There is no question that when people come to the town of Frankenmuth, they know they can expect World Famous Chicken. But why is that? And why is it Chicken?  William “Tiny” Zehnder gave us the facts and his recollections of this long-standing tradition in his biographical book called “Room at the Inn” before he passed away in 2006.  The Bavarian Inn Restaurant’s mainstay has always been “Frankenmuth® Chicken Dinners”.  

The Fischer family is credited with serving the first family style chicken dinners in Frankenmuth after opening the Union House in 1888 (later called Fischer’s Hotel).  Tiny’s family wanted to bring this “chicken delicacy” to guests who could enjoy it any day that they pleased and serve all the food in large platters and dishes – Family Style.  Family Style servings came from the history of women serving the field workers (small farms were a mainstay of local living) with large platters of food on big tables that workers would pass and share among themselves. Moreover, Tiny was a part of a large family, and it was just easier for mom to serve the food on platters. 

For many years, the price of chicken was much more expensive than any other meat (beef, pork, veal) before the mass production seen in today’s world.  Typically, chicken was generally reserved for Sunday dinners or for very special occasions.  It became a tradition for visitors to come to Frankenmuth on Sundays to enjoy a family style chicken dinner. 

The variety of chicken and the cooking methods changed greatly over the years under the discerning eyes and tastebuds of our two co-founders, Dorothy and Tiny.  Dorothy reworked her recipes to produce the incredible flavors of each dish plus other entrees, and Tiny developed a special seasoning, which brought out the flavor of the birds – you’re invited to check out our chicken seasoning for purchase in the Bavarian Inn Castle Bakery or online! 

Frankenmuth® Chicken is the best in the world, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of guests who flock to the Bavarian Inn each year, who return again with family and friends!  In order to provide our guests with a consistent, delicious entrée, our chicken cooking process is quite unique following a strict system.  Our chicken is never frozen and arrives fresh to Bavarian Inn from chicken operations in the southern United States. The chicken is then steamed, with the flavorful stock created from this daily process being used as a key ingredient for our soup, gravy, and even sauerkraut. The chicken is cooled rapidly in a quick chill cooler, and expertly cut. The pieces are then coated in our secret recipe of a homemade egg wash, flour, cracker meal and seasoning. The final step happens continually when chicken spends only three minutes in the fryer, making it hot and crispy, but still tender on the inside for each order!  

We invite you to our table, to enjoy your own serving of Bavarian Inn’s World Famous Chicken Dinner and other delicious choices. We look forward to our family serving your family soon!

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