How could it be that I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for three years and have never tried Metzger’s German Restaurant? I like meats in casing, I like beer, and I love exotic European cultures. Plus, I drive by nearly every weekend on my way to Pinckney State Recreation Area. Well, I finally stopped and I fully endorse Metzger’s as one of Ann Arbor’s finest.
Metzger’s is in a strip mall, and more or less looks like a Big Boy from the outside. But inside it’s unmistakably German; what my wife described as, “cozy with clutter but also immaculate.” The walls are lined with beer steins, cuckoo clocks, and family seals. There’s dark wood trim and not much light. Best of all, the patrons are mostly old German folks who will watch and whisper if you dare attempt to drink das boot.
Ah yes, das boot. 80 ounces of Franziskaner Weissbier topped off with two small lemon wedges (for health, I guess). Das boot was nearly as big as my head (photo), and there is a distinct sense that, by ordering das boot, you’ve unwittingly signed up for some sort of competition. Germans are so odd – how can such reserved, neat, polite people be such overindulgent booze hounds?
Rather than order a full meal I selected a hodgepodge of mettwurst, bratwurst, saurkraut, potato pancakes, and soup. The food was, well, German. Simple, tasty, and utilitarian – purposeful in it’s ability to soak up beer.
Metzger’s menu describes their 75-year history, and touches on the same Michigan-German tradition that created Ann Arbor’s German Park: Despite the political turmoil of the first have of the 20th century, a dedicated, resilient German immigrant population carved out a niche in southeast Michigan and has been thriving ever since.
Who knew there were so many Germans in Ann Arbor, enough to support the German Park Picnic, the Heidelberg, and Metzger’s? Who knew Germans liked to party so hard? I’ve been to the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, and the real Germany has nothing on Michigan’s version. Cheers (if you can lift das boot).