What is
kowaliga?

  • Kaw-liga was a lonely Indian

    "Kaw-liga" was originally a song written about an Indian by Hank Williams, while looking out onto the Kowaliga Basin from his cabin on Lake Martin.

  • fourth time's the charm

    The Indian standing inside Kowaliga is actually the fourth version to guard the restaurant.

  • boat or float to your table

    Kowaliga Restaurant is located in front of Kowaliga Marina and has a boat dock off the patio, perfect for driving the boat straight over for a snack!

The Buzz

"Last night was one of the best meals we have ever eaten at any restaurant anywhere. Chef Ban Stewart brings a new excitement to the menu and we look forward to eating here again, for the first time in years."

Elizabeth S., Union Springs, AL

"Great atmosphere, great view, great food, and great staff! One of our favorites!"

Amber Y., Lake Resident

"Awesome place to eat! Staff is friendly. Service is fast. And the view is amazing!"

Kelly B., Millbrook, AL

"Our weekly Saturday lunch spot. Great folks, good food, and you can arrive by boat!"

Terry F., Lake Resident

ABOUT KOWALIGA

While spending a few days on Lake Martin in 1952, Hank Williams wrote a song about a poor, lonesome wooden Indian.

The Indian, whose heart was made of knotty pine, fell in love with an Indian maid. While Hank was writing the song about Kaw-liga, ground was being broken on a new restaurant just across the street. The restaurant, complete with a wooden Indian, was opened by Charlotte and Toppy Hodnett in April of 1953. Later, Greg Cecil and our own Stacey Jones ran Cecil’s on the Lake at this site for 10 years. Following a fire, the restaurant reopened, and in 2000, Sinclair’s leased the location from Russell Lands for the next 12 years. When the lease came up for renewal in the fall of 2012, Russell Lands decided they’d like to add the signature property to the company’s restaurant options, which already included SpringHouse and Catherine’s Market. During its day, with people like The Hodnetts, Dolf Worthy, Murph Sanders and Greg Cecil, the original Kowaliga Restaurant became famous for fried catfish, hushpuppies, putt putt golf and being THE place to be for a meal on Lake Martin. Since that day in 1953, Kowaliga Restaurant has served thousands of meals to folks from everywhere! The tradition that began in 1953 by the Hodnetts is now back again. Welcome to Kowaliga Restaurant, home of awesome hush puppies, the Murphy Salad—a Murph Sanders recipe—and the best squealers on the lake.

ABOUT THE INDIAN

Kowaliga the 4th now stands in the newly-renovated Kowaliga Restaurant, greeting guests with poise and stature.

The new wooden Indian was created by wood carver and artist, Cory Worden of Beneath the Bark. The original Kowaliga wooden Indian—the one made famous in the Hank Williams song—according to local businessman Fred Dobbs, came from an Alexander City Pontiac dealership. It was kidnapped long ago, never to be seen again. His successor, who was found at a Sylacauga Pontiac dealership, was also spirited away without a trace. One might imagine that some thought was given to Kaw-liga’s obvious portability when the third, concrete statue was created. Although he managed to not be abducted, he suffered many assaults over the years, including fire and vandals. He now stands at the Discovery Center at Russell Crossroads, watching over the grounds and greeting visitors and guests to the town.

Take a Look Around...

  • The Kowaliga Indian

    An iconic piece of Kowaliga's history,carved by Cory Worden of Beneath the Bark.

  • Indoor Dining room

    Pull up a chair with friends in our indoor dining room, complete with lake views just out the window!

  • The Pine Head Bar

    Fancy a mixed drink with your dinner? Kowaliga's Pine Head Bar is well-stocked to entertain, with a direct view to a television to watch the big game. Sit down and drink up!

  • Outdoor Patio Seating

    Let us help you find a seat on our outdoor patio and prepare to relax as you gaze out over the crystal waters of Lake Martin!There's just enough shade and cool breeze to make this spot your favorite.

  • KOWALIGA BEACH

    While waiting for your table or after you've finished dining, kids and adults alike can enjoy the beautiful beach of Kowaliga—and may even be treated to a wildlife show! Ducks, geese and a family of turtles have all been known to swim near the shoreline.