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A little piece of Germany that’s a real Detroit Gem

September 18 2013 | 2 comments

Dakota Inn extThe year was 1933.  Karl Kurz worked at Ford Motor Company.  As prohibition ended he wanted to open a bar.

80 years later Dakota Inn Rathskeller remains a Detroit Gem.

They’ve been serving up German specialties at Dakota Inn Rathskeller for 80 years.

Karl Kurz is the grandson of the founder.  He told us, “Our house specialties are the schnitzel people love, the Jaeger Schnitzel, which is topped with a mushroom sauce. Our combo plate is very popular.”

The dish–one knockwurst, one bratwurst, served with German potato salad and sauerkraut–was Larry Smith’s lunch choice during our recent visit.

He says, “I’ve been coming here since I was probably 18 or 19 years old.”

And on this day Larry also enjoyed his favorite German beer—poured with flair, right at his table.

The Dakota Inn is a place Larry often meets his friends, “We’ve all been coming for years and thoroughly enjoy the food.”

And the beer.

Nine are available for pours. Customers have the choice of 25 more in bottles—the majority of them, German.

Karl Kurz is the third generation owner of the restaurant and bar.

In 1933, his grandfather turned the building that housed a Chinese laundry into a neighborhood gathering spot.

Karl’s father ran the business for 45 years.  Since 1986 the grandson has continued the legacy.

Kurz says, “When you walk in the door it’s like you’re walking into a little pub in Germany. “

The olde world look and feel of the place is enhanced further by colorful beer steins, trophy animal heads and numerous family photos.

Kurz told us, “To me, it feels like Germany.” And, he says, it feels like home.

The neighborhood of John R and McNichols has changed over the years and not for the better.

But through good times and bad the Dakota Inn has passed the test of time.

According to Kurz, “It’s a thrill to be able to do something like this in the city of Detroit. There’ve been challenges through the years but we’ve always survived.”

Dakota Inn’s rich history includes popular sing-alongs that packed them in for years.  More recently, German bands have been featured during Oktoberfest and other celebrations—and people keep coming through the doors.

“Not a person walks out that doesn’t say, ‘thank you, we’ve had a great time.’” According to Kurz

That’s why Dakota Inn Rathskeller is a Detroit gem.




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  1. JIm Pleiss September 20, 2013

    Way back in 1963, I was just a kid (23) and started my first real job with Manufacturers National Bank and we had a gathering there and it was the highlight of my life thereafter; I still recall the joviality and congeniality of the staff; I cycle and cycled past the Dakota Inn a year ago and recalled with fondness those important moments. Thank you.


  2. william Wagner September 27, 2013

    Love it Every time i Go !


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