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Posted on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 : 8:10 p.m.

Ruth Metzger, part of Ann Arbor's Metzger's German Restaurant, dies at 86

By Erica Hobbs

For years, Ruth Metzger was the familiar face that greeted the customers who came into the German restaurant she and husband, Walter, operated in downtown Ann Arbor.

“She was the greeter and everybody loved her at the restaurant,” Walter Metzger said Saturday. “Everybody knew her by name. It’s a family restaurant, and she worked there for many years.”

Ruth Metzger -- part of the family that owns Metzger’s German Restaurant, one of the area’s oldest restaurants -- passed away Friday at the age of 86.

Ruth Metzger.jpg

Ruth Metzger

Ruth Metzger was born in Germany in 1924 and moved to the United States in 1950 after meeting and marrying her husband.

Walter Metzger’s parents opened the restaurant in 1928 on Washington Street at Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor, where the Arena Sports Bar is now located. Walter Metzger eventually took over the business in 1959 before selling the restaurant to his own son, John Metzger, in 1985.

The restaurant closed briefly in 1999 before reopening in 2001 in its current location at 305 N. Zeeb Road in Scio Township.

“She liked to talk to people and see people,” John Metzger said. “She was definitely part of the business for a long time.”

John Metzger said his mother was active working in the front of the house as a greeter and hostess and continued to frequent the restaurant several nights a week with her husband even after they retired.

“She loved working in the restaurant,” Walter Metzger said. “She loved meeting people. When they came in they would give her a hug. Everybody just loved my wife.”

Aside from the restaurant, Walter Metzger said his wife loved music and played the organ at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor. He said his wife was devoted to her faith and taught Sunday school at the church as well. Along with her faith, Walter Metzger said, his wife was devoted to their four children Fred, Susan, John and Heidi.

“Her family was her church were her life,” he said. “She was the best mother and wife that anybody could ever have asked for.”

A memorial service for Ruth Metzger will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 420 W. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor.


Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

many good meals at both locations... much friendlliness... mom liked it just as much. there is long-lived quality in being conservative. condolences and rest in peace.


Sun, Jun 20, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

Yep, I remember when I moved to Ann Arbor from the East Coast, I found three German restaurants (not Italian--what a concept!) Now, sushi seems to have replaced sauerbraten in the hearts of the dining public. RIP to this hard-working lady.


Sun, Jun 20, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with Mrs. Metzger soon after arriving in Ann Arbor in late 1960. Having just gotten my first paycheck from my new job (at a local laundromat), I wanted to "splurge" on a real meal. One of my friends mentioned Metzger's. When I told Mrs. Metzger, the hostess, that I was looking for a home cooked meal, but had little money, she suggested their dinner for $0.85 (yes, eighty-five cents). It was German meat patties, spatzle, a vegetable, small salad, bread and butter, and desert (jello). As my financial situation improved, I became more of a regular - spending as much as $1.25 for the weiswurst dinner. Mrs. Metzger suggested that I might want to sit at the family table (large round table) at the back to meet others who were not well-heeled. What a fantastic suggestion. I discovered that if a dinner patron elected not to select all of the components of dinner (price was the same, whether you wanted all or just some of the components), the "deleted" items appeared on the family table to be shared by those dining at the table at that time. Despite the fact that I was a 20 y.o. non-student (then), with little funds, from out of town, Mrs. Metzger always treated me as if I was part of the Ann Arbor gentry. I did not feel that I was a restaurant customer, but a guest/part of the family at Mrs. Metzger's dinner table. Mrs. Metzger always made you feel comfortable. Mrs. Metzger will be missed, not only by her family and close friends, but also by the hundred/thousands of us anonymous souls who crossed the portal of Metzger's German Restaurant and whose lives she touched.


Sun, Jun 20, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

Didn't know her but I loved eating at Metzgers.