Wilhelm Metzger and Friend at "The Oldest" German American restaurant, ca 1930


Wilhelm Metzger and Friend at "The Oldest" German  American restaurant, ca 1930

Wilhelm Metzger and Christian Kuhn had been in the U.S. for only a few years when they and Wilhelm's wife Marie rented the German American Restaurant from the Flautz family in 1928. The Metzgers, their two children, and Kuhn, a bachelor, lived on the floor above. Working from 6 a.m. to midnight, they served three meals a day, 364 days a year, closing only for Christmas.

In 1936, when the Flautzes returned from Germany, the Metzgers and Kuhn opened Metzger's German American Restaurant two blocks away at 203 East Washington. The "German American" was dropped as anti-German sentiment grew before World War II.

In 1946 Wilhelm Metzger's brother Fritz, who was operating the German Inn on West Huron, purchased the Old German Restaurant from Gottlob Schumacher. After 1950 Wilhelm's other brother Gottfried, who owned the Deluxe Bakery, supplied special dark pumpernickel bread to both Metzger's and the Old German.

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Metzger's


Metzger's

Sauerkraut, pig hocks, sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, spaetzle -and beer of course- were found in both Metzger's and the Old German restaurants. They served families as well as a range of diners, from factory workers with meal cards in the Depression 1930s to servicemen practicing their German in the 1940s. In the 1970s and 1980s the UM glee club regularly ate and sang at Metzger's after practice. By the 1960s, Wilhelm's son Walter and Fritz's son Bud were running two of the most popular restaurants in town, with lines to get in. The Old German closed in 1995. Metzger's moved to Scio township in 2000 and continued with the help of the fourth generation of Metzgers.

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German wood carving, 1938


German wood carving, 1938

German wood carving commissioned by Wilhelm in 1938 for Metzger's restaurant. "Gut Trinken und Essen tu nicht vergessen!"

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Metzger Restaurant interior, 1928


Metzger Restaurant interior, 1928

Wilhelm Metzger (seated) and partner Christian Kuhn, 1928

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Metzger Restaurant staff


Metzger Restaurant staff

Metzger family members and staff. Top row: Marie, third from left; Christian Kuhn, third from right. Bottom row: young Walter Metzger on left.

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Metzger's German Restaurant, 1976


Metzger's German Restaurant, 1976
Rights Held By: 
Ann Arbor District Library



Metzger's German Restaurant, 1976


Metzger's German Restaurant, 1976
Rights Held By: 
Ann Arbor District Library



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