If you’ve ever been to Frankenmuth, especially with kids, chances are you recognize the iconic Cheese Haus mouse. Thousands of families have stopped to see him for what used to be a photo opportunity, but is now better known as a selfie. Most, then wandered into the famous shop, which may well be why it’s celebrating 50 years in business this month.
Like the name suggests, the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus specializes in the production and sale of imported and domestic cheeses. Nearly any kind of cheese you can imagine can be found here, including several homemade cheese spreads, as well as their own line of sauces. The store now also includes kitchen gadgets and utensils and a very popular wine selection. They’ve even added a bar with their own take on a Bloody, that they call a Cheesy Mary.
“People’s tastes have changed over the last 50 years and we have updated our products and offerings to reflect this,” said Vice President and 4th Generation Owner, Martha Zehnder Kaczynski.
Among the updates are expanded flavor profiles for cheeses and spreads. They now produce seven flavors of cheese spreads: Horseradish, Jalapeno, Smoky Jalapeno, Fiery Jalapeno, Bacon, Creamy Blue Cheddar, and their most popular product, Garlic. There are also five unique, flavored cheeses made by the staff: Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry and Blueberry.
All of these changes and new desires from customers are necessitating an expansion from the current 2,700 square foot location to a new 16,000 square-foot Bavarian-themed building. The new site will offer more room for product sales and demonstrations. There will be a hospitality area on the second floor which will be able to accommodate groups and motor coach travelers as an ideal setting for beer, wine and cheese tastings. It will also feature a 60-foot onion tower with figurine movements called a Figurinespiel, an animated story about popular cheeses from around the world, a sundial, and of course, Frankenmuth’s favorite mouse.
Work is already underway at 545 S. Main St., just steps from the current location. The opening for the new location is set for this fall--quite a way to celebrate fifty years.
The party will get started much sooner than that, though. Coinciding with the actual anniversary, the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus is hosting a big 50th Anniversary Open House event Wednesday, May 23, from 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the current store, located at 561 South Main St., Frankenmuth.
Visitors on that day will receive free cheese spread and enjoy cheese and meat samples along with specialty samples from the “Cheese Trap” food truck. Prizes will be awarded with prize wheel spins and there will be drawings every 50 minutes for a chance to win additional prizes. In addition, the bar area will be crafting a “cheesy cocktail” to celebrate the store’s golden gala.
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