The New Restaurant on Zeeb Road
Our beautiful Metzger’s Restaurant at Christmas. This was taken at our 85th Anniversary party evening.
John had an idea in 2000. With urging from former customers, friends, and others, he wanted to re-open the restaurant. At the time, John’s sister, Heidi Metzger worked in Ann Arbor and had little formal involvement in her family’s restaurant. Yet when her son Mitchell, was six, she decided to take a leave of absence to spend more time with him. When her brother John, asked for her help in designing a strategy for reopening the family restaurant, she was reluctant but accepted and looking back it was one of the most rewarding experiences of her career. “ Heidi assisted in developing the startup plan, helped select and manage the contractors, hiring staff, and getting the place built, for that I am very grateful” John Metzger.
The new restaurant opened in June 2001 with great success. Then in September 2001, Metzger’s business was affected by the 911 attacks, as were many local and businesses in the country. People were just not going out to dinner as much – they were very reserved and cautious. Then on top of that, that Fall, the Zeeb Road overpass was closed for a total re-build. But Metzger’s survived due to it’s loyal customers.
The success of the new location can be contributed not only to John’s hard work but the tremendous help from new and former staff and of course his loving family. Betsey Hartwell has been with Metzger’s for over 36 years is currently the operations manager. Long-time employee Charlie Clayton, night kitchen manager for returned to provide good food and atmosphere to dedicated customers and is now approaching his 30th year with us. Amy Amy returned and has been with Metzger’s for over 20 years and is now the dining room manager. Charlie Moore, who worked at the Old German for fifteen years has since retired, but served as a lead cook prepared our wonderful spatzen and famous German potato salad.
After re-opening on Zeeb Road, Walter and Ruth Metzger still came in frequently to dine and were so proud of John, Ryan, Heidi, and the staff with the new restaurant. Walter’s favorite foods were of course the German dishes, but he also enjoyed the fresh seafood, steaks, and the chicken entrées. Ruth Metzger passed away in 2010. After her passing, Walter frequented the restaurant more, sharing stories, making new friends, and continuing the tradition of a true family business. Walter passed away in 2014 but restaurant lives on in John, Ryan, and the exceptional staff.
Although the exterior of Metzger’s German Restaurant has changed, the interior maintains the atmosphere of old Germany. Cuckoo clocks and massive bier steins surround patrons. Traditional German carvings and antiques line ornate shelves on the walls. Most of the items were acquired by members of the Metzger’s family, while others were gifts from loyal customers. Plaques of German city crests adorn the perimeter. Even the walls bear history. There you can see timeworn pictures of Wilhelm, Marie and Christian, the previous locations, and the employees who served there.
2013 Staff at Metzger’s. Getting ready for the 85th Anniversary celebration. 85% off dinner!
For four generations and almost 90 years, the Metzger family has kept the tradition alive, serving German food as well as American fare to Ann Arbor customers. When you dine at Metzger’s, you are participating in a piece of Ann Arbor History.
“ We are very proud to have had our business for almost 90 years in Ann Arbor, and we thank the community for the support that it has given us over all these years,” John Metzger.