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Dorothy Zehnder Bio

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Dorothy Zehnder Wins MTLA Award

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Recent Press Releases

Bavarian Inn Co-Founder, Dorothy Zehnder, named to Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame 2020 Class

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – August 25, 2020 – The matriarch of the Bavarian Inn’s Zehnder family, Dorothy Zehnder, has been named a 2020 inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

The 98-year-young Zehnder is co-founder and co-owner of Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn and the many business operations under that name. A far-reaching enterprise, this includes Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Castle Shops, Covered Bridge Gift Shop, Frankenmuth River Place Shops, Frankenmuth Gift Shops Inc., Bavarian Inn Lodge and a specialty line of food products. At full employment, there are approximately 1,000 team members and more than 900,000 meals served annually.

Zehnder continues to work at the restaurant with no plans to retire. She and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder have 3 children, 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. Currently there are nine family members in leadership roles in various business operations.

The author of three cookbooks, Zehnder first published “Cookies & Bars,” a collection of desserts used at the Bavarian Inn and in her home. Then in 2011, she published “Come Cook with Me,” an 80-year collection of recipes, wisdom and stories from her life as the Bavarian Inn’s much beloved matriarch. With the success of these, she wrote another cookbook in 2014, “From My Kitchen to Yours,” featuring 195 handpicked family favorite recipes from her vast 1,000 plus personal collection.

During her 83 years in business, Zehnder has received numerous awards. Later this year she is being recognized with the Saginaw Chamber’s Lifetime Community Service Award.

“Our entire family is thrilled for Dorothy to be honored this way,” said daughter Judy Zehnder Keller. “As our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother she means so much to our family, to the entire Frankenmuth community and to everyone throughout the state of Michigan. It is a well-deserved recognition.”

Zehnder, along with five other new nominees, will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 15, in Lansing.  The other nominees include: Najah Bazzy, RN, an internationally recognized healer, humanitarian and interfaith leader and founder of Zaman International. Dr. Glenda Price, first African American president of Marygrove College and to serve as the national president of the American Society for Medical Technology. Martha Teichner a CBS Sunday Morning correspondent since 1993, earning multiple national awards including 10 Emmy Awards. Liz Jackson was a founding member and officer of the Trade Union Leadership Council, a nationally recognized organization credited with advancing black political development within the UAW. Ruth Westbrook was part of NASA’s Apollo 11 project, where she wrote a program for all the steps used to get a man to the moon and back and see how long it took in real time to be completed. Essentially, Ruth was one of the “Human Math Computers” depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures.”

Established in 1983, the Women’s Hall of Fame is located in downtown Lansing. Today the hall of fame, which includes 333 inductees, is organized and managed through Michigan Women Forward (MWF), an organization founded in 1986 to encourage women to play an active role in philanthropy and governance.

“Today’s strong women can learn so much by studying the paths of those who came before us,” said Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO, Michigan Women Forward.  “These amazing honorees have conquered so many obstacles and accomplished so much throughout their lives.  We are proud to salute them and want to be sure their stories are told.”

 

About Bavarian Inn Restaurant

Celebrating over 130 years of service, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products, striving to serve more Michigan-grown and produced foods and Michigan-produced beverages than any other restaurant. Nestled within the backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Bavarian Inn Restaurant online press room: http://bavarianinn.logos-communications.com/

Bavarian Inn Lodge

Nestled along the Cass River in Frankenmuth is one of the state’s largest indoor water park hotels. The Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, an adult-only pool and whirlpool, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants — all under one roof. The expansive 35,000 square foot Family Fun Center houses two thrilling water slides, three pools and two whirlpools, over 160 video and redemption games, a two-level children’s play village and Willy’s Kingdom indoor mini-golf course. Guests can also enjoy live, nightly entertainment year-round and test their own musical skills during weekend family karaoke shows. In over 30 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening, along with its top rating on TripAdvisor®.  Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Bavarian Inn Lodge online press room: https://bavarianinnlodge.logos-communications.com

Bavarian Inn Team Members Reach 70-Year Milestone

Dorothy Zehnder and Virgil Celebrate Seven Decades of Service

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Jan. 7, 2020  – The Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge are fixtures in the heart of the Frankenmuth community. Among the many men and women who work for this historic organization, there are also a number of “fixtures,” none more dedicated and long-running than Dorothy Zehnder and Virgil Diamond.

In 2020 Dorothy Zehnder, matriarch of the Bavarian Inn, and Virgil Diamond, a much-respected team member who has done nearly everything for the organization, are each celebrating 70 years of service to the Bavarian Inn and the community.

Dorothy is the true queen of the kitchen and has led the way since 1950. During her seven decades, she raised her family of three children, and now, at 98 years young, still works six days a week checking hundreds of details and mentoring many other team members.

Virgil started working at the former Fischer’s Hotel at age 15. He has done just about everything to help build the Bavarian Inn business during his years as a manager. He currently uses his talents at Frankenmuth River Place Shops with the maintenance and grounds team.

During this celebration year the entire Bavarian Inn team is thankful and excited to honor both Dorothy and Virgil and thank them for their years of dedication and loyalty.

“We consider ourselves lucky to work alongside such great examples of leadership and hard work,” said Amy Zehnder Grossi, general manager of the Restaurant. “What a blessing they have been to our family and our community.”

About Bavarian Inn Restaurant

Celebrating over 130 years of service, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products, striving to serve more Michigan-grown and produced foods and Michigan-produced beverages than any other restaurant. Nestled within the backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Fans Encouraged to Wish Bavarian Inn Restaurant Matriarch a Happy 97th Birthday

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Nov. 27, 2018 – Dorothy Zehnder has been providing visitors to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant with delicious, quality food for decades. Now, fans are encouraged to give back to her on her special day.

On Saturday, December 1, Dorothy will celebrate her 97th birthday. This year has been an exciting one for her, as 2018 marked both 130 years of service for the Bavarian Inn and 70 years of service for Dorothy herself.

Dorothy’s fans can send her birthday greetings by email: events@bavarianinn.com.

“Our mother views our guests as friends,” said Bill Zehnder, president of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. “She has been truly touched in the past by birthday greetings and well wishes, and I know she’ll appreciate them even more during this special year.”

About Bavarian Inn

Celebrating 130 years of service in 2018, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products, striving to serve more Michigan-grown and produced foods and Michigan-produced beverages than any other restaurant. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

As Matriarch of Bavarian Inn Restaurant Turns 96,
Fans are Invited to Send Online Greetings 

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Nov. 27, 2017—Every day is a special day. That’s what Dorothy Zehnder, the matriarch of a family who’s been feeding hungry visitors to Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for decades, would almost certainly say.

But Friday, December 1 will be “extra special” for Dorothy as she celebrates her 96th birthday.

Fans of Dorothy are invited to send her greetings by email: mailto:events@bavarianinn.com.

“We know first-hand how much our mother appreciates the connection with our guests,” said Bill Zehnder, president of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. “She really sees our many guests as friends and I know she’ll appreciate hearing from them on this special day.”

About Bavarian Inn

Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

95-year-old Bavarian Inn Matriarch Throws First Pitch at Detroit Tigers game

Pure Michigan night recognizes Dorothy Zehnders longstanding dedication to Michigans hospitality industry

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. June 13, 2017 – While serving delicious food to thousands of guests is her life calling, Dorothy Zehnder, the 95-year-young co-founder and matriarch of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, got to take on another role Tuesday night. Her family members, co-workers and fans alike cheered loudly as Dorothy took the mound at Comerica Park to toss the ceremonial first pitch as part of Pure Michigan Night before a game that featured the Detroit Tigers going up against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Dorothy, along with her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder, helped put Frankenmuth and Michigan on the map for thousands of visitors to the area, a key reason she was honored at the event.

Still working six days a week in the kitchen at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Dorothy often uses her “day off” to bake in her kitchen at home, something she is quick to say is one of the most enjoyable things she could possibly do.

“I refer myself as ‘retired working,’” says Dorothy of the lifestyle she continues to embrace.

As she got ready at Comerica Park, Dorothy said she could have never imagined being in the position to throw the first pitch.

“I have wonderful memories of attending Tigers’ games with family and friends in the past,” she said. “It was often an annual event, but who would have thought that I, at age 95, could be throwing out the first pitch? I am thrilled and extremely honored to be asked.”

About Bavarian Inn Restaurant
Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Dorothy Zehnder, Bavarian Inn matriarch, honored as a ‘Woman of Achievement’ by Great Lakes Bay YWCA

Company founder recognized for entrepreneurship

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – March 16, 2017 – Dorothy Zehnder, founder and managing director of the family-owned Bavarian Inn Restaurant and the nearby Bavarian Inn Lodge, received a 2017 Women of Achievement Award from the Great Lakes Bay YWCA at a special awards ceremony and dinner on March 15 at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw Township.

Zehnder was honored as an entrepreneur in recognition for her accomplishments as the driving force for one of Frankenmuth’s – and Michigan’s – most popular vacation destinations.

The purpose of the annual event, part of the YWCA’s mission of empowering women, is to honor leaders who have made outstanding contributions in business, community leadership, education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, or lifetime achievement.

Dorothy, who celebrated her 95th birthday last December, continues doing what she enjoys the most – working in the kitchen of one of the nation’s largest and most successful restaurants.

“I like working,” she says. “I like to cook, and I like people. What else is there that I would like better?”

Dorothy also helps oversee the family’s entire business operations, which, besides the restaurant and lodge, includes its “Curbside to Go” carry-out business, Castle Shops, Frankenmuth River Place Shops, Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop, Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, a specialty line of food products, and online merchandising.

She’s also the author of two cookbooks, “Come Cook with Me,” published in 2011, and the follow-up “From My Kitchen to Yours,” published in 2014.

Dorothy, who was born in nearby Reese, Michigan, founded the restaurant with her late husband, William “Tiny” Zehnder, having purchased the former Fischer’s Hotel in 1950. At that time, Dorothy, Tiny and their 12 employees served about 50 people a day. Today the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has 400 employees, serves thousands of people a day in 12 dining rooms and annually ranks among the country’s largest family-run restaurants.

Today Dorothy’s main mission is to oversee quality control in the kitchen – including making sure the mashed potatoes are whipped to perfection, and that the entrees, like the Bavarian Inn’s famous Frankenmuth Chicken®, meet her high standards before heading to the dining room.

 

About Bavarian Inn

Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Bavarian Inn online press room: http://www.logos-communications.com/bavarianinn/

 

Bavarian Inn Lodge

Nestled along the Cass River in one of Michigan’s top tourist destinations – Frankenmuth – is one of the state’s largest Indoor Water Park Hotels! The Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, an adult-only pool and whirlpool, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants – all under one roof. The expansive 35,000 square feet Family Fun Center houses two dramatic waterslides, three pools and two whirlpools, over 150 video and redemption games, a two-story children’s play village and Willy’s Kingdom indoor mini-golf course. Guests can also enjoy live, year-round, nightly entertainment and test their own musical skills during weekend family karaoke shows. In 30 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening, along with its top rating on TripAdvisor®. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Bavarian Inn Lodge online press room: http://bavarianinn.logos-communications.comlodge/

YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region focuses on the economic advancement of women in the Great Lakes Bay Region, encompassing Bay, Saginaw, Midland, and Isabella Counties.  Located in Bay City, Michigan, its community education program offers education and professional development opportunities to the public. The organization also operates the YWCA Women’s Resource Center which includes a full technology center and provides education, resume development, job searches, computer literacy skills, legal assistance referrals, financial literacy and other support services to assist women in becoming economically self-sufficient. Learn more at https://www.ywcaglbr.org .

Dorothy Zehnder, Bavarian Inn matriarch, celebrates 95th birthday December 1

dorothyandsugar

Six days a week, serving thousands of patrons, at one of Midwest’s top tourist destinations

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Nov. 28, 2016 – With no retirement plans in sight, Dorothy Zehnder, co-founder of the family-owned Bavarian Inn Restaurant will celebrate her 95th birthday on Thursday, December 1 doing what she enjoys the most – working in the kitchen of one of the nation’s largest and most successful independent restaurants.

“I like working,” she says. “I like to cook, and I like people. What else is there that I would like better?”

The petite and lively matriarch doesn’t look much like a modern CEO, but don’t be fooled. Over the years, Dorothy has been involved with all the family’s business operations, all located in Frankenmuth – Michigan’s Little Bavaria. In addition to the restaurant, they include Bavarian Inn Lodge, Castle Shops, River Place Shops, Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop, Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, a specialty line of food products, and online store.

She’s also the author of two cookbooks, “Come Cook with Me,” published in 2011, and the follow-up “From My Kitchen to Yours,” published in 2014. Both cookbooks are available for purchase at the online store at www.bavarianinn.com and are filled with stories about Dorothy, cooking, her family and the German-themed restaurant they created.

Dorothy, who was born in nearby Reese, Michigan, founded the restaurant with her late husband, William “Tiny” Zehnder, after Tiny’s family purchased the former Fischer’s Hotel in 1950. At that time, the Zehnders and their 12 employees served about 50 people a day. Today, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has 450 employees, serves thousands of people a day in 12 dining rooms and annually ranks among the country’s largest family-run restaurants. Dorothy’s children and their spouses, along with her grandchildren – a total of 9 family members – work alongside her every day to continue the success story of the Bavarian Inn.

Despite Michigan’s economic struggles over the years, the Bavarian Inn has held its own. While the restaurant and travel industries continue to experience challenges, the Bavarian Inn is remaining profitable.

Today, Dorothy’s main mission is to oversee quality control in the kitchen – making sure the mashed potatoes are whipped to perfection, and that the entrees, like the Bavarian Inn’s famous Frankenmuth® Chicken, meet her high standards before heading to the dining room.

How, Dorothy is often asked, does she manage to maintain such a healthy and active lifestyle in her mid-90’s?

“I tell them that I eat a lot of chicken,” she replies, laughing.

 

About Bavarian Inn

Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

Bavarian Inn online press room: http://bavarianinn.logos-communications.com/

 

Bavarian Inn Lodge

Nestled along the Cass River in one of Michigan’s top tourist destinations – Frankenmuth – is one of the state’s largest Indoor Water Park Hotels! The Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, an adult-only pool and whirlpool, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants — all under one roof. The expansive 35,000 square feet Family Fun Center houses two dramatic waterslides, three pools and two whirlpools, over 150 video and redemption games, a two-story children’s play village and Willy’s Kingdom indoor mini-golf course. Guests can also enjoy live, year-round, nightly entertainment and test their own musical skills during weekend family karaoke shows. In 30 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening, along with its top rating on TripAdvisor®. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

 

 

Turning 94, Dorothy Zehnder Might Be America’s Most Senior Hospitality Leader
Bavarian Inn Matriarch Still Oversees Bavarian Inn Operations

DorothyZehnderphoto

• Works nearly every day at Bavarian Inn Restaurant
• Still involved in the Frankenmuth community
• Works with nine other family members across the corporation

FRANKENMUTH, MI – Dec. 1, 2015 – Although there may be no official way to prove it, odds are that the Bavarian Inn’s beloved Dorothy Zehnder may be at least Michigan’s – if not the country’s – most senior hospitality leader. While many people her age have long since retired, Zehnder is still going strong, spearheading one of the nation’s largest independent restaurants and working in the kitchen of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant almost every day as she celebrates her 94th birthday on December 1.

With family and friends poised to celebrate the occasion, well wishers from anywhere can send their greetings this year via a special email address: events@bavarianinn.com.

As a teenager, Dorothy actually started working before World War II at what would become the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. A few years later, she and husband William “Tiny” Zehnder became restaurant managers when Tiny’s family bought the then Fischer Hotel and eventually changed it to the iconic Bavarian Inn. At a time when working outside the home was rare for women, Dorothy ran the Inn’s kitchen and developed the lunch and dinner menus still served today.

According to Dorothy, the Frankenmuth “all you care to eat family-style chicken dinners” originated at Fischer’s. Today’s Bavarian Inn chicken is a variation. Ever the perfectionist, Dorothy’s late husband Tiny began experimenting with the recipe, eventually changing from the original pan-fried hens to the lightly breaded, fried smaller birds that are served today. The success of Tiny’s experiment is evident in the nearly 350 tons of chicken served each year at the restaurant.

On a daily basis, Dorothy still oversees food preparation, ordering, quality control, cleanliness, production systems, developing new menu items, promotion and marketing with help from her children and grandchildren. Many area young people learned – and are still learning – from Dorothy at their first job. Her style of motivation is her own hard-work ethic, showing how and why every step needs to be done well, all the while underscoring the importance of family and of treating Frankenmuth visitors as guests.

Along the way, Dorothy has also found the time to author two books:

• “Come Cook With Me,” (2011), a collection of recipes, wisdom, photos and stories from her years at the helm of the Bavarian Inn.

• “From My Kitchen to Yours,” (2014), an intermingling of 195 hand-picked family-favorite recipes, kitchen tips and memories from both her family life and the restaurant.

When it comes to promoting her home state, its people, businesses and the tourism industry, Dorothy Zehnder heads a family long dedicated to helping both the local and state economies. Her achievements in the field of hospitality have helped launch Frankenmuth as a top Michigan tourist destination. Her support of inventive business and marketing techniques coupled with her strong mettle continue to inspire those who still have the opportunity to work with her.

About Bavarian Inn Restaurant
Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn. Learn more at www.bavarianinn.com.

 

 

Bavarian Inn Matriarch Still Stirs the Kettle As She Turns 93
Dorothy Zehnder Oversees Bavarian Inn Operations
 Works almost every day at Bavarian Inn Restaurant
• Released 2nd cookbook this year featuring 195 recipes
• Works with 9 other family members across corporation

Dorothy Zehnder photo

Frankenmuth, MI – Nov. 20, 2014 – While many people her age are coping with the limitations of their advancing years, Dorothy Zehnder is still going strong, working in the kitchen of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant almost every day as she celebrates her 93rd birthday, December 1.  Born and raised in Reese, Michigan, this dynamo is not only in charge of one of the nation’s largest independent restaurants, she also still oversees the family’s business operations with help from her children and grandchildren.

Dorothy began working as a young waitress at what was then Fischer’s Hotel in the 1940s.  Just a few years later in 1950, she and late husband Tiny Zehnder and his family bought the restaurant, changed its name and began as the new managers. In time, Dorothy developed the complete lunch and dinner menus the Bavarian Inn still serves today.  What is an average day like for Dorothy?  She says there’s nothing she doesn’t do:  food preparation, ordering, quality control, cleanliness, production systems, developing new menu items, promotion and marketing.

In addition, she authored a very personal tome in 2011, “Come Cook With Me,” a collection of recipes, wisdom, photos and stories from her years at the helm of the Bavarian Inn.  Earlier this year, she released a new book, “From My Kitchen to Yours,” that features 195 hand-picked family-favorite recipes from her vast 1,000-plus personal collection. This newest edition contains more recipes, kitchen tips and memories from both her family life and the restaurant.  Both publications were completed while she continued her daily duties at the restaurant.

According to Dorothy, the Frankenmuth “All you care to eat family-style chicken dinners” originated at Fischer’s Hotel. Today’s Bavarian Inn chicken is a variation of those early dinners. Ever the perfectionist, Dorothy’s late husband Tiny began experimenting with the recipe, eventually changing from the original pan-fried hens to the lightly breaded, fried smaller birds that are served today. The success of Tiny’s experiment is evidenced in the nearly 350 tons of chicken served each year at the restaurant.

Like its predecessor, “From My Kitchen to Yours” contains a number of Bavarian Inn signature recipes that have never been published before. Priced at $24.99, the cookbook is available at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Castle Shops, Bavarian Inn Lodge, online or by phone. Anyone interested in ordering “From My Kitchen to Yours,” can call 1-800-BAVARIA or 989-652-9941, extension 3332 or order online at http://onlinestore.bavarianinn.com/

Bavarian Inn’s ‘From My Kitchen to Yours’ Now Available

Matriarch Dorothy Zehnder to Personally Sign New Cookbook, Sept. 6 and 13

Frankenmuth, MI – Sept. 2, 2014 – In a much-anticipated reprise of her successful 2011 “Come Cook With Me” collection of recipes, wisdom, and stories comes Bavarian Inn 92-year-old matriarch Dorothy Zehnder’s newest tome, “From My Kitchen to Yours.”  Featuring 195 hand-picked, family-favorite recipes from her vast 1,000-plus personal collection, this 196-page edition features more recipes, kitchen tips and memories from both her home and the restaurant.

Like its predecessor, the newest publication contains a number of Bavarian Inn signature recipes that have not been revealed before. The cookbook is now on sale to the public, and can be purchased in person at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Bavarian Inn Lodge, ordered online or by phone. Dorothy will be on hand in person with food samples for a book signing on the lower level of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant from 2-3 p.m., Saturday, September 6 and 13.

Coincidentally, the book launch ties in perfectly with the restaurant’s annual celebration of September as National Chicken Month. In addition to picking up a copy of “From My Kitchen to Yours,” Bavarian Inn guests will also have the opportunity throughout the entire month to savor one of the more than 30 delicious chicken dishes, like the Chicken Breast Imperial and Cordon Bleu offered in its main dining room as well as several new offerings in its Michigan on Main Bar and Grill.

According to lore, the first Frankenmuth “All you can eat family-style chicken dinners” were first served at Fischer’s Hotel, the precursor of today’s Bavarian Inn. Today’s chicken is a variation of the dinners first served by Fischer’s. Ever the perfectionist, Dorothy’s late husband Tiny began experimenting with the recipe, eventually changing from the original pan-fried heavy hens to the lightly breaded, fried smaller birds served today. The success of Tiny’s experiment is evidenced in the nearly 350 tons of chicken served each year at the Restaurant.

Anyone interested in ordering “From My Kitchen to Yours,” can call 1-800-BAVARIA or 989-652-9941, extension 3332 or order online at http://onlinestore.bavarianinn.com.

Ready for seconds?
Bavarian Inn matriarch serving up new cookbook
Pre-orders being accepted for new title: “From My Kitchen to Yours”

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – August 4, 2014 – What’s cooking these days at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant? This new treat isn’t on the menu, but it comes directly from the Inn’s founder, Dorothy Zehnder, who has just published her newest cookbook, “From My Kitchen to Yours,” arriving at the Inn and online this September.

It’s a much-anticipated reprise. Dorothy’s cookbook, “Come Cook With Me,” was produced in 2011, and featured an 80-year collection of recipes, wisdom, and stories from her own kitchen and proved so popular that Dorothy is back at it again.

Now at age 92, Dorothy has again selected for “From My Kitchen to Yours” a new and tasty variety of 195 family-favorite recipes from her vast 1,000-plus personal collection. This newest 196-page edition features more stories, kitchen tips, recipes, stories from home and the restaurant, and memories from Dorothy’s family members, blending together this new tribute to family, friends, and food.

Like the previous edition, “From My Kitchen to Yours” contains several of the Bavarian Inn’s signature recipes that have not been revealed before in any publication.

Readers will also learn about Dorothy’s own recipe for success. Taking a word from her very own pages, Dorothy shares her begeistern (German for done with passion or enthusiasm). As she says, “That’s how I approach each new day at home or in the kitchen.”

Dorothy has been in the Bavarian Inn’s kitchen since day one – more than 60 years ago. And that’s where you’ll still find her six days and up to 60 hours a week.

Pre-orders for “From My Kitchen to Yours” are now being accepted. This cookbook sells for $24.99 regular price. Members of the Bavarian Inn Perks Club may pre-order the book at a special discount price of $19.99 now through August. To pre-order, call 1-800-BAVARIA or 989-652-9941, extension 3332, or pre-order online at http://onlinestore.bavarianinn.com. Interested in learning more about the Perks Club? Go to www.bavarianinn.com and click on the “Perks Club” tab.