The community is mourning the loss of Nakos “Nick” Kovanis, the longtime owner of the iconic Log Cabin Restaurant on Grand River Avenue in Genoa Township.
Kovanis, who died Jan. 31, 2020, at the age of 93, is being remembered for his love of family, education, freedom, and his incredible work ethic.
Kovanis survived Nazi occupation and the Greek Civil War before arriving in Metro Detroit in 1951 with the “clothes he was wearing, a dozen bottles of ouzo, and no knowledge of English.”
Kovanis quickly learned English and went on to become a successful restaurateur. He purchased the Log Cabin in 1968, and worked there alongside his brother, Harry Kovanis.
You can read Kovanis’ obituary by clicking here.
Through the years, the popular Log Cabin Restaurant, famous for its huge Porterhouse steaks, as well as pizza and chicken — as well as its signature sign: a neon martini — faced some challenges.
In 1992, a truck heading westbound on Grand River Avenue lost its trailer, which crashed through the wall of the Log Cabin. No one was hurt, and the restaurant remained open for business.
The restaurant wasn’t so lucky in the summer of 1999, when a contract crew doing directional boring in the area hit a gas main, causing an explosion and fire which consumed the Log Cabin and several homes in the area. There were no injuries in the incident that billowed black smoke throughout the area and closed Grand River Avenue for hours.
The Log Cabin remained closed for nearly six years, reopening in a smaller but more modern footprint in 2005.