In 1945, farmer Alex Rusceak and his wife, Katie, set out to fulfill their dream. Amidst the surrounding farmland and dirt roads they built a hidden treasure - Rusceak's Rustic Tavern. It catered to the local farmers on horseback, curious travelers and local town-folk heading west on scenic North Territorial Road. But soon after its completion, Alex passed away; leaving Katie to run the roadhouse.
The tavern became a popular stop for traveling musicians looking to make it big on the country circuit - once playing host to a then young singer named Johnny Cash. Throughout the years, though, the tavern earned somewhat of a hard-nosed reputation. It had become home to rowdy patrons who would drink and dance into the night, and arguments were routinely settled by bar clearing brawls. Much like the saloon owners of the Old West, Katie resorted to keeping a shotgun behind the bar to enforce the peace; all the while faithfully serving up cold beer and good times until her retirement - finally selling the tavern in the late 1960's.
The roadhouse then came to be known as Hefner's Hideaway. It served up a raucous brand of rock and roll, billiards and fisticuffs. Notorious for its after-hours operations, illegal gambling and disorderly clientele, community leaders along with the police stepped in to shut it down. Soon after re-opening as The Stockyard, an upscale dining establishment, the restaurant finally shut its doors and remained closed for years.
While searching for a location to open a new restaurant, Karl Poulos discovered the abandoned log cabin and decided to make it his own. With his wife, Sophia, and their two sons, Karl moved west to open Karl's Family Restaurant in the fall of 1982. With hard-working Karl creating delicious meals in the kitchen and charming Sophia greeting everyone at the front door, it soon became the recipe for success. And ever since, Karl's has become known as "a perfect place for friends and family to meet."
Today, Karl's Cabin is the only full-service restaurant in Salem Township (and one of the oldest log cabin restaurant structures in southeast Michigan). We're committed to providing great food and friendly service in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Long gone are the days of bar clearing brawls, and the food, beer and wine selections are better than ever!
Legendary Johnny Cash Performance in 1956
On Aug 26, 1956 the legendary Johnny Cash played (then Ruseak's Rustic Tavern) on the stage that currently still exists today on the north end of our building Traveling through Detroit from Toronto he rocked "The Rustic Tavern" on a Sunday afternoon. Here's what that performance would have looked over 60 years ago.