Seitz’s Tavern to be Converted To Family-friendly Burger Restaurant


Morgan Kurth, Bleu Print Staff

Seitz’s Tavern in downtown Chelsea, which has been in business for over 103 years, was bought by an investor this past summer and is now being renovated. 

Seitz’s, as it has become known to many, was a bar that was passed down through three generations of the Chelsea-based Seitz family, and it went up for sale as Randy Seitz, grandson of the original owner, decided that it was his time to retire. An investor who was renting out the office space above the bar at that time knew the owners of Seitz’s and spoke with them and neighboring businesses before deciding to buy the tavern, taking a step toward starting his own burger restaurant. 

“[The owners of Seitz’s] offered to sell it to him,” William Fredenberg (‘20), the investor’s son, said. “Then he bought the tavern, and ever since then we’ve been doing a lot of work to fix it up and make it all nice.”

The Fredenberg family will not be running the burger place on their own, but plan to partner with a family friend who is currently a chef in Ann Arbor.

“He’s doing it jointly with us, and we’ll be running the restaurant together,” Fredenberg said.

While Seitz’s exit from the city’s scene certainly will leave some with fewer places to go out and still feel at home on weekends, support for Randy and his decision to retire has poured out from old friends and frequent customers. 

“Thanks to Randy and his family for my 40 years of Saturday Beef Plate memories,” one of the many heartfelt comments posted on the Chelsea Update said. “Our family has 3 generations of Seitz’s memories that we will cherish forever. It all started when I was 18 and my best friend’s dad said we could have his U Of M football tickets if we met him at Seitz’s Tavern for lunch before the game.”

Due to the historical significance of the tavern in Chelsea, many worry that the incoming business will not provide the opportunity to reminisce on Chelsea’s past like the bar did. However, the family who is currently renovating does intend to preserve the artifacts of the original tavern while creating an environment that is more inclusive to people of all ages. 

“One thing that my dad wants to do is to have [the restaurant] be a new place for families, being more family-oriented than a bar, but he wants to keep some of the elements that people really liked about it, like the really old Seitz’s sign with the neon lights in it. He’s keeping that because people are gonna love it, and then we’re keeping the bar too, and I think that he’s going to put some seating at it, ” William Fredenberg said.

Fredenberg clarified that the burger restaurant will not have an alcohol-serving bar, but that the physical eleven feet high and twenty-three feet long bar made of cherry wood, which actually was built in nineteen-hundred, will still be used in the new restaurant, and although he is not the restaurant owner himself, he knows that his father, the owner, “wants to keep the feel” of the tavern Chelsea loves while transforming it to be more than just a bar and a restaurant for the whole family. 

“It’s definitely going to be different, but I think it’s going to be better than as-is,” Fredenberg concluded.