmuth. Thank you for all of the wonderful meals over the years. These days it’s a great treat to get away with my girlfriend for another tasty meal that you’ve helped prepare! Enjoy your birthday celebration.

    Merry Christmas!!!!!

  279. Marilyn McKee November 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    A happy and blessed birthday. The Bavarian Inn has always been a special place to go and eat for many years for me. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary there a few years ago and you made it very special.
    God’s blessings.

  280. Diane (Kevin) Gracey/Ubly November 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Blessings & a very Happy Birthday Dorothy,

    Our family began the family tradition over 15 years ago of going to spend the night at Bavariann Inn every December. As the 4 children were growing up Frankenmuth became a very wonderful place to go, and as we all got older many fond memories at the restaurant and on the carriage rides, let alone the many shops & Bronners too are etched in our mind. When our youngest son (now 14) was in Elem. school–he told the other kids that the real Santa, and the real Christmas was in Frankenmuth–(out of the mouths of babes)… Anyway, I say Thank You and God Bless one and all the memories that are now part of our heritage also. We thank you for being a blessing to many. Kevin, Diane, Amber, Nathan, Jessica, and Nicholas Gracey of Ubly, MI

  281. Jodi Huerter November 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    I have been making trips to Frankenmuth with various members of my family for almost 10 years now, and no trip would be complete without eating a chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. My cousin and I just can’t get enough of those buttered noodles! Thank you so much for helping to make those meals enjoyable for us and for sharing your buttered noodle recipe! It’s nice to have a taste of the Bavarian Inn at home every once in a while!
    May you have a wonderful and joyous happy birthday!

  282. Darlene M November 22, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    I love coming to the Bavarian Inn. It was a family tradition when I was growing up and I made it a tradition with my family. We come at least five times a year and I would come much more if time was willing. Happy Birthday Dorothy; we love your restaurant and thank you for all the memories.

  283. Laurie Is November 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Every year my two children and I stay at the Bavarian Inn Lodge for a quick mid-winter break, and every year we all have a blast!! The kids love the pools and gamerooms, and we all enjoy the wonderful food and treats you have to offer! Thank you Dorothy (and Tiny) for a wonderful annual tradition we cherish each and every year!! Have a blessed and wonderful 88th Birthday Dorothy!!
    Laurie and two happy children

  284. Michael and Lorraine Samarziya November 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    My husband and I got married at the Bavarian Inn on May 30, 1999 and
    for our reception, our families enjoyed your delicious chicken family style
    dinner. My family belongs to the Birthday club and looks forward each year to your dinners. My husbands daughter who lives in Florida and his son who lives in Washington always ask to be taken to the Bavarian
    Inn for the chicken dinners. It is a tradition and an experience we look forward to over and over again.
    Happy Birthday, Dorothy! Hope you continue to be in good health.
    You and your husband started something good.

  285. Linda Wenger and Lily November 23, 2009 at 1:41 am #

    Dear Dorothy,

    This past January, on the day your latest cookbook was introduced, my granddaughter, Lily, and I visited with you, sharing the fact that we were treating ourselves to your dessert-filled book as our birthday gift to each other for our January birthdays. We spent 2 fun-filled days in Frankenmuth during the Snow Fest, enjoying the snow and ice sculptures, charming shops, wonderful food and genuine hospitality, but the pinacle of our visit was meeting you!

    I have been coming to Frankenmuth for 60 years and Lily for 12. She was 13 days old on her first visit to the Bavarian Inn, and was the 5th generation of our family to celebrate happy occasions in Frankenmuth, thanks to YOUR family. Lily and I wish you a very happy 88TH birthday and would like you to know how very grateful we are that your love, hard-work ethic and devotion to your business have provided us with multitudes of happy experiences. Thank you, too, for your delicious recipes. See you in January, 2010!

    With love,
    Linda (Nana) and Lily
    Grand Rapids, MI

  286. Rick Sample November 23, 2009 at 2:43 am #

    When I was growing up in Flint, we went to eat once a year with the whole family at the Bavarian Inn on my father’s birthday, which was three days after Christmas. My grandparents told us that when they first started going to Frankenmuth the meals only cost about $1.00, which was a lot of money for a restaurant meal in the 1930s or 1940s. This was the only extravagant splurge of the year for my grandfather who was very tight with his money and also rather selfish. But once a year he was generous and treated the extended family to a wonderful dinner at Bavarian Inn, which of course was a family favorite. As I said, he was very cheap and would only leave a $1.00 tip no matter how much the bill came to be. So after he and everyone left the table, my mother who was very embarrassed that he only left a $1.00 tip would stay behind and then out of her purse leave an appropriate 20% tip. I have wonderful memories of Bavarian Inn and continue to go with my wife and children every time we visit Michigan. Thank you for creating a wonderful dining experience that has meant so much to my family now for four generations. Rick Sample, California

  287. Ann Whitman November 23, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!! Back in 1985 my family met at the restuarant for dinner and I made my announcement that I was pregnant for my first daughter, Jennifer Lynn Pisarski, born Feb. 20, 1986. My family has enjoyed your dinners for many years on various occasions. Jenny is 23 now and has two boys of her own. Thank you for many joyous occasions and keeping the traditional family dinner alive!!

  288. Lorraine Samarziya November 23, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    I can relate to the enthusiam and love your family has for you. My Mother, turned 89 on April 24 this year. This past January, she finally
    ‘retired’ after working 19 1/2 years for Subway Submarine and prior
    to that worked for 32 years in a factory which she ‘retired’ from (plus
    working part time cooking at weddings, etc.) She has danced many a Polka at your Bavarian Inn and at Frankenmuth festivities. Like you, she is vibrant, pretty, still very active and our mentor and friend. You have set an example for your family that will last for ages to come. Sometimes at 63 I wish I had the ‘energy’ that my Mom has and I am sure that at sometime someone in your family has thought that also. They are so very lucky to have you as I feel about my Mom. Long live women like you, and my Mother, an inspiration to us all. Happy Birthday – and many, many more.

  289. Ken & Trudy (Schoenow) Hess November 23, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    We hope you have the happiest birthday ever!
    Well, how the time goes by. I remember working one Christmas Eve way back and we all went to the private dining room and the older girls brought a tray of beer glasses and of course no waitresses. Dorothy opened the door and we all said “Merry Christmas!” You just smiled and said “Well, hurry up, girls, we have a houseful!”
    We remember having a nice visit with you when Ken and I had our 50th anniversary dinner at the Inn. We also shared our children, Ann Finta, Dean Hess, and Mary Masker, to whom you provided wonderful employment. We all have great memories of you and Tiny and your wonderful family. Thanks for the memories!
    Love, Trudy and Ken

  290. Dan & Dana Whelan - Northville, MI November 23, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    Dorothy: Our family has enjoyed coming to Frankenmuth for years, whether to spend the night and/or have one of those famous chicken dinners. The seasonal squash was especially good too. Thank you for making the Bavarian Inn such a special place for all the guests. What an accomplishment – you have been running the kitchen for 70 years. Please take your birthday off from work. Happy Birthday to you! God Bless you and your family. Dan & Dana Whelan – Northville, MI

  291. Candy Spiegel November 23, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for dedicating your life to creating one of the most impressive dining experiences in the world. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the Bavarian Inn.

  292. Delphine Ruiz (Garza) November 23, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zendher,

    I would like to give you a heartfelt “thank you” to you and your family for bringing so many families together. In this day and age when meals are rushed and often not shared withone another…your restaurant has brought my family together to sit and enjoy one another’s company with your home cooked meals and family atmosphere. You are truly God sent. I know that the blessings that God has bestowed upon you, you so selflessly share with all of us…it is felt from the moment we enter your restaurant.

    May God keep you in good health and know that people all over the world are thanking you for bringing our families back to the dinner table to break bread.


    Delphine Ruiz, Chicago

  293. Sheila Smith November 23, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    What a wonderful example of a work ethic for all of us. Health, happiness, and best wishes to you on your birthday.

  294. Geri Rinke November 23, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Happy Birthday!!!! You are such an amazing women and a great inspiration to us!! Thanks to you and your family, our family has had numerous wonderful vacations and dinners at your restaurants and lodge. It is a very special place for us to be as a family. I so admire you as a mother, business-women and chef!!!!! May God’s blessings continue to shine upon you and your family.

  295. Ted and Esther Summers November 23, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    I was so pleased to receive this lovely e-mail. It was done to perfection.

    Happy, Happy Birthday! Dorothy. We have enjoyed you and the Bavarian Inn for many, many years. You are an inspiration.

    God Bless!

    Ted and Esther Summers
    Midland, Michigan

  296. Sara Duris November 23, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Happy Birthday!!!!
    Our family has great memories of trips to Frankenmuth which always include a trip to Zehnders or Bavarian Inn — after a full day of downtown and Bronner’s shopping, of course. We started back some 20 years ago as newlyweds and now our trips include our two children who look forward to it every year. We have introduced friends to the wonderful food and atmosphere of Frankenmuth and the Zehnders’ restaurants. You can be assured that you have left an incredible legacy in Frankenmuth and we wish you the happiest of days on your special birthday. Thank you and God Bless!

  297. Jan Wallace November 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Happy Birthday!! Hope you have many, many more. Our family has enjoyed going to the Bavarian Inn for over 30 years the first weekend in December. The restaurant is always decorated beautifully and we enjoy the strolling accordian player and the meals are excellent. Your family makes it a special place for everyone. Jan

  298. Jan Jameson November 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    The best to you on your birthday! What a fine example you set for us all.
    I can echo most of the comments I’ve read about memories shared here as I remember as a child going to Frankenmuch with my parents and grandparents also. (We are now at 4 generations of Frankenmuthphils.)
    I can remember when the Bavarian Inn was Fischer’s. (Yes, I’m that old!) And we always ate where the German food was since my grandparents were Bohemian. My favorite memory was stopping after small game hunting season and we weren’t exactly dressed for “Sunday Dinner” since we had come from a Saginaw area farm in hunting clothes.
    I remember some debate about how we were dressed but the food (and yes the dark beer my grandfather liked) were too much of a draw. So with some concern we all went and (to our relief) we were tucked up in a small alcove private dining room where we had a fabulous dinner and one pitcher of dark and one of light beer.
    Now I’m the only one eating your wonderful Sauerbraten as the younger generation seems to prefer the chicken (which of course, is the best!).
    Thanks for all you do.

  299. Darlene & Frank November 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    We came to Frankenmuth for our honeymoon ten years ago and stayed at Bavarian Inn. We loved the place, city, culture, and especially the food. We come back to Frankenmuth every year, a few times. Matter of fact, we are spending our first Thanksgiving at the Bavarian Lodge and eating at the Inn. We so much look forward to spending our times there! Thank you so much for giving to us in this way. We really appreciate what you have put into the Bavarian Inn and Lodge, a lot of love. Happy birthday!

  300. Judy Miller November 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!

    My sisters and I have been coming to Frankenmuth every July for over 20 years. We always stay at the Lodge and always have our chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. Over the years we have brought other family members and friends with us but the three of us (Judy, Sandra & Linda) have not missed a year. Our greatest memory is when our mother came with us. She has passed now and we miss her so much that we bring her picture with us every year and place it in the room. She loved everything about Frankenmuth – the shopping and the food and just being with her daughters! It is a special place for us to visit!
    We hope you have a very Happy Birthday and we will be back again in July 2010!

  301. lKathy November 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    In 1986 my 4 year old daughter Julia asked Santa for a little light up Christmas tree. Santa’s helper (Mom) looked everywhere with no success for the exact one. I finally asked my friend where she got it only to discover it came from the Bavarian Inn gift shop. Fortunately my husband had Christmas Eve off work, so we took the drive from Dearborn to share a very tasty chicken dinner and see if the gift shop might still have a very special “find.” Not only was the trip to Frankenmuth a fun and exciting event, but we had a very happy little girl Christmas morning.

    Thank you Dorothy for making those fabulous chicken dinners!

  302. Shannon L November 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    My mom, dad, grandma and I spent every Thanksgiving day and every Christmas day with the Zehnder family for 12 years while I was growing up (1975-1989). To this day “family style chicken dinner” means that special fruit bread, mashed potatoes w/gravy, coleslaw, chicken legs, and cranberry sauce – followed by standing outside the Bavarian Inn in the parking lot looking up at the famous Frankenmuth glockenspiel!! Every holiday picture we have during those years was taken just outside either Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn. Happy Birthday, Dorothy!

  303. Alan Knoll November 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Happy Birthday, dear Dorothy, Happy Birthday to you!

    Greetings on this happy occasion from one of your Schluckebier cousins!

    My earliest memory of you goes back to the summer of 1945, when I was driving the infamous pickup truck back to Zehnder’s Hotel on a Saturday afternoon after feeding the chickens on Tiny’s farms. There were a lot of cars on Main Street that day, and since I was a very inexperienced driver, I managed to stall the engine while waiting for a break in the traffic so I could make a left turn into the hotel driveway. Main Street was one lane in each direction in those days and a line of impatient drivers began to build up behind me. A flood of panic overwhelmed me but I glanced over to the hotel to see you standing in the second floor front window, holding baby Judy, and smiling down at me in a reassuring way. I didn’t find the situation very amusing, but somehow I managed to restart the engine and escape to the safety of the hotel parking lot.

    The kindness and generosity always shown to our family by you, Tiny, and your family is greatly appreciated and is reflected in the eagerness of our children and grandchildren to enjoy your cooking at the Bavarian Inn.

    With all of our love,


  304. The Koczorowski Family November 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm #


    We want to wish you a very happy 88th birthday!!! We have made it a family tradition to stay at the Bavarian Inn on the saturday before Christmas every year. Thank you for the years of great chicken dinners. Frankenmuth is only 2 hours from our home in Toledo but it seems like we are worlds away. We love everything about The Bavarian Inn and the whole town. It must fill your heart with joy to know you have built such a wonderful business with your wonderful family. Continued good health and we will see you for years to come.

    Thanks for the memories–The Koczorowski family.

  305. Linda Kohler Thomas November 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! Your dream created our family a memory that is now being pass down to my grandchildren. When I was a young child we would go to the Bavarian Inn every year at Christmas time. Two years ago it was to be my parents last visit, my mom died in March and my dad in June but we will travel from five other states to meet up with family celebrating a tradition that remains close to our hearts.

  306. Ann Graham November 23, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy–you grand lady!
    I have many wonderful memories of talking and being with you. A couple of those memories remind me of your love of family & tradition, and of your listening to people and your patience.
    In 1988, you graciously agreed to make a “family-favorite” wilted lettuce salad for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary dinner party at B.I. It was delicious and we had the pleasure of that family tradition.
    Another time I remember–you listened to my questions about trying to make a chocolate pie with Charlie’s grandma’s recipe. You had the patience to try it! It didn’t work, but then I had the treat of eating your TWO kinds of chocolate pie.
    Thank you for being who you are and many more Happy Birthday’s!

  307. Bill & Sheila Lundquist November 23, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    We have enjoyed many special events at the Bavarian Inn with our family over the 30+ years we have lived in the area but the one event we decided to share for this special birthday celebration for Dorothy was the wedding reception of our youngest daughter in 1999. Our daughter wouldn’t hear of any other place for her wedding reception although we live more than 30 miles from Frankenmuth in Grand Blanc. She had so many fond childhood memories of our many weekends camping in Frankenmuth and all the wonderful meals we enjoyed at the Bavarian Inn. She loved mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy, dressing and wouldn’t hear of having wedding cake without ice cream! Our other two daughters were married in the same year with receptions at golf clubs in the Flint area but we couldn’t believe the different feeling of celebrating such an important event at the Bavarian Inn. Everything went so smoothly but the most interesting finale was Tiny coming to our table at the close of the dinner to thank us for coming to the Bavarian Inn. We were told that he and Dorothy were in the kitchen making sure everyting went smoothly. We felt that both Tiny and Dorothy and everyone else connected with the Bavarian Inn really cared that we had chosen them when we made such an important financial arrangement. Tiny told us that the extra food was being placed into containers for us to take home because, “you will need this for your family for the next few days”. We were surprised that the restaurant owner would thank us for our patronage but even more surprised that he would care that we would need food for our families for the days ahead! We did need that food and felt as if another set of parents cared about our family. We want to wish you a very happy birthday, Dorothy and tell you that you and your family have been fine examples of how Christians should conduct their lives and their work. You must be so proud! Ja mo han leva…..Happy Birthday in Swedish!

  308. Christine Hurt November 24, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    Happy Birthday! We love coming to Frankenmuth and eating at your restuarant. We brought my father-in-law with us once and he insisted on eating a hot dog, no matter how much we tried to explain to him about your wonderful food. Your staff was very accommodating and did serve him a hot dog. He was suffering from the beginning stages of dementia and we always will appreciate how kind your staff was to us that evening. We hope your birthday is just a wonderful day! Thanks! Chris

  309. Bryan Scopel November 24, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Happy Birthday from Alpha Amusements!

    Thanks so much for all your hard work and dedication to your family and business. You truly are an inspiration to all.

    It has been our distinct pleasure supplying the games to you at the Lodge.

    Danke schon for making it all possible.

    Bryan Scopel

  310. Charlie Graham November 24, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Congratulations Dorothy. I think it is wonderful that you still love to go to work, and I know you work hard. Thank you so much for everything you do. May God continue to bless you in the coming years.

  311. Dana Coates November 24, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    My husband and I have been married for 2 1/2 years now; my birthday is Nov 8 and his is Nov 4. The past couple of years we have started a tradition of going to Zender’s for lunch to celebrate. We LOVE the food and the kind people there. My sister & brother in law also try to go a couple times a year. I think we were drawn to Zender’s as my grandparents would visit each anniversary & has always been a part of our family.

    Thanks for the memories! Have a fantastic birthday!! Dana & Andrew

  312. Gail Walker November 24, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Thank you for spending so many hours in the kitchen, Dorothy, so that moms like me can have a day off!

  313. Deanne Berger November 24, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Happy Birthday and best wishes for many more to come. I have no specific stories but I can tell you that I started going to the Bavarian Inn as a child and continue that tradition on almost a monthly basis. In reflecting on my many visits I can honestly say there was never a time we had a bad meal. It goes without saying that Frankenmuth is a wonderful town to visit and shop in and to end the day with a meal at the Bavarian Inn makes it a perfect visit. Dorothy, thank you for your many hours of dedication to make your establishment one of the very best I have ever visited. Of course, the wonderful food is the topper but the cleanliness and efficient, pleasant and welcoming staff you employ round out the reasons I will continue to visit the Bavarian Inn for many years to come.

  314. Herb Zeilinger November 24, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Dorothy- a “spitball” of energy!

    Dorothy’s energy amazes me. My mother and her are almost the same age and Dorothy could run circles around my mom! I look forward to visiting the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and seeing Dorothy because I know she’ll give me a big hug. I have great admiration for members of that generation and and all that they have done to perpetuate Frankenmuth for future generations. I could only pray that Dorothy would be with us for another 88 years!
    Danke schön und auf wiedersehen (thank you and good bye),

    Herb Zeilinger
    Group Sales Manager
    Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau

  315. The Avery Family November 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Happy Birthday!
    My husband introduced me to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn during our honeymoon 19 years ago, as he was showing me the great state of Michigan. His parents had taken him there when he was a child. We drove in and saw our names out front on the board and I thought “Wow, this place is really neat” Then I walked in the Inn. Later we had dinner at the restaurant, and wandered around the town, watching the clock and the story. My only thought was that we will be coming back as often as we can. We were living in Bermuda at the time, and now we are living in northern Michigan, and everytime we travel down south to visit family Frankenmuth, the Bavarian Inn and a chicken dinner are on the list. Our children love the Inn and are constantly asking when we can go again. We are surprising them over the Christmas holidays.
    Thank you for all of your hard work – I hope you take the day off on your birthday – you deserve it.
    Many Many Happy Returns.
    The Avery’s

  316. Irene Engel November 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy – To a very Special Lady!

    It gives me great pleasure in wishing you the best birthday ever. I have many special recollections of special memories with you and Tiny at Bavarian Inn. Such as our family Baptisms, Confirmations, Wedding Rehearsls and Weddings. These were all special occasions but one stands out in my memory.

    It was on a Friday evening, during Bavarian Festival, back on June 16, 1961. It was sometime after your Grand Opening of the then New Bavarian Room. That evening we celebrated the baptism of our first born son, James Allen Engel.

    Who would have ever thought that that tiny infant would come to work at Bavarian Inn; oh so many years later. Starting at age 15 as a dishworker in your restaurant kitchen, and graduating to many levels over the years, to the now COO at Bavarian Inn Lodge.

    Our second son Matthew, also worked for you at the restaurant through his high school years and college. He learned much about serving and cooking while with you and is a very good cook even cooking for his family.

    I believe that you and your family have given so many wonderful opportunities, to so many people of all ages through the years. Thank you for all the loving and caring things you do for so many people.

    God Bless you on this your Special Day Dorothy, and continued blessings in the coming year with many more wonderful days filled with love and good health.

    God loves you and so do I! Irene Engel

  317. Dianne Voss November 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday, Dorothy!!

    It is amazing that you’re still able to work in the kitchen at the Bavarian Inn at age 88. You have truly been blessed with good health and the energy it certainly takes to keep up with your daily routine.

    We have been long-time patrons of the Bavarian Inn and enjoy the personal greetings we receive from you, Bill, Karen and others whenever we eat there. As fine examples and with guidance from you and Tiny, your family is carrying on the traditions you have worked so hard to preserve. You are truly an amazing lady!

    May God continue to bless you with good health for many years to come.

    John and Dianne Voss

  318. Kim Mahrle November 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    The first time I remember going to the Bavarian Inn was for my Grandpa & Grandma Stark’s 40th Wedding Anniversary. It was on Jan. 17th about 40 years ago. I was maybe 6 and happily I didn’t have to sit with my parents but with my 14 cousins.

    It became a tradition as a child, teenager, young adult, and now as a parent to visit every year sometime before Christmas. The visit always started at Bronners to see Santa (he’s the real one you know!) and ended at the Bavarian Inn for dinner. Of course we have visited lots of other times too! Another favorite of my kid’s is to stay at the Yogi Bear Campground and ride bikes down to have dinner. One time we were even lucky enough to tour the kitchen, they told everyone about that. We have so many wonderful family memories that start with “One time at the Bavarian Inn…”

    I have a great picture of my kids in your dinning room in front of a Tree from last year’s Christmas visit. I will try to email it over hoping that it can be included in your book. Our visit is already planned for this year, Sunday 12-6, it’s always the first thing that goes on the calendar every year. The kids are older now so it can be difficult to find a date that works for them all. May you have the best Birthday this year, wow 88, that is something to celebrate!

    Kim Mahrle

  319. Mary Ellen (Reaser) Trott November 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    Dear Dorthy,
    A Very Special Happy Birthday!!
    I have several fond memories both as a waitress and guest at the Bavarian Inn. (1971-75). One that brings a smile is the way you tried out different recipes and included the employees in the sampling! I will always be impressed with the most professional and dedicated way you and your family run the business. I have actually used some of the examples in my own carreer. You have been a great role mode for me. I saw your strength and courage in action as a business owner and the compassion and integrity as a Mother and community advocate.
    God’s Blessings to you and Thank you!
    Mary Ellen (Reaser) Trott
    Detroit/Clio/Walled Lake, MI

  320. Jon Webb November 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    As you travel down Main Street in Frankenmuth, you see the trappings of commercial success everywhere. But what you don’t see, unless you make your way into the steamy kitchen of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, is what makes it all possible….Frankenmuth’s real pride, what makes this community such a wonderful place to live and work, a hidden gem of our fine city…Dorothy. Dorothy, not only have you worked incredibly hard for everything you have, but you’ve willingly shared your success and knowledge with those around you. You’ve raised a wonderful family and set a tremendous example of what selfless living is all about. Have a very Happy Birthday, young lady. Frankenmuth loves you!!

  321. Mike Piper November 24, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy!

    You have done so much to make Frankenmuth the community that it is. Your dedication to church and family and the Bavarian Inn is inspring. The work ethic that you demonstrate every day, I am sure has help mold the lives of the thousands of employees that you have worked with over the years. That friendliness and warm greetings that you have for all your friends and guests make you one of my favorite people to be around. Keep up the great work.
    Have a Happy Birthday Dorothy! Frankenmuth loves you.

  322. Annie Rummel November 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorthy,

    I’ve seen you through the eyes of a young woman, watching you work in the kitchen, seeing you work with your husband and children. I’ve seen you through the eyes of a new mother and observed your loving kindness toward your family as their mother and grandmother. I’ve seen you through the eyes of a business women and used your strength and direction as a guide. And, I have seen you through the eyes of a friend who has laughed with you, and have fond memories to treasure for a lifetime.

    Enjoy this Birthday and many more. God’s blessings


  323. diana November 25, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    I have been coming to your resturant since I was a little girl, about 30 years. My family would go to Frankenmuth during the holidays. The chicken is unbelieveable. I have a fond memory of my mother bringing an empty purse lined with napkins. She would put any left over chicken in her purse to take home (This was when you did not package leftovers). My sister and I would be so embarassed, however the next day we were thankful! Once I had children we continued the tradition of going to Frankenmuth in December with my parents. My son is now 8 and loves it. Thanks for all the wonderful years of making traditions happen. I will see you in a few weeks! Happy Birthday!!!

  324. iCindy Powell November 25, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,
    A very happy birthday! You figure prominently in my many Frankenmuth memories, although you don’t know it.
    Many years ago, my sister married and moved to Michigan from Toledo, where our family is from. I would drive my mom to visit my sister’s family, and we always included a stop for the amazing chicken dinners in Frankenmuth. The charm of the town did not escape us, and we have many mementos from dozens of different Frankenmuth shops. I recall fondly the Girls Trips with my mom and me in later years, where we’d spend the night and leisurely stroll the streets.
    My aunt and uncle, who lived in Flint, would often dine with us. They taught us the wisdom of ordering Family Style, and had a specific protocol when dining at Zehnder’s: ask for chicken tips, and retain an empty plate to hold the bones!
    Later, after I married, my husband and I would travel to frankenmuth for special weekends. When our children came along, we would bring them to enjoy the city. To this day, we still make it up to Frankenmuth at least once a year. Of course, the highlight of every trip, then, as now, are the incredible meals at Zehner’s. Although the chicken is still a favorite, we’ve tried just about all of the menu offerings over the years. Its a must to stop in the bakery and get stollen (my husband’s favorite) and the wonderful Chicken Seasoning! My daughter – now in college – REQUIRES a jar of the Chicken Seasoning at school!
    I cannot count the number of cherished memories thet Frankenmuth and Zehnder’s hold in my mind, accumulated over the past 30 years.
    thank you for your amazing years of service.

  325. Mark Brandt November 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    My wife Karen and daughter Katie were meeting with Vickie Hart to plan the menu for Katie’s wedding reception. Dorothy walked by, heard a bit of the conversation, and told them they had to choose BBQ pork chops as one of the meats, because that was one of Pastor Brandt’s favorites. They took her suggestion and I loved the result!

    God bless you always, Dorothy. You are an inspiration to many!

  326. Bob and Carolyn Maguire November 25, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    While looking for a Military Photo for our granddaughter (soon to be 6),
    we ran across a photo of Bob sittig in front of Fischers Hotel and Chicken
    Dinners with its white columned porch and a 1955 Chevrolet sitting across the street. I believe this is where it all started. So when I moved
    back to Michigan in 1971 with my wife and child and when her folks came
    to visit from West Virginia of course the first place I had to take them to
    eat was the Bavarian Inn. Our son was less than a year old when he had
    his first experience and we have been back many times since. Thank You for all the wonderful meals and experiences.

    May your family continue the outstanding service model you have set.

    Congratulations on your birth milestone.

    Bob Maguire

    • bavarianinn November 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

      Thank you for your story. Do you still have that photo? If so, would it be to much to ask for you to scan and sent it to us, we would love to see it? Thank you again for your story. We appreciate your comments.

  327. Nancy November 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder, I’ve been up to the Bavarian Inn many times with my children and grandchildren. Everytime a family member or friend from out of state comes to visit, we bring the to the Bavarian Inn. The most memorable time was when a cousin I hadn’t seen in years came to Frankenmuth with his wife and his brothers and their wives. My husband and I drove up to the Bavarian Inn to get to meet the relative I hadn’t seen in years and finally got to meet the rest of his family. It was truly a highlight in my life and we talk about it often. Thank you for the memory and the delicious meal.

  328. Lisa and Ed Nabozny November 25, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Zehnder,

    Happy birthday! We went to Frankenmuth this past summer after not going there for many years. We stayed at the Bravarian Inn and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with accommodations, hospitality, and beautiful grounds. The place certainly becomes more and more lovely as time goes on. We are planning a family get-together at the Inn sometime soon. (If we can get everyone together at the same time.) We have 6 grandchildren of all ages, and it seems the Inn has something for every age group, including the adults.

    Thank you for all the work you and your family have done to help make Frankenmuth the wonderful and fun place that it is today.

    Sincerely, Ed and Lisa Nabozny

  329. Pam Bierlein November 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    When first given notice of this unique birthday gift your children have for you, my mind couldn’t help but race, thinking of all the memories I have from that chapter in my life I spent working with you. The memories are grand and bring a smile to my face as I hope this beautiful birthday gift to you, from all of us, will bring joy and tears of love and laughter.

    Dorothy, you are in my thoughts often in life such as when:

    • Whenever I make toast and I am reminded of how you would explain to me the amount of mess your Tiny could make while toasting one piece of toast and the length of time it took him to make it, eat it and clean up after. Then we would laugh. I still laugh. Sometimes I call Wayne “Tiny” when he cooks.
    • How about whenever I cook hard boiled eggs? Can’t forget that project. Do you still crack them that way?
    • I use the phrase “It will get better before you get married” so many times with my family and friends. I love the reactions and they wonder were that saying came from.
    • Oh, and the ketchup and miracle whip containers….always remind me of D.Z. when cleaning them out. Never leave any in the containers to throw away. Always use a scraper to clean. Then I smile and laugh again.
    • For some reason I am always reminded of you when I clean celery. I still remember the day you taught me step by step how to clean a case of celery and what each part was used for.
    • Whenever I get my cookbooks out and come across the cook off cookbooks….Oh what fun it was to judge those cook offs with you and Edna. It was also great to get to know Judy and Martha during the cook offs.
    • When I make mistakes with anything in life, I am reminded of how you would often laugh along with us, about our errors and would never make us feel bad about it. You know that mistakes are made in life and we should just learn from them and move on. I try my hardest to use this theory with my family as well.

    Trust me Dorothy, these are only a few of the great memories I have of you and working with you and your family. I feel fortunate to have come to know your wonderful family. As I try to think of the perfect thing to say, my mind keeps coming back to the fact that we worked hard but we always seemed to have FUN working. May this indeed be a Happy 88th Birthday for you. May God continue to bless you with much fun, health and happiness.


    Pam Bierlein

  330. Karen Gregory November 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!! I hope your day is filled with family, fun, delicious food, and warm, wonderfull memories! You have contributed so much to so many people’s lives by running Bavarian Inn’s kitchen through the years that it’s only fitting that we give back to you now in the form of stories that center on your wonderful restauarant.

    I have so many memories of Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn going back to when I was a little girl in the 50’s. My parents and extended family made the annual drive to your restuarant on Mother’s day for many years. I loved the decor and feel of the restaurant, and the clock outside the building that told the delightful story with little figures that paraded around as it played fascinated me as a child. The dinners were, and still are, scrumptious! I have photos of my parents, grandparents, Aunt, Uncle and cousin that were taken in the the parking lot of The Bavarian Inn when I was about 9. What memories!! We have over the years returned to Bavarian Inn yearly. Not on Mother’s day now, but for my parent’s anniversaries. They celebrated their 60th in May with us at your restaurant. I still love the feel of The Bavarian Inn and after 50+ years of enjoying your wonderful hospitality, I’m honored, and it’s a pleasure to say thank you Dorothy, and happy 88th birthday!!

    Karen Blackwell Gregory

  331. jablonowski November 27, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    We started visiting Frankenmuth, and Zehnders back in the 70’s when our daughter was an infant, she is now grown and has a family of her own. She now takes her family to Zehnders, so I guess you could say,as so many others have, it has pretty well became a family tradition.

    Thank you, and Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    Jablonowski and Johnson families

  332. Cindy Osterhout November 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Birthday wishes to you. I started my adventure to the in when I met my husband back in 1990. We have memiories that you have helped us make over the years with both of our children and their grandparents and aunt, uncles, and cousins. So many once a year gatherings (since we live in California) and such great food. We look forward to each year to our get together at your dinner table. Thanks to you and your many years of dedecation we have priceless memories. Happy Birthday to you and I hope that when I am your age I will still be enjoying dinner at your dinner table. See you in August 2010 Thank you and Best Wishes. The Osterhout family from California

  333. Jan Ferencz November 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Staying at the Bavarian Inn has become a yearly tradition with my grandchildren at least once a year or more often. We love our mini vacations.

    On our first visit when my granddaughter was 3 years old. my daughter-in-law, granddaughter and myself signed up for a cake decorating class. That was the first time we met you. You walked into the kitchen and stopped to talk to us. You are a classy lady, and we could tell that you loved the work you do.


    God bless you,
    The Ferencz Family

  334. ALICE November 27, 2009 at 10:10 pm #




  335. Al and Lynn Zappacosta & Family November 28, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! We started visiting Frankenmuth on our honeymoon over 35 years ago and have been coming back every year since. Your Thanksgiving is the kickoff to your Christmas season but in Canada, our Thanksgiving is in October, a little early to start getting ready for Christmas. We started our own tradition of coming to Frankenmuth every year, the first weekend in December to kick off our Holiday Celebration. At first we would just come for the day. When the Bavarian Inn Lodge opened we began staying for the weekend. What started with our children, has not expanded to include our children and grandchildren. We all look forward every year to our weekend in Christmas Town (As my grandchildren call it). We now get 3 rooms at the lodge and have wonderful memories with our family of great food, fun and just great family time together. We stay at the lodge 2 or 3 times a year but the Christmas weekend is our favourite. We will miss your birthday by a few days this year as we are coming up on the 4th but we hope that you have a wonderfuly day full of memories. Your family has certainly helped make wonderful memories for our family. Thank You.
    Lynn and Al Zappacosta and Family

  336. Ron Wilmers November 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm #


    Happy Birthday. The many years you have devoted to making life simple and enjoyable is reflecting back upon you. We have never met but it is from the Zehnder legacy that has propelled us forward in making travel more enjoyable for people with a disability. You have helped people find the joy in their life and with the family strength we hope to forward that joy for generations to come. Happy Birthday.

    Ron & Kay Wilmers
    The Disabled Traveler’s Companion

  337. Nicole Lang November 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    My Mom and I go every year in July to Frankenmuth. We have a great time relaxing and just begin together.

  338. Kay List November 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Dear Aunt Dorothy,
    How blessed I am to have a mother and aunt that have taught me the importance of faith, family and hard work!! I thank God that I have had the opportunity to experience both of you in my life for 80 plus years. Along with those wonderful qualities, you have shared the gift of laughter and joy so many times at our family gatherings. It is hard for me to mention all the positive memories that I have had but our recent “cousin parties” always leave me feeling blessed and fortunate for our relationship!! I have two memories I want to share with you as you celebrate your 88th year!! Remember when you came to our pool in Reese and Matt wondered why you didn’t have on your bathing suit when you entered the pool– You will need to refresh my memory– Did he think your brown suit was a pajama??!! Kids say the darndest things!! The other memory I have never shared but it goes way back to when I was a hostess in my teen years. Bavarian Inn was a fun place to work and an establishment where I always felt worthy and accepted for my contribution. One day while hostessing with Nitsy Rau and Barb Rummel, Ike Bleke ( who was a busboy at the time) set Nitsy’s alarm clock to go off at 3:00P.M. She always brought her alarm clock to keep track of the reservations. Being teenagers we thought it would be fun to set the alarm on a busy Sunday afternoon. When that alarm went off Nitsy flew from the end of Bavarian Room to the counter (that white feather was flying through the air and she was muttering –“Gott fa dumdt”! over and over until she was able to turn of the alarm. At the end of the night we all had a great laugh with her!! My prayer is that God will continue to bless you with good health and spiritual strength!!
    You have been and will continue to be a godly mentor in my life. LOVE YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS, KAY SUE LIST(SUSIE)

  339. Tom and Carol Sawicki November 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    .We have been staying at the Bavarian Inn Lodge since before your expansion took place. It has evolved into a very special family tradition that brings us back every first weekend of December. Our family has grown so now it takes three rooms to fit us in. My grandchildren, girl (6) and boy (3), refer to the Inn as “Santa’s Castle” and for the last few weeks we have had to listen to “how many more days till we go to Santa’s Castle?” The good news is that we are only a few more days from coming again. We LOVE our rooms, the staff (family) and the great food — You have given us the perfect place to relax and enjoy our time with our loved ones!! THANK YOU for everything the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Restaurant has provided to us over the years. May the Lord bless you on your special day… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! !!! !! With love and regards,…. Tom and Carol Sawicki

  340. Anthony Weiss November 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Mrs. Zehnder

    I would like to wish you a very happy birthday. I would also like to say thank you for influencing me in my love of food. I remember when I was a cook at The Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn many years ago and your presence in the kitchen. You were always there working and teaching us how to do our tasks. I am now in the culinary field and love it. Thank you again and enjoy your birthday

    Anthony Weiss

  341. Susie & Ed Johanson November 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    Dear Tante Dorothy,
    We just want to wish you the very best birthday! We love you & everything that you do for all of us. We are so blessed to have you in our family. God has blessed us. And, you are one of His special children!
    Love you,
    Susie & Ed

  342. The Baum Family November 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    Happy Birthday Dorothy!
    My husband & I have been visiting Bavarian Inn for over 15 years. Our daughter is 13 years old and our Dec. vacations she always wants to return to Bavarian Inn. We always have to come for 2 nights, because we have so much fun that 1 night is just not enough! We know that she will carry on the tradition with her family as well. We want to Thank You and your family for all of your hard work to make our vacations special. We love the Bavarian Inn and will continue visiting as long as life lets us. Happy Holidays!
    The Baum Family
    Oregon, Ohio

  343. Susan Logel November 30, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    My husband and I went to Frankenmuth and stayed at the Bavarian Inn Lodge for the first time in Aug 2009 generated by an email from Bronner’s advertising the Lodge. It was one of the best vacations we have ever had. Our stay was wonderful. The Lodge was beautiful and the people were wonderful. We ate at the Bavarian Inn. The food was delicious and we loved the way the wait staff was dressed. The town is something that all people should visit at least once. We went to Bronner’s all 4 days that we were there. Had a wonderful carriage and boat ride and loved going in all the shops. I can’t say enough about the town of Frankenmuth, the Bavarian Inn Lodge and all the friendly people. I can’t wait to go back again. I only hope that we can make in someday in December to see how it is decorated.
    Happy Birthday to you, Mrs Zehnder. Thank you for making The Bavarian Inn Lodge a place that people want to visit again and again!!!

  344. Michael Greve & Family November 30, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    Dear Dorothy,

    Congrats on turning 88 years young. My family and I have been enjoying dinner at your restaurant for the past 20 years and enjoy the quality of the food. I think it is great that you are still involved in the day to day operations and it really shows. I met you back in Aug during a kitchen tour at your restaurant and seeing how much energy you have I just hope I have just a much when I reach your age.

    My family and I have been staying a the Bavarian Inn Lodge for years and we visit the restaurant all most every time. When I get togeather with my Friends up in Frankenmuth it usually includes a all you can eat chicken dinner at your place. To you and your family keep up the great work.

    Happy Birthday,
    Michael Greve

  345. Denise November 30, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    Miz Dorothy,

    Happy 88th Birthday to you and many, many more. You and your family have made my family happy for over 50 years! Many a special time was had in Frankenmuth and at the Bavarian Inn. My father especially loved going several times a year. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2002, however my Mom and I still come at least four times a year and every time we do, we feel that Dad is along with us. We love so many menu items at the Inn — the cranberry relish, the cole slaw, the buttered noodles and of course the chicken are some of our favorites. And your cookie recipes are delicious also.

    I hope that this is one of your best birthdays ever. And again, thanks to you and your family for adding to “our” family tradition.


    Denise Jablonski

  346. Dennis Krafft November 30, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    To Dorothy Zehnder, my all time favorite Zehnder:

    There, I’ve said it, you have been a fox for both your and my entire lives, and this will never change. I know a slug of Zehnders, from both sides of the street, including those that are not associated with either restaurant, and you are the one at the top of my list of favorites, always have been!

    To select one memory is grossly unfit for me to judge, as there have been so many through the years while growing up as a neighbor to both the restaurant and more so, to Tiny’s farm operation. As an offspring of a dairy farm family, we have always valued family relationships, knowing and understanding fully, what challenges go with working side by side with immediate family. While truly rewarding in fostering family ties, it becomes extremely emotional when differences arise, and they do with any operation, especially the size and magnitude of the Zehnder Empire.
    And yet, there is the continuing strong united resolve and unified approach to everything that develops, both good and bad, sad and joyful, rich or poor. What a credit to both Tiny and you!
    But we both know that Tiny was a handful, and you were truly a Christian wife in all of your actions and support of Tiny. That can be by far, more challenging personally, than any role in the growth of a family or company. Your example is exemplary of what we have been told, but can’t ever seem to live up to, as that of a great servant to mankind. And it shows in every action you take, so picking out one example is IMPOSSIBLE….
    And still, you’re so darned cute!

    Love ya lots,

    Dennis Krafft

  347. Jacquelyn Roberts November 30, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    The Lord puts everyone on this earth for a reason—Dorothy, your reason was to bring joy, good food, good times, to your loving family and all the other people who have so fortunate to visit your establishments. My family has been coming for four generations!!! We have stayed for a week, a few days, overnight, and lots of all day journeys. Your food is the best—everything from the hot dogs to the chicken to the steaks. We have stayed in the hotels, the inns, outside of the city just to enjoy the town.
    Dorothy, you have a great birthday and take off the day from work!!!


    The Roberts Family

  348. Nancy Dybicki November 30, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    Happy 88th Birthday Dorothy! May God continue to bless you with good health. My family has been visiting Frankenmuth for many years and have fond memories. We love the atmosphere of Little Bavaria with all the nice shops, especially Bronner’s, the wonderful restaurants and lodging. We’ve stayed many times at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, where our children have enjoyed the pools and miniature golf since they were very young. The family-style dinner is our favorite. We commend you for your years of hard work and devotion. May you enjoy your birthday to its fullest!

  349. William Fleury November 30, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Right after starting work at the Bavarian Inn at the age of 15 (1967), my mother died unexpectedly. Dorthy was quick to comfort me and over the next (7) years she became my replacement mother. I love this lady so much! She always has a big smile and treated me like a son. Every time I see her or her picture I can easily re-live vivid memories of good times in my life. She has a special place in my heart!

  350. Connie Winkler November 30, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Dorothy, even though you have thousands of parties at the Bavarian Inn each year, I think you might remember this one. In April 2007 we held my mother’s 90th birthday party there, Leila Lauderbach. My sister had sent in huge exotic flowers from Hawaii, your staff had created a beautiful 90 ice sculpture and we were playing Pin the Gravy on the Biscuit. You came in saying that the word was out all over the property that our party was the most fun of all the parties that evening. You joined us and visited with my mother and aunt for almost a half an hour, which she enjoyed so much.

    A couple of weeks later we celbrated Mother’s Day at the Bavarian Inn. It was my mother’s last outing, but one she wanted and enjoyed very much.

    Thank you for providing such a wonderful experience for my mother. We have always had great times there.

    Congratulations on your 88th birthday.

    Connie Winkler

  351. Stacy Rupprecht November 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm #


    Have a blessed day with many more to enjoy. Happy Birthday!

    Stacy Rupprecht

  352. Chris Wojcinski November 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder!
    “Sto Lat!” is our Polish traditional birthday saying of “May you live to be 100!” Just this past weekend we had the opportunity to see you take the time to visit with customers in the restaurant. It puts a smile in our hearts everytime we visit the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant because of all the warm family memories we have and those yet to come. We come to Frankenmuth at least once every year with family and friends and though you may not realize it, you touch so many lives directly and indirectly because of the opportunity to come together and have fun. We’ve been visiting annually for 33 years and plan to continue our family tradition. Thank You.
    Many blessings,
    The Wojcinski Family

  353. Karen (Roebuck) Petzold November 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    Ok Dorathy..A VERY HAPPY 88th BIRTHDAY..for over 30 yr’s I helped celebrate your birthday’s..only because I was working..and those 30 yr’s were long and good one’s and I have so many memories but my favorite one’s are , when I would drive you to Saginaw in your nice little Black car and take you to your appointment’s..we had some fun time’s ..I can’t say how much difference you made in my life and God Gave Me a Special Friend and Family when I started working at BAVARIAN Inn ..I put in 30 yr’s..and they were all good yr’s ..Thank You. Dorathy Zehender and a Very Happy 88th Birthday..
    Karen Roebuck Petzold and Paul

  354. Jane Buhlinger November 30, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    Wishing you a blessed birthday,
    I lost my 17 year-old son on the Monday before Thanksgiving in 1996. We found it very difficult to spend the Holiday ot home without him. We decided that we needed a new way to spend our holiday weekend. I heard about the Candle Walk and we decided to head to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn. My husband, my daughter (and then her husband Joined us) and our best friends started the new “Family Tradition”. Through the years the people coming with us has varied. Even the year we moved into our new home, my daughter and friends still were able to spend T-day weekend with you while my husband took resposibility for the move. Now in 2009 I spent Wed., Thurs., Fri., and Sat. at the Inn along with my daughter and her 2 & 4 year-old daughters and our very supportive “best” friends.
    THANK YOU for letting your family be our family for Thanksgiving!
    Jane, Sarah, Abigail, Amelia and Friends

  355. Sandy Conner December 1, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Zehnder,
    You are truly amazing. Just wanted to share a little tidbit about our visits to your wonderful lodge. We have been coming to the lodge for 4+ years, in 2006 the group we get together with had a loss in their family so they didn’t come to the lodge that year. However my mom was so looking forward to coming with my daughter and I for the Polish music festival, we didn’t cancel and still attended. My mom had a great time. Well, I know now it was meant to be because that was the last vacation my mom ever took. She passed away in November of 2006 and every year for the Polish music festival we come to the lodge and request the same room. What a great memory. I can tell you are loved by many as my mom was. I just wanted to thank you and your staff for making our visits memorable ones. And as they say in Polish, Sto Lat! (May you live a 100 years). God Bless!


  356. Sandy Kukalis December 1, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Happy & blessed birthday Mrs. Zehnder!

    I have so many wonderful memories coming to Frankenmuth and eating at the Bavarian Inn and Zehnders. My family now goes quite a bit and we stay at the Inn and really enjoy sharing time together. My kids are teenagers now and they always look foward to going! Thank you very much for all of your hard work and for keeping Christ first and foremost! Thank you for all of the delicious meals we have enjoyed and may God bless you on your very special birthday!

    Love in Christ~
    James & Sandra Kukalis and Family

  357. King's of Birchville Michigan December 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Dear Dorothy,

    Happy 88!

    I have eaten at your restaurant every year since My wife of 17 years and I began to date. The first year would have been 1990.
    We now have three children ranging in age from ten to 15 and we as a family continue to trek north every year and eat at the Bavarian Inn. We eat at the noon hour gaining strength and nutrition that we need to visit (as we have your restaurant every year since 1990,) Bronner’s world of Christmas. How sadly missed is Wally.
    I must confess though as I break tradition when I come to the Bavarian Inn. My family orders family style Chicken of course and I go for the German delicacies on your menu. I eat till full, never leave hungry. I miss your split top fold open bread dispensers. They fir neatly in my my memories of dinning experiences.
    Everyone of my children has sat in one of your toddler highchairs and I hope to be able to bring grandchildren as well when the time is right.

    Gog Bless You Dorothy and all whom you call family.

    The King Family of Birchville, Michigan

  358. Steve Gale and Family December 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    Congratulations! My family and I have enjoyed coming and eating Bavarian Inn for 25 years and we have never had a bad experience. We have had some of our best memories staying and dining there. She recently paseed away and before she died she said she would miss our trips there. I promised her i will keep brining our kids there because they love it. We will be there December 11th and 12th. I hope my kids will begin a new generation of love for the Bavarian Inn and bring their families when they get older. Thanks for the great memories.

    Sincerely, Steve Gale

  359. bavarianinn December 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Dorothy’s Birthday was a hit and so were the stories that everyone was so kind to post for her 88th birthday. With over 400 comments/stories we find that a very successful birthday present and she was delighted to have them all. Thank you all again for sharing your stories.

  360. Hotel Regensburg July 18, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    Interesting Info, thanks

    nice greetings from Regensburg


  1. The Bavarian Inn’s family jewel : News : WEYI NBC25 « Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth - November 19, 2009

    […] Dorothy turns 88 on December 1st.  if you have not already posted a memory, story or experience with Dorothy or the Bavarian Inn, please do so before November […]

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