World’s Best Fried Chicken Dinner Found in Michigan

Dorothy Zehnder is the matriarch of the Bavarian Inn Lodge complex in Frankenmuth, Michigan, a charming little community of German heritage on Highway 83 between Flint and Saginaw.

Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth Michigan

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

Dorothy Zender, Bavarian Inn

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

This 90-year-old, five foot tall fireball honed her cooking skills while growing up on a farm in this part of Michigan and making an early living with her husband by feeding the many lumbermen who worked in the area. Chickens would grow and fatten fast, so that became the basis of their restaurant that has now grown into a complex that includes lodging, dining, shopping and entertainment.

She told me that restaurants of the Bavarian Lodge are the largest consumers of Michigan products in the country.  Each day they will go through 100 pounds of potatoes for their cheesy potatoes and 36 bushels of Michigan apples for their fresh applesauce. Dorothy is in the kitchen each day supervising, tasting and making sure everything is just right.

Dorothy Zehnder Cookbooks

fried chicken dinner, bavarian inn

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

In celebration of her 90th birthday, she released a cookbook with her face on the cover and calls it “Come Cook With Me.”  It sells for $25.

It’s filled with recipes of all the goodies served at the Bavarian Inn, dishes that Dorothy has made for her family for years and years. You’ll find a great recipe for Cranberry Orange Relish on page 40 and an Apple-Pecan Cake on page 157 that would surely add some pizazz to your family gatherings.

fried chicken dinner, frankenmuth

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

But you won’t find anything that includes cottage cheese.  Dorothy doesn’t like cottage cheese, won’t serve in her restaurant and wouldn’t put it in her cookbook.

Who am I to argue with Dorothy Zehnder?


One thought on “World’s Best Fried Chicken Dinner Found in Michigan

  1. Sandy

    Happy Birthday, Dorothy, and many more.

    I have to agree with Dorothy. Fried chicken is a German dish. My grandmother made the best fried chicken every single Sunday, and her maiden name was Kohler–a German name by the way.

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