Legendary Louie’s Restaurant and Bar Expanding Into Texas Corners
Time to raise a shot glass of "Polish". The legendary Louie's, the oldest bar in Kalamazoo, is expanding to add a second location in Texas Corners.
The second location will be named Louie's Corner Bar and Grill, which is a nod to both the building's location and layout (on the corner of a strip shopping center just west of 8th Street on Q Avenue.) and to Kalamazoo restaurant history - The Corner Bar, at Vine and Mills Streets shared many a patron with the original Louie's.
Louie's made the announcement on it's Facebook page last week, but no timeline or opening has been announced yet.
Louie's dates back over 100 years to 1918, when Louie Nowak opened a soup kitchen and restaurant at North and Walbridge Streets in what was a Polish neighborhood at the time. As its website hints at, Louie's might have been a speakeasy during Prohibition. Over the years, Louie's son Ted and his wife Louise (known to generations as "Granny Nowak) took over and operated the business. The close proximity to the nearby railroad stations made it a convenient stopover for entertainers traveling between Detroit and Chicago, and Grand Rapids. The backroom hosted many a musician as photographs on the wall showed.
More recently, the establishment was run by Ted and Louise's son Louie (while siblings operated several other local eateries over the years, including the Anchor Inn in Richland and The Fly Inn in Plainwell). Local businessman Mike VandeMaele bought Louie's in 2007 and soon began to expand its hours and brought back regular entertainment, as Louie's became a part of the growing downtown nightlife scene near Bell's and other establishments. The restaurant also enjoys a new clientele now, with the addition of apartments across the street and even more coming soon a block away down Ransom Street.
"Polish" is what customers have come to call a shot of blackberry brandy at Louie's. "Na zdrovye".