Lacey Mims & Kozy Kitchen memory - EHS1961

Memories of Kozy Kitchen

By Lacey Mims October 7, 2007

At the risk of providing too, too much information, I submit the following in memory of the Kozy Kitchen.

I was intrigued by the suggested meeting place of the Kozy Kitchen. Memories return of when it became the recognized evening meeting place for many in the El Dorado community during its second, golden economic age. My experience began about 1955 when the owners (Mr. & Mrs. Reggins [sp ?]) of the White Way grocery (now new home of Spudnut Shop) would invite my parents and I to the Kozy Kitchen on Sunday afternoons. Kozy Kitchen expanded about 1975. The restaurant consisted of 3 booths, counter with stools, and special dining room on south side. Mary and Norman [tragically, I have forgotten their last name] operated the Kozy Kitchen. Mary was the conversationalist, waiter, cash register operator, and bouncer. Other restaurants attempted to cash-in on the Calion Highway "Restaurant Row", but they never were very competitive with drawing power of the Kozy Kitchen.

I remember many of the stories Mary would tell (& sometimes repeat). One story was when a truck driver stopped his large truck in front and came in and ordered a beer (without food). Mary took offense that any one would consider the Kozy Kitchen a "beer joint". She told him forcefully that they did not sell beer without ordering a meal. She recommended that he leave.

Norman, who had a heart problem, worked in the kitchen mostly, but would come out often. His specialty was pies. My parents hired some of the kitchen staff to help around their home. Both Mary and Norman smoked which obviously was a very unhealthy habit. Mary hired a lady, which was one of her relatives, to help in the restaurant. After Norman died, then Mary died, this person continued the Kozy Kitchen for a while.

One of the more interested artifacts at the Kozy Kitchen was the large (3' X3') picture of Custer's Last Stand near front door. Hours could be spent examining the detail in this picture. After Mary died, a member of her family took it. I visited the house that was next door on north side of restaurant at times. My memory is vague, but this may have been Mary's and Norman's home.

My parents always wanted the most northern booth. We had basically the same meal (father = steak with baked potato, mother = potato with salad, me = filet or shrimp). My parents worked until about 7:30 or 8:00PM every night at their travel agency and ate at Kozy Kitchen most nights. My father enjoyed saying hello to people in the El Dorado business community as they arrived.

Mary's nephew (Sonny Morgan) came down from Colorado to live with Mary and Norman. He was a little older than I and was interested in cars (he had 1956 Ford that he played with). Sonny married a woman in El Dorado. She started Morgan Florist. Later, they got a divorce but he continued working for her at florist business.

In closing (finally), when one returns to the Kozy Kitchen, they might think of the Kozy Kitchen as Mary's and Norman's creation. The fact that it continues is a product of the strength of their personalities. Mary's and Norman's picture is on the wall above the cash register (I hope still).