The Kitchen Assembly Line
"Doc's Barbeque", a 12' x 16' wood structure included a three burner gas plate, a 12 inch skillet, a kitchen table and five chairs, a Heatrolla and a small sign for "Curb Service". They purchased all this for $147.00. The land was leased from John Zoerhof, owner of the gas station next door, for two meals a day. Soon after taking over, Russ and his father, John Bouws, added a 6 foot by 16 foot kitchen and a small bedroom, so Russ could sleep at the restaurant to ward off break-ins.
J. Russel Bouws
When asked "Why are you so successful?" Russ would answer, "We love our work, we love our people and God has blessed us throughout all these years." J. Russel Bouws died August 18, 1992 leaving a heritage that will be remembered for a long time. Sons, John and Bryan say, "We are deeply appreciative of the vision, humility, compassion and faith that marked his life." Russ' maintains the tradition of service, quality, consistency, friendliness and cleanliness throughout West Michigan yet today.
1934 - The First Russ' Restaurant
J. Russel Bouws, founder, began operating his first restaurant in 1934 at twenty years of age. Here is his story: His father purchased "Doc's Barbeque" in Holland, Michigan for Russ to run. He graduated from Zeeland High School in 1932, his dream was to be a farmer. Had his egg business been profitable, he may never have gotten into the restaurant business. Due to the depression, eggs were selling for 12 cents a dozen, pork and beef for 8 cents a pound, and corn for 53 cents a bushel.