Famous for their signature cozy dog, Cozy Dog Drive In was founded by Ed Waldmire Jr., grandfather to the current owner, 36-year-old Josh Waldmire. Josh, who hails from Rochester, opened the current location in 1996 – just 100ft south of where the original building was constructed in 1949-50. The husband and father to one is carrying on the family tradition and sticking to the legendary family recipe, but there is a new addition to the menu, which has been a hit so far, as Josh explains.
The Cozy Dog journey all began when Ed Jr. witnessed the over 20 minutes it took to prepare and cook a delicious corn meal covered hot dog. Smitten by the idea, he knew there just had to be a better way. Determined to master a more expedited process and balanced recipe, Ed Jr. worked with a friend’s baker father and came up with the perfect batter, which not only stuck to the hot dog but could also be cooked in oil. The rest, shall we say, is history.
66 years after first opening its doors, Ed Jr.’s grandson Josh now runs the Springfield Route 66 location while his twin brother Eddie takes care of the website from Champaign, Illinois.
For first-time visitors interested in tasting a bite of their family tradition, Josh explains, “Don’t order a corn dog, they are Cozy Dogs here! Also, if you’re coming with friends or family, try our family baskets. These include four Cozy Dogs and a big large fry.”
When asked if there was anything new in the works, Josh said, “We recently started making our own white American cheese sauce. It has been a pretty big hit so far.”
Josh hopes to not only continue this family tradition but also wants to preserve the rich history behind Cozy Dog, his grandfather Ed Jr.
“My grandfather Ed loved people. He loved hearing their stories, telling his own and loved seeing everyone happy. People are naturally happy when they are enjoying great food and we are doing our best to continue that tradition of fun, good service, and great food.”
Cozy Dog is located at 2935 South Sixth Street, Springfield, IL 62703.