Archive | Bavarian Inn Restaurant RSS feed for this section

2017 Bavarian Festival

1 Jun

Make plans to attend the 2017 Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival!

The finishing touches are in the works for the 2017 Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival, which will take place Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11, 2017. The festival, which is Michigan’s largest celebration of Bavarian heritage, has been a Frankenmuth tradition for over 50 years.

The event, created by William “Tiny” Zehnder and his wife Dorothy, started in 1959. The initial event was planned to celebrate the grand opening of the Bavarian addition of Fischer’s Hotel (now the Bavarian Inn Restaurant).

The first Bavarian Festival Parade in 1961 was attended by an estimated 10,000 people. Today, this festival in “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” has grown even bigger and was named one of the state’s “Top 5 Festivals” by AAA’s Michigan Living Magazine. This year continues the tradition with a new twist.

(Tiny & Dorothy Zehnder were the original Grand Marshals of the Bavarian Festival)

Visitors to this year’s festival will be greeted by a different format from years past, according to Frankenmuth Civic Events Council President Russ Uphold. “This year’s Bavarian Festival will be a ‘strassenfest,’ – a street festival, which will be taking place along Main Street near the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and the Zehnder Park. We expect to have three main stages, with a different form of entertainment at each venue, such as polka music, Top 40 tunes, and more,” Uphold said. He noted the new location will include a Sommergarten, where festivalgoers can feast on traditional German fare and enjoy a frosty beverage. Children’s activities will be nearby.

(Bill Zehnder drives a group of guests in the Folkswagen tour Trolley in 1968)

The festival will be held in downtown Frankenmuth, with the main tent in Zehnder Park hosting a number of traditional German entertainers. There will also be a “rock” tent behind Tiffany’s, which will feature the Sinclairs and Bromantics on Friday and Saturday night. But that’s not even scratching the surface of what visitors can enjoy. The festival will start off on Thursday with a Princess Coronation and Keg Tapping. On Friday, guests can take part in a Chicken BBQ and Maypole Raising Ceremony. There will also be Festival Olympics at 7 p.m.

(Tiny & Dorothy Zehnder along with friends at one of the early Bavarian Festivals)

The fun starts early on Saturday, with a pancake breakfast and Bloody Mary bar starting at 8 a.m. There will be events for all ages – from Kinder Platz kids’ activities, a children’s/kids parade at 10 a.m., an Instagram Scavenger Hunt, to a brat, snacks and beer meal! Click here to view the fesitval’s schedule of events.

(Matriarchs Dorothy Zehnder & Irene Bronner pose at a recent Bavarian Festival Parade)

Everything is wrapped up with the big Bavarian Festival parade on Sunday, June 11, with more than 100 marching units making their merry way along Main Street.

Sounds like fun? Mark your calendar and celebrate the heritage of Frankenmuth. Start planning your visit by making reservations at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and the Bavarian Inn Lodge because bookings fill up quickly as the festival dates grow nearer. Hope to see you here!


A Brief History of the Bratwurst

24 Nov

Any meat-lover will tell you that a well-made bratwurst is one of the best dishes out there. Born out of necessity and perfected over centuries of tradition, the delicious sausage we now affectionately call the “brat,” has a unique history that continues as a German restaurant and hotel staple to this day. Explore the unique history of this tasty creation below, and complete your experience by visiting an authentic German restaurant!



The Origin of the Word “Bratwurst”

A lot can be learned about bratwurst history through a study of the etymology, or origins, of the word “bratwurst” itself. Many etymologists trace the origins of “bratwurst” back to the Old High German word “Brat,” meaning without waste, and “wurst,” which means “sausage.”

And that’s exactly what bratwursts are: unwasteful sausages. A bratwurst is typically made using scraps of meat held together in a thin casing (originally made out of animal intestine). Centuries ago, bratwursts were a means of survival for many German people. During harsh winter months, not even the smallest scraps of meat could be wasted, so they were gathered, encased, and preserved into bratwurst sausages. The same the process continues in German restaurants to this day (though many sausage makers elect to use synthetic casing instead of intestine).

The Earliest Bratwurst

The exact origins of the bratwurst are still not entirely known, though most believe it to have originated in Germany several hundred years ago. It has been a long-standing argument between the people of Thüringen and the people of Franconia, two German regions, as to which region developed the bratwurst first. Recently, a hobby historian, Heinrich Hollerl, discovered a list of ingredients for Thuringian sausage over 600 years old. It is currently the oldest known recipe for German sausage. However, Hollerl’s discovery did not settle the debate. Hollerl himself believes that the bratwurst was originally invented by the Celts and was later introduced to the Franconians and Thuringians.

The Bratwurst Today

Today, the bratwurst is a popular food for people around the world. With several varieties and sizes developed over the centuries, it has been embraced throughout Europe, the United States (especially in Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Michigan), and several other countries. A delicious and ingenious creation, the bratwurst is still done best by those who first created it. When you’re feeling like eating a hearty handful of brat, be sure to stop by the closest traditional German restaurant or German hotel in your area.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Blaukraut

21 Nov

Now closely associated with German culture and cuisine, cabbage first came to Germany in the 1100s but doesn’t show up in print until the 1500s. Since it’s early days, we’ve learned that red cabbage is a nearly perfect food—low in calories, high in riboflavin, fiber, and vitamin c—and it tastes great raw or cooked. It is also credited with anti-inflammatory properties and is still used as a poultice.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage

One the most widely eaten cabbage dishes, blaukraut is nearly ubiquitous in restaurants and homes across Germany. Also known as Rotkraut or Rotkohl, depending on the region of Germany, this dish goes back generations with each family having their own family recipe.

German hotels and German restaurants now serve it as a popular side dish with pork, sausage or beef rouladen. The seasoning may change slightly, with ingredients being added or taken out depending on the region and the cook.

Each recipe starts with red cabbage, which is also known as blue cabbage in some parts of Germany because the color can change depending on the pH levels of the soil it’s grown in. Other ingredients can include apples, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, onions, fruit jams, caraway seeds, garlic, wine, raisins, and any number of spices.

With sweet apples and tangy vinegar as a constant in almost all recipes, a balanced flavor is the goal. The balance between sweet and sour is not easily accomplished and those who succeed are very proud of their product.

German restaurants aren’t the only place this dish is revered—German families adds it to the bill of fare for festive occasion as well as everyday meals.

Perhaps the best part of this culinary wonder is its longevity. It tastes better a day or two after it is cooked making it the best leftover in the house. Many times a jar of Blaukraut is taken along for a filling snack or a quick lunch.

Blaukraut is not just a dish of cabbage; it is a source of national pride that is as pretty to look at as it is to devour.


Frankenmuth River Place Shops to host Dog Bowl 2016

14 May


The Dog Bowl at the Frankenmuth River Place Shops will take place on May 28th and 29th, 2016 and include a number of exciting events like dock diving and disc competitions, a costume contest and obstacle courses! 

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, there’s now a mobile app that translates what your dog says into English. The following monologue (or “dogologue,” if you will) was provided by Gracie, my Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen:

I’ve been trying to tell you for a couple of years now that I want to try out for the Olympics! I’m young. I have enormous energy, as you keep telling me. There isn’t a squirrel in the neighborhood that isn’t terrified of me! (They run away from me, don’t they?)

Well, I heard about an amazing event called the Dog Bowl at the end of May! It is held at the River Place Shops in Frankenmuth, and it’s supposed to be the world’s largest dog Olympics! We really have to go! It happens on Memorial Day weekend. Oh, can we? Please? [Gracie was jumping up and down at this point.]

While you were out running, I went on YouTube and found the channel for the Bavarian Inn Lodge, one of Michigan’s top rated family hotels. There was a video of the Dog Bowl at the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, and in it were all these dogs having fun running, doing tricks, and chasing flying discs up in the air! There were big dogs, little—dare I say yappie—dogs, and dogs that look like frankfurters, and they were all having so much fun! There were dogs jumping into a pool after a toy; I think it was called a DockDog Competition. There were also dogs jumping obstacles and dogs in costumes, some of them even matching their humans!  LOL, imagine that!

Although I’m a very special breed, that doesn’t matter! You just have to be a dog! And I’m a dog, even though I’m special.

I almost forgot to tell you; there were balloons there at the same time—big hot air balloons! I would want to go in one so I can look down on everyone! They were racing balloons, and they race in packs, just like dogs do. The humans high up in the balloons must have a lot of wind in their faces, just like when I stick my head out the car window. At night, the balloons parked right by the Frankenmuth River Place Shops and just glowed in the night sky. How cool is that?

Oh, I’m so excited! Please take me to Dog Bowl, please! Please! Please! I can’t think of anything I’d rather—uh oh, there’s a squirrel!

This is Gracie’s person again. You can find out more about what Gracie was barking about by going to You’ll find details about the event, photos from past years, and a link to the little movies Gracie mentioned on YouTube. You can go for the day and bring your dog along, but I’d recommend staying the whole weekend. In 2016, the event will be held May 28th and 29th. Look into one of the best family hotels, the Bavarian Inn Lodge, and book a room (sorry, pets not allowed overnight).  I’d tell you how to get the dog-to-human translation app, but Gracie took my phone in her mouth when she went after that squirrel.

For more information on this event, visit the website at, contact us at 1-800-600-0105, or visit the River Place Shops at 925 South Main Street D-2, Frankenmuth, MI, 48734.


Jedi Experience

16 Dec



Fall Harvest Wine Dinner

23 Sep



Superhero Academy!

20 Aug