Despite what its name may imply, Oktoberfest actually starts on Sept. 22 this year, so to celebrate, we thought we'd show you a place where you can get some authentic German food, and of course plenty of beer. This week we Dine in the D at Metzger, a restaurant that has been around since 1928 and run by the same family the entire time.
"My grandfather came over in 1922," explained John Metzger, the current owner. "He came by himself and started working in a local bakery in Ann Arbor. A couple lost their lease, or wanted to move back to Germany, so my grandfather and his wife Marie and his partner ... started a restaurant on the corner of West Washington and Ashley in 1928."
Over the years the business moved a couple of times, with its current location being on Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor, but it is still very much a family affair.
"My family all worked here, my parents both worked here, my sisters all worked here, and my kids worked here, my nieces and nephews all worked here, so it's a family business. My nephew is the chef in the kitchen now, Ryan, he's the fourth generation," said Metzger.
Not only are the owners the same, but many of the customers are as well.
"I was born in Germany," said 97-year-old Reinhard Wittke. "So there was a natural gravitation to a German restaurant. So I went there in '39, and I've kept coming here ever since."
"It's the last vestige of real German food in Ann Arbor, now the Ann Arbor area, so it is a wonderful step back into the past, as well as excellent food," said Bill Bond, a longtime customer.
The restaurant is decked out in lots of items from Germany, including over 200 steins, and 22 cuckoo clocks.
"Over the years we just collected them," explained Metzger. "Customers bring in things too, they want people to enjoy them."
Their food is German as well. Many of the recipes came from Metzger's family, who are from Swabia in southern Germany. Their signature dish is the sauerbraten, a beef roast that has been marinated in a vinegar mixture for 4 days before being slow roasted in the oven and topped with a sour cream gravy. It is a very savory meal with some tang to it. Other favorites include their rouladen and schnitzel.
Metzger's is located at 305 North Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor.
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