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Scio, a small community in southeast Michigan, is home to Metzger’s German Restaurant. Wilhelm and Marie Metzger, and business partner Christian Kuhn opened Metzger’s in 1928. Originally from Germany, the Metzgers and Kukn went through a lot to live the American dream.
Metzger’s father was a baker in Germany, and after earning an Iron Cross in WWI, Wilhelm went on to follow in his footsteps. Wilhelm gained the title, “master baker,” and shortly after, married Marie. Kuhn was also born in Germany and served in WWI. He was even captured by the Canadian Army and held prisoner until the end of the war. Germany’s economy took a big hit after the war and it became very difficult to make a living. So, Kuhn and Metzgers decided to move to America.
Kuhn and the Metzger’s contacted German baker, Sam Heusel, who was already established in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Heusel agreed to sponsor their move. Wilhelm and Kuhn arrived in Michigan in 1922; unfortunately, because of immigration quotas, Marie and newborn son, Hans remained in Germany for another fifteen months. Once together in Michigan, Wilhelm and Marie ran a boarding house, while Wilhelm worked for Heusel. Wilhelm also baked for the University of Michigan. In 1926, the Metzgers second son, Walter, was born. That same year, family friends, the Flautz’s, decided to move back to Germany. When the Flautz’s moved, they leased their restaurant to Kuhn and the Metzgers. Two years later, The German American Restaurant opened its doors.
In 1936, the Flautz’s returned and the restaurant was moved. It was then that they renamed the restaurant Metzger’s German Restaurant. During WWII, the restaurant was ostracized by the community because of their German heritage. A reporter even did a story to clear the restaurant of being a front for anti-American activities. You can still read a letter displayed in the restaurant, that Wilhelm wrote to the community in defense of his family. Wilhelm and Kahn retired in 1959, and passed down their shares to Walter Metzger, and Kahn’s nephew, Fritz Kienzel. Walter would later buy out Kienzel and for a while, he and his son, John were partners. John soon took over the restaurant and in 1991, he did an extensive restoration. This restoration got the restaurant, the Ann Arbor Historic Restoration Award and the building recognized as a historical landmark.
Hard times caused the restaurant to shut down in 1999, but John, his siblings and new partner, Joe Neely, worked hard to reopen in Scio, in 2000. They family bought out Neely in 2004, and still run the restaurant today. In fact, fourth generation Ryan Dunkelberger is Head Chef and kitchen manager. Hopefully, business will continue to thrive and the fifth generation of Metzger’s will get to be a part of their great, great, great, grandfather’s legacy.
The Metzger’s could tutor us all in living the American Dream. Scio tutors want to help every student live their dreams. If your child needs help in school, a Scio tutor might be the answer.
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