Fall Color Tour | Zehnder's of Frankenmuth

Fall Color Tour

By Chef John Zehnder, CEC, ACE, HGT, AAC

A ride up north in the fall to marvel at Mother Nature’s grand display of colors is tradition for many Michigan families, topped off with stops in Frankenmuth for chicken dinners at Zehnder’s. Folks often ask us what days of the year are the busiest here at the restaurant and are surprised when we tell them it’s usually the first three weekends in October.

The cool brisk autumn air and beautiful colors just seem to draw families; mom, dad, the kids, and grandparents; to Frankenmuth. If you’ve come in the past and had to stand in long lines, the expansion of our Main Dining Room a few years back has made long lines and waiting times of the past much shorter.
When I think of the fall color tour season I’m often reminded of stories my father used to tell of a famous Michigan family that regularly came to Zehnder’s as part of their fall Sunday ritual. Every October the Henry Ford family came, driving a big fancy open air Ford touring car with all the kids and relatives. This created quite a stir in the restaurant! After all, Henry Ford was in his time, the equivalent of having the Bill Gates family show up for dinner today. Everyone knew who Henry was and my grandmother would change into her “fancy apron” to go out into the dining room and greet the Ford family.

No sooner would the Ford family arrive than the Zehnder kids, all eight of them, would run out to the parking lot and gawk at the big fancy car, often standing on the running boards and peeking inside. My father, with a chuckle and grin, would tell us how his upset mother would come out of the restaurant waving her hands in the air ordering the kids to get away from the car. Once Grandma went back inside, the kids would sneak back and look some more.

Fall is a great time to visit Zehnder’s Foodstore. We feature many unique autumn inspired bakery products. The smell of cinnamon, pumpkin pie and apples fills the air! And…that family style chicken dinner tastes especially good after a day of viewing Mother Nature’s painted landscape.

Make Zehnder’s part of your autumn tradition. We promise that we won’t let the current generation of Zehnder kids gawk and peek into your car.


Be sure to subscribe to Zehnder’s blog for updates, future contests and more fun!