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The new Kowaliga Restaurant will open April 24 with a variety of new menu options. Contributed photo
The new Kowaliga Restaurant will open April 24 with a variety of new menu options. Contributed photo

Reopening date announced for lakeside favorite

Published 6:00am Sunday, April 14, 2013

A cherished tradition will return to Lake Martin this month, as Kowaliga Restaurant reopens with an eye to its family-style history.
The location, on the shores of Lake Martin near Kowaliga Marina, was shuttered for the winter, as Russell Lands on Lake Martin transformed the decor and menu.
“The emphasis of the restaurant is good, simple food that the whole family can enjoy, and hopefully we’ll be able to make the food as good as the views,” said vice president Roger Holliday.
The restaurant will open for business Wednesday, April 24. Hours Friday and Saturday are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, they’ll open at the same time, but close at 10 p.m.
Award-winning SpringHouse chef Rob McDaniel will serve as the restaurant’s general manager, with the kitchen run by his protege, executive chef Russ Bodner.
Holliday said the restaurant’s focus will be on great tasting, moderately priced entrees. A new twist will be a dipping sauce developed by McDaniel, which he’s dubbed Rob’s Comeback Sauce.
Bodner said locally sourced food prepared on site will be a key element of the new Kowaliga experience.
“Everything will be made with fresh vegetables,” Bodner said. “We will work with local farmers. The menu will include the squealer and fillet catfish, a pork chop and ribs that we will smoke here on the premises.”
Steaks, both filleted and chopped, Alabama shrimp and Apalachicola oysters will also be on the menu.
Substantial renovations have occurred since the restaurant, previously occupied by Sinclair’s, closed in October. A wall was removed to draw more natural light in, and a dining room wall was opened up.
The floors were refinished and whigh-top tables were added to provide better views of Lake Martin indoors.
“We added a covered deck just off the dock and put in a beach,” Bodner said.
The orginial restaurant was built in 1952, operated by the Hodnett family. Then, it became Cecil’s on the Lake, until a fire destroyed the building. It reopened as Sinclair’s in 2000. When the lease was up, Holliday said Russell Lands wanted to add the signature property to the company’s restaurant selection.
– Betsy Iler contributed to this report.

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