Dorothy Zehnder is the co-founder and co-owner of the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn, one of the top independent restaurants in the country. She manages the many businesses that are part of the Bavarian Inn Corporation umbrella including the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Castle Shops, Bavarian Inn Lodge, Frankenmuth Gift Shops Inc., Frankenmuth River Place Shops, and a specialty line of food products. She is also the author of 3 popular cookbooks including “Cookies and Bars” (1986), the most popular desserts served at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Dorothy’s home compiled for easy use, “Come Cook with Me” (2011), an 80-year collection of recipes, wisdom and stories from her life as Bavarian Inn’s much beloved matriarch, and “From My Kitchen to Yours” (2014) which features 195 hand-picked, family-favorite recipes from her 1,000-plus personal collection.
Dorothy received the 2013 Outstanding Achievement in Michigan Tourism award from the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association (MLTA) which recognizes someone who, “Serves to promote, protect and grow Michigan tourism to the benefit of all industry segments and our state’s economy.” She is a long-time Ambassador for the Convention and Visitor Bureaus of Frankenmuth, Saginaw County and State of Michigan. In 1973, Dorothy and late husband Tiny established the William and Dorothy Zehnder Foundation, which continues to provide a wide range of grants within the region. Together, they have provided seed money and property for major nonprofit and public projects for the City of Frankenmuth. In 2013, Dorothy Zehnder was chosen by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Greater Detroit Chapter for one of its Top 10 Michigan Businesswomen Awards called the Pinnacle Award – a distinction granted to a successful woman business owner who has owned one or more businesses for 25 years or more.