Long an icon in the fabric of Ann Arbor, Metzger’s Restaurant has been serving traditional German fare for 87 years. And the Metzger family’s first home in the city was located on the site where The Mark Condominiums are poised to rise.
Over a scrumptious lunch of sauerbraten and spatzen, John Metzger graciously shared family photos and told me how it all began.
In 1923, John’s grandfather Wilhelm emigrated to Ann Arbor with his wife Marie and young son Hans. The family settled in a home at 318 West Liberty which was built in 1905. There, they not only lived but also rented rooms.
Marie cooked and cleaned for her family and the boarders while Wilhelm worked at a local bakery. Their second son Walter was born in their home in 1926.
Two years later, Wilhelm and Marie opened their own business – Metzger’s German Restaurant – at 122 West Washington, and they moved their family to space above the restaurant.
The home at 318 West Liberty was razed sometime before 1966 when a car wash was built on the site. By then, Wilhelm and Marie’s son Walter and his wife Ruth were running the restaurant and raising a family of their own.
Walter and Ruth’s son John took over in 1985 and moved the business to its current location at 305. N. Zeeb Road in 2000.
In 1996, the original owner of the car wash sold it to Charlie Foster who ran The Liberty Car Wash until it closed on December 31, 2014.
Now, construction on The Mark Condominiums will soon begin.
The site of Wilhelm and Marie Metzger’s first home in America has changed, and it’s about to change again. But the restaurant they started remains a much loved dining tradition in Ann Arbor that we recommend highly!
And if you want to know more about The Mark, give me a call!
- Betsy de Parry, VP, Marketing and Sales, (734) 216-5872