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How Dorothy Zehnder, now turning 100, became the face of Frankenmuth

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Frankenmuth — One of the first things Dorothy Zehnder does when she comes into work in the morning is check to see how many customers are expected to dine at her Bavarian Inn restaurant that day. 

It’s the nearly 100-year-old restaurateur’s connection with people that make her such a venerable figure not only in the industry that she’s been a part of since she was 16 years old, but statewide as a name and personality that is synonymous with Frankenmuth, fried chicken dinners and German-American homestyle cooking. 

Dorothy Zehnder, matriarch of the Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth, waves to friends passing by as she is turning 100 years old this December as she has spent 84 years in the restaurant industry.

Zehnder, a great-grandmother of 21 who will celebrate her milestone birthday Dec. 1, inspects the food almost daily at the restaurant, assuring the quality of salads, chicken and pies are all up to par. She can recite the recipe for the industrial-sized amounts of dressing made each day, starting with 40 pounds of bread. She knows the farm where Bavarian Inn gets its roasted squash each year and can tell you that this year’s crop didn’t yield as much as last year; they’ll be out by Christmas. 

Read More: How Dorothy Zehnder, now turning 100, became the face of Frankenmuth

2021-11-18 04:03:03

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