So we had on our list a zany restaurant in Springfield, IL called Cozy Dog Drive In. A “cozy dog” is the official Illinois name for a corn dog.
This unique diner made it onto our list as it was the first to make these treats. From our many visits to the state fair and other festivals as “carnivores” we learned to love the batter covered weiners. Even after we stopped eating meat, we sought out, and found a great corn dog replacement in Morning Star’s mini veggie corn dogs. They are yummy.
So we were pretty excited (now that we’ve taken to meat again solely for this trip) to devour a cozy dog or two on its own turf. The one way streets in Springfield, for a newbie can be a tad confusing, and the neighborhoods surrounding the drive in is a little run down with a number of houses and businesses needing some tender love and care. Luckily, moments before we starved to death, and had to resort to the french fries lodged between our seats and whatever is in the glove compartment, we finally found it.
We made our way into the restaurant, taking picures of the sign and the Lincoln memorial in the wall. Apparently, the folks of Springfield feel that Lincoln’s nose (and only his nose) is quite lucky, so wherever it’s accessible the nose is either shiny bright or, as in this case, dirty from everyone’s rubbing.
Inside, there’s a good-sized diner with a variety of tables and chairs in the restaurant and a counter where you order. We ordered 4 cozy dogs, fries and onion rings, and were told by the helpful clerk, that a cozy basket (4 cozy dogs and a large fry) would be cheaper, so we went for that and added onion rings and two drinks.
The soda fountain had a tiny, but not to be overlooked surprise – you can add homemade cherry or vanilla syrup to your drinks. Bonus – so far, so good!
We sit down and wait for our food. We had only a modest breakfast of toast and tea (we are half English guv’nah), a BP&J sandwich and pretzels for lunch, so we were really excited for these corn dogs, I mean “cozy dogs.”
A little side note: Cozy Dog developed a special handle to cook their corn dogs. The handle can grasp five corn dog sticks and can then be attached to the deep fryer… saving time and reducing the risk of burns. Innovation like this is hard to find in restaurants anymore and we were excited to see it.
Our order was finally called, and, you’re not going to believe this… It tasted JUST like any fair corn dog, and surprise number two – I LOVED IT! I had my two cozy dogs down the hatch pretty quickly – I was hungry – but I think Kimmer’s stomach was protesting our recent “eating our way through Chicago tour” as he was only able to finish one and a half of his cozy dogs. The fries were good, but then, there’s probably not a potato I don’t love. The onion rings, on the other hand were a disappointment, frozen run of the mill onion rings.
Overall this is standard Rt. 66 novelty and probably served as a great stop for weary travelers and the locals, but, unless you’re corn dogs’ number one (or second biggest) fan, I’d suggest you stop by your local state fair and save yourself the gas money.