GENUINE TWP. – Three local restaurateurs plan to renovate and reopen an old restaurant and tavern near Chemung Lake.
Business partners Chris Stone, Holly Fletcher and Winfred Dam recently acquired the Log Cabin Inn at 5393 E. Grand River Ave. and began interior renovations.
“The exterior will be completely updated inside,” Fletcher said. “We also put live music there. We’ve already built an entertainment stage. We’re making the bar bigger and making it less like a cafeteria.”
The new owners hope to open the restaurant by summer for visitors to the Chemung Lake area. About 50 people are expected to work.
They are scheduled to open for lunch, dinner and the crowd – until midnight on weekdays and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays – and they can try to serve breakfast on weekends.
All three said they have been looking closely at the Log Cabin Inn hotel since brothers and longtime owners Nick and Harry Covani put it up for sale in 2017 before it closed in 2018. away. The new owners bought it from members of the Kovani family.
The new venture is the trio’s third restaurant in Livingston County in the last few years. In 2020, they became the property of a popular downtown Howell tavern pub 2FOG’s Pub co-founded by Joe Parker. They also acquired the former Wrangler’s Saloon property in Howell, where they plan to build a future two-story honki-ton.
The new owners are planning changes, but will retain some things similar to when the tavern was Nick’s Log Cabin Inn, named after Nick Covannis.
The new owners are considering a change to Winnie’s Log Cabin Inn, after the nickname Winfred Lady.
“In terms of food, we will keep this. They already had a big pizza oven, and we will cook burgers, steaks, fish,” she said.
They also plan to preserve the iconic neon sign with a martini glass, which thousands of motorists pass every day on Grand River Avenue between Howell and Brighton.
Stone said they received feedback from residents on social media to save the sign for nostalgia.
“You always want to please the neighborhood,” he said.
Bringing live music to the neighborhood
“Bands are already moving right and left because there’s not a lot of live music here,” Fletcher said.
The renovation included a new stage in one corner of the tavern. They plan to show smaller acts at least a few times a week.
Stone has experience booking musicians. He and Dam also own the New Hudson Inn in New Hudson, which hosts live music and evenings with an open microphone.
“I think the right music brings people together. I think local bands of one, two or three people. There are a lot of good bands here,” Stone said.
He said he expects to interest various bands, including classical rock and country.
“Really anything. These younger kids are also doing very good things,” he said.
A long story
The Covannis brothers immigrated to Michigan from Greece in the 1950s and landed in Howell in 1968, the year they acquired the Log Cabin Inn hotel.
The original log house, which was more than 100 years old, burned down in the late 1990s. A few years later the Covannis brothers revived a more modern version.
Stone said the renovations would make it more “like the old log bars in the north” with log-decorated windows and walls covered with recycled wooden planks from the old mill of the South Lyon family.
The building will also have wooden tables, a longer bar, updated paint and flooring, and 16 TVs.
“We’ll probably have a wrapper around the porch that will run all the way,” Fletcher said.
Honky Tonk at work
The trio of restaurants also acquired the former Wrangler’s Saloon at 4020 W. Grand River Ave., in 2020, the year it closed.
Fletcher said they don’t know for sure when they will demolish the old salon and start building a new restaurant, bar and a live music area where there will also be a dance floor and an ice cream parlor.
“It will be a two-story hack from the mezzanine with a dining room overlooking the stage and a rooftop bar where people can look at the airport.”
She said they were happy with the idea of naming it Stoney’s on the River after Stone, but some locals would like it to remain “Wrangler’s”.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timor at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @jennifer_timar.