|Karl's Place Cafe to reopen with help of investors
BY STEVE KOWALSKI
Lake Orion Eccentric Newspaper, Feb. 11, 2007
Karl's Place Cafe, a popular diner that closed Dec. 3 in Orion Township, is reopening as Karl's and Joanie's Place Cafe.
Owner Karl Eberle cited financial concerns when closing and said the decision was final unless he could find investors to share the financial burden. The reopening is Friday, Feb. 16.
Eberle said the outpouring of support was so strong after the story was published in the Eccentric and on hometownlife.com that he decided to give reopening a try.
He's adding "Joanie" to the marquee at 4083 Baldwin in Gingellville as a tribute to his deceased wife and business partner who died in 2005 after a nearly one-year battle with brain cancer.
The December closing of Karl's Place temporarily ended an 18-year run in Orion Township and Eberle had told the Eccentric and hometownlife.com that "it's gotten to the point where I was mentally, physically and financially drained."
He owed more than $800,000 for a renovation in 2003 that more than tripled the size of the original 800-square-foot building.
Eberle said at least a dozen potential investors were among more than 100 callers offering support after Karl's closing. He has chosen two investors with restaurant backgrounds as business partners, he said.
"I was ready to get in the car and just go away," he said. "But I thought 'Why should I move when I've got all this support here?' I was overwhelmed, speechless.
"With the investors, I can make it fly. They have a vested interest in the place and have a restaurant background. I need experience so that if I'm not here, they can run it like I was here."
Karl's Place Cafe regulars were as familiar with the menu as they were with the displays the Eberles hung on the wall -- mementos they had collected through the years. In the weeks since closing, Eberle said has been busy cleaning the interior and rehanging collectibles dear to him and Joanie.
"I've been in here for weeks, scrubbing the place up, wall to wall," Eberle said. "I had taken everything out of here, but I brought it all back up and everything is in place. I've got to hire a few people, get some stock in here and turn the key."
Eberle said he has simplified the menu but customers will recognize some favorites, like Joanie's Eggs. He said he also has dropped prices.
Eberle said the diner will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. He said the weekday opening hours are later than the former hours. The hours between 7 and 10 a.m. will now be reserved to groups in the area who want to use the diner as a meeting place - the only cost being the price of breakfast.
"It's something new we want to try," he said.
Karl and Joanie’s Place Café
4083 S Baldwin Rd
Lake Orion, MI 48359