Frankenmuth's first restaurant, the Exchange Hotel. opened on this site on 1856. In 1900, John Hubinger built the New Exchange Hotel here. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, acquired the restaurant in 1928. Tehy remodeled the restaurant in an Early American theme and opened on Mother's Day 1929, when they served 312 family-style chicken dinners for one dollar each. Using Emilie's recipes they built the business around the Sunday chicken dinner served seven days a week. Led by William and Emilie's son Edwin (1920-1998), Zehnder's became a Michigan institution and one of the state's most popular tourist destinations, leading to its recognition as one of the nation's largest independent restaurants. Between 1929 and 2005 more than 26 million people have dined at Zehnder's of Frankenmuth.