There’s more to Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” than fried chicken and Christmas ornaments – check out these spots offering up good eats, shop-worthy goods and lots of local charm!
BY JAISHREE DREPAUL-BRUDER
Where to eat in Frankenmuth
PROST! WINE BAR & CHARCUTERIE
If the thought of meats that are cured, smoked, and then shaved makes your mouth water, then head to Prost. This more-recent addition to Frankenmuth’s downtown area is family-owned and proudly eco-friendly: In fact, they won the 2018 Keggy Awards “People’s Choice Award,” which recognizes exceptional and sustainable wine-on-tap programs across the country. 576 ½ S. Main St. prostfrankenmuth.com
Since 1862, Michigan’s oldest micro-brewery has been quenching visitors’ thirst with award-winning beers and ales. With a rotating draft lineup of 36 different styles of craft beers onsite — and a “craft-centric menu” of complementary foods — there’s something for everyone. Bonus: The Cass River views are pretty sweet, too. 425 S. Main St. frankenmuthbrewery.com
THE STATION 100
Authentic, handcrafted European fare and impeccable service await at this upscale, family-run spot, which is set in a former train station and recently underwent a renovation. The wine list is extensive, too, thanks to sommelier Elia Brunner, who’s worked in fine-dining restaurants from Chicago to Switzerland and Tanzania. 100 S. Main St. thestation100.com
ZEHNDER’S OF FRANKENMUTH AND THE BAVARIAN INN RESTAURANT
Nothing is more synonymous with Frankenmuth than chicken dinners, and both Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant — located directly across the street from each other — are longstanding local legends, serving up family-style chicken suppers replete with classic German sides. So legendary, in fact, that Zehnder’s won the “America’s Classics” award from the James Beard Foundation last year. Themed rooms and servers in traditional Bavarian garb complete the scene. Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, 730 S. Main St.; the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, 713 S. Main St.
SugarHigh Bakery serves up a scrumptious selection of cupcakes, gelato, and cakes. Adorned with whimsical decor, this little shop is owned by a husband-wife team who really know their stuff — they won The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2012. 925 S. Main St.
HONEY B’S EATERY
Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast at this local treasure, where dishes made from high-quality, farm-fresh ingredients will make you smile regardless of what side of the bed you woke up on. The coconut pancakes — topped with toasted coconut, fresh strawberries, and coconut icing on the side — do not disappoint.525 S. Main St. honeybseatery.com
JAAMI’S ICE CREAM AND TREATS
Many will argue that you really haven’t had a complete Frankenmuth experience until you’ve jockeyed for position on a street bench after a visit to the city’s original ice cream parlor, which offers more than 40 heavenly flavors. 592 Cass St. frankenmuthicecream.com
TIFFANY’S FOODS & SPIRITS
Built in 1926, the charming building that houses Tiffany’s Foods & Spirits was once the popular Hotel Goetz on Frankenmuth’s main drag. Today, Tiffany’s is home to the original pasta pizza — for those not in the know, it’s a hand-tossed pizza crust loaded with your choice of pasta, from tortellini marinara to — if you’re feeling really brave — lasagna. 656 Main St.
Things to do in Frankenmuth
GRANDPA TINY’S FARM
Whether you’re young or old, this working historical/pet-ting farm is sure to delight. The wide-open space, wagon rides and friendly staff makes this a good spot for tired parents and energetic kids of the two-legged variety. Personal guided tours are included with admission and there are special events held all throughout the year. 7775 Weiss St. grandpatinysfarm.com
THE NEW FRANKENMUTH CARRIAGE COMPANY
Nothing says romance like a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow. Wow your sweetie with a 30-minute ride through the city’s downtown area, the covered bridge and River Place, a Bavarian-themed mall with 40-plus shops. You can find the carriages stationed on the south side of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant under the Glockenspiel clock tower. (810) 667-2721
FRANKENMUTH AERIAL PARK
At Frankenmuth Aerial Park, adventure seekers of all skill levels are invited to zipline through the tree canopy and challenge themselves on a breathtaking aerial obstacle course. (Note: The course is open May through October.) You’ll leave invigorated and feeling like a superhero.1375 Weiss St.
FRANKENMUTH FUN SHIPS TASTINGS AND TOURS
Frankenmuth Fun Ships Tastings and Tours are an entertaining and unique way to experience the splendor of the Cass River. The company offers trips and chocolate tastings on their electric tour boat during most of the year, and wine and chocolate tastings are offered year round in their store, where their yummy confections are handmade on site. 445 S. Main St.Shop
FRANKENMUTH DOG BOWL
Each year, Frankenmuth is home to the world’s largest olympic-style festival for dogs! Memorial weekend brings thousands of dogs to the River Side Marketplace and Shops to compete in Dock Dog and Disc Dog competitions, dog breed shows, pet parades and costume contests and much more! This is definitely a bucket-list event for all of the dog lovers in Michigan. dogbowlfun.com
BALLOONS OVER BAVARIAN INN
In conjunction with Frankenmuth’s Dog Bowl on Memorial weekend, you can witness beautiful morning and evening flights by more than 25 hot air balloons over Frankenmuth during Balloons Over Bavarian Inn! Nightly balloon glows take place in the grassy field near River Place Shops. frankenmuth.org/events/balloons-over-bavarian-inn/
Where to Shop in Frankemuth
BRONNER’S CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND
Christmas takes place 365 days a year at the world’s largest Christmas store, which spans 96,000 square feet — that’s more than five football fields! — of ornaments (choose from more than 6,000 styles), nativity scenes, clothing, holiday accessories, and more. In addition to the 76-year-old store, Bronner’s Christmas Lane, a setup of more than 100,000 lights that illuminate a half-mile stretch from dusk until midnight every evening, is worth checking out. 25 Christmas Lane. bronners.com
FRANKENMUTH RIVER PLACE SHOPS
This European-style shopping area has more than 40 cool shops and attractions including restaurants, a toy shop, a black-smith, and more. Now celebrating 20 years, the easily walkable center is a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs, grab a nibble and people watch. 925 S. Main St. frankenmuthriverplace.com
RAU’S COUNTRY STORE, INC.
Go back in time at Frankenmuth’s oldest and largest candy store, which specializes in nostalgic sweets from black taffy chews to clove candy sticks and more. You’ll also find unique gifts, novelty socks, quilling cards, and more. 656 S. Main St. rauscountrystore.com
FRANKENMUTH CHEESE HAUS
There’s no way that you could miss this bright yellow building, or the lineup of eager people outside waiting to take a photo with the “Klaus the Cheese Haus Mouse” statue. Once inside you’ll be blown away by an array of domestic and imported specialty cheeses and condiments. The homemade cheese spreads — which come in flavors like bacon, jalapeno, and garlic — will be surefire crowd pleasers at your next holiday party. 545 S. Main St. frankenmuthcheesehaus.com
The Funky Skunk boasts a collection of authentic, imported Irish knitwear and accessories for men, women, and children. The store also has bragging rights for carrying the most Guinness-related merchandise in Michigan. Need a copy of 18 of the most popular Irish drinking songs? You’ll find it here. 925 S. Main St. b1
FRANKENMUTH CLOCK COMPANY
For 35 years, the Frankenmuth Clock Company has been offering authentic, handcrafted German items. Think Black Forest cuckoo clocks, wall and mantel clocks, miniature clocks, novelty cuckoo clocks, music boxes, and more. 720 S. Main St.
For more information about planning your visit to Frankenmuth, visit frankenmuth.org.
Where are your favorite places to eat, drink, and shop in Frankenmuth? Comment below so we can include them in future articles!