If you’ve never been to Frankenmuth, Michigan, it’s definitely a town to add to your list of travels! It’s such a cute little city with German roots. We love Frankenmuth’s Bavarian-style architecture, style, and so many fun shops. But really, we make a trip just because of the deliciously inspired German food, atmosphere, and delicious family-style dining at one of our favorite restaurants.
Our time in Frankenmuth is also what helped to inspire this Bavarian Octoberfest Knockwurst Sandwich recipe!
Well, I also have a bit of a sentimental attachment to the place. In fact, it’s where hubby asked me to marry him.
Look for the fun details of our engagement story below.
With all that said, we have a real love of German food. One of our favorite German recipes is a Knockwurst Sandwich. This German sausage and sauerkraut sandwich if full of flavor in every bite.
Chances are you’ve never heard of it, but it makes for great Oktoberfest or tailgate food.
Autumn makes us think about eating German food – from this knockwurst sandwich to beer simmer brats and more – and I’m not even sure why! Octoberfest may just be the culprit, but either way, I’m so on board with it.
We wanted to share our Knockwurst Sandwich recipe with you. And since our love of German food stems from our romantic time in Frankenmuth, I wanted to share a list of our favorite things to do in Frankenmuth, Michigan as well.
Keep reading for twice the fun!
Our Frankenmuth Engagement Story
Dinner was on the agenda and Frankenmuth was the destination, just a short 30-minute drive away, but something else was in the air as well. We’d been dating a year, so it was our date-versary, but something still felt different.
It was a special evening… and it felt just that – special.
“I have a few plans before dinner,” he whispered through a sly smile. We walked together, my hand snuggled into his warm grip, down the cobblestone path of the town. I peered through the shop windows as we strolled past, wondering what the plans were for the evening. Finally we reached the place where the stone pathway ended and the river kissed the grassy edge.
“Here we are,” he breathed as his arm pulled me closer to him before taking me down the bridge that led to
“You really think you want to spend your life with me?” His question came in a bit of a whisper and I smile-nodded in response. As the boat pulled away from the shoreline and quietly flowed downstream, I stayed locked in his embrace. The wind felt fresh and cool on my face and he laughed to himself.
“What was that about?” I asked incredulously. Whatever the joke was, I needed to be in on it. “I just wondered what would happen if I got down on my knee… to tie my shoe. Truth be told, it is a great spot.”
His smile slowly crept up to his eyes and wrinkled the edges.
Minutes later, he was on his knee, but instead of tying a shoe, I looked down to see a ring, a gorgeous ring. The next few sentences didn’t really compute. I know he said beautiful things, but my mind raced with thoughts… “Are you serious?”
The words came out of my mouth before I really understood what I was saying. I still wondered if he was tying his shoe. And yet, there was a ring.
Of course, he repeated his words, I accepted, we laughed… and the rest, as they say, is history.
Fun Things to do in Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth has so much character. Much of the architecture is Bavarian influenced, so it is like being whisked away to a magical European land.
It is fun, whimsical, and romantic.
The following are just some of the many attractions you should try to enjoy while you are there.
1) Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
Before you get into town, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland is a must-see near Frankenmuth. All year round you can find the world’s largest Christmas store in full swing.
To say it is the world’s largest is no exaggeration.
They have over 100,000 lights along their half a mile “Christmas Lane” that leads you into the 27-acre property. The store boasts over 300 decorated trees and tens of thousands of Christmas items to shop.
Bronner’s is a delight for people of all ages. I highly recommend it.
2) Where to Eat in Frankenmuth
There are several places to eat in Frankenmuth, but if you are making this a family trip then in my mind there is only one place to go—Zehnder’s Restaurant. The Zehnder family took over the hotel in 1928, and the 9-dining room restaurant has become known as a tourist hotspot for the amazing food and fantastic Midwest hospitality. There is a full menu but I recommend the all-you-can-eat family-style chicken dinner with all the fxings.
It’s so good.
3) Eat Bavarian Food in Frankenmuth
Like I said, there are many wonderful places to eat in Frankenmuth, but you simply have to take advantage of the Bavarian food while you are there.
The Station 100
You can find delicious, genuine German food at this upscale, fine restaurant.
Frankenmuth Brewery is Michigan’s oldest brewery with great views of Cass river on the outdoor decks. They often feature special German wheat beer—especially for the Bavarian Festival.
Bavarian Inn Castle Shop Bakery
Don’t forget to find something sweet. You can carb up at the Castle Shop Bakery where they bake specialty bread, strudel, and pretzels (and more) fresh daily.
4) Frankenmuth River Place Shops
If shopping is your thing, you’ll love the River Place Shops, and outdoor mall styled after a Bavarian village featuring more than 35 shops and attractions including Bavarian Belle Riverboat tours and Cupcake Wars winner SugarHigh Bakery, plus shops filled with unique gifts, fudge, and boutique items. River Place Shops also hosts free family-friendly festivals and events throughout the year, like Dog Bowl and the Funtown Chowdown Food Truck Festival! It’s super cute.
5) Visit Cass River
We have been loving our coronavirus safe outdoor activities. The Cass River is a great opportunity to enjoy activities like kayaking or fishing at the Rock River Dam. But taking a boat tour is a fabulous experience when available. The 12-passenger Frankenmuth FunShips Tasting & Tours (that features Michigan wines with homemade chocolates) is a great choice.
6) Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
If you are looking for even more romance then I have to recommend a horse-drawn carriage ride. It is so much fun to enjoy the sights while you snuggle with your love. They even offer carriage ride into the winter, with jingle bells and a lap blanket.
This is a great activity to do as a family too. The service is a per-ride fee vs. per-person (up to six people), so everyone can enjoy it, together!
Knockwurst Sandwich Recipe
- 4 Omaha Steaks Knockwurst sausages, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 pretzel rolls
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- Dijon Mustard
- 4 slices Muenster cheese
- Heat up a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Add onions to the pan and begin to brown and soften the onions.
- Cut the knockwurst sausages in half lengthwise. Remove the outer casing from the sausage.
- In the skillet with onions, add the cut sausages.
- Add sauerkraut to the skillet and cook for five minutes, flipping the sausages halfway through.
- While knockwurst sausages are cooking, slice pretzel rolls in half, place the remaining pats of butter on another skillet and toast the insides of the buns.
- Place dijon mustard on the bottom bun, top with 2 cooked sausage halves, sauerkraut and onion mixture, and a slice of cheese.
Add the top bun and serve hot along with a fresh pickle and thousand island dressing for spreading, or dipping.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1070Total Fat: 72gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 293mgSodium: 1425mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 73g
More Thoughts on German Tailgate Food
I hope you enjoyed a little trip down memory lane with us. Frankenmuth is a must-see Michigan city that has so much to offer. The delicious German food is no exception.
Now that football is making its comeback, and cooler weather is well on the way, we are looking forward to these hardy Knockwurst Sandwiches. You don’t have to be in a parking lot to enjoy tailgate food, or in a tent to feel the Oktoberfest vibe. We deserve to indulge in the tastes of the season.
A Knockwurst sandwich is like comfort food to us. We hope you take a moment to celebrate all of the blessings we do have with good food and your close family (or socially distanced friends).