Cozy up to a Cozy Dog

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Cozy Dog Drive In

2935 S 6th St
Springfield, IL
217-525-1992
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Drive In, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Souvenirs, Inspiration for “Cars” location

This is the birthplace for the Cozy Dog – better than a mere corn dog, they say. It’s crunchy!

On the road, you eat differently than you otherwise would. One of the things that always look more appealing when you’re wheeling around are corn dogs. In Springfield, Illinois, Bob “Buz” Waldmire claims the batter-dipped weenies were invented by his father at the family restaurant, the Cozy Dog Drive In, which is still proudly making ’em out on Route 66. In the beginning, his dad, Ed, even carved the weenie sticks himself and worked tirelessly to perfect his batter, and calling the dogs “Crusty Curs.” (Luckily his wife Virginia baulked and a tastier name was quickly adopted).

Cozy Dogs are truly crispy on the outside. And inside there are all the questionable hot dog ingredients that make some glad they’re a vegetarian.

Cozy Dog Drive In

This was a stop on the 2002 Route 66 Caravan, a 66-day road trip led by preservationist and historian, Jim Conkle. He lead the The Route 66 Caravan from “pier to pier,” Santa Monica to Chicago to raise the awareness of Route 66 and the need to preserve it. He posted more than 50 Hampton “Save a Landmark” signs along the route.

(History from their website, this story was told by Ed Waldmire Jr. to his son Bob, during an “interview” on January 30th, 1959. Bob was in the 8th grade at the time.)

In Muskogee, Oklahoma, I saw an unusual sandwich called ‘corn-dog.’ This sandwich was a wiener baked in cornbread. The corn-dog was very good, but took too long to prepare. The problem was how to cover a hotdog with batter and cook it in a short time.

In the fall of 1941, I told this story to a fellow student at Knox College whose father was in the bakery business, and then gave it no further thought.

Five years later while in the Air Force stationed at Amarillo Airfield, I received a letter from my fellow student, Don Strand. To my surprise he had developed a mix that would stick on a weiner while being french-fried. He wondered if he could send some down that I could try in Amarillo. Having plenty of spare time, I said ‘yes.’

Using cocktail forks for sticks, the U.S.O kitchen in which to experiment, we made a very tasty hotdog on a stick, that we called a “crusty cur.” They became very popular both at the U.S.O. in town, and at the P.X. on the airfield. My friend continued to send mix and we continued to sell thousands of crusty curs until I was discharged – honorably – in the spring of 1946.

The Blue Swallow (in Tucumcari, NM), along with the Wigwam Motels (Holbrook, AZ and San Bernadino, CA) provided inspiration when the Pixar team created Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel for the movie “Cars.” The name “Cozy” was likely a nod to the Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, IL.

Don’t miss the artwork by the founder’s son, Bob Waldmire! – They are strong Route 66 supporters and have wonderful collection of Route 66 memorabilia. Get your souvenirs.

  • Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Monday through Saturday.
  • Overall rating: exceptional
  • -No credit cards accepted.

Recommended and rated by the National Historic Route 66 Federation. To find more, check out their handy “The Dining and Lodging Guide”

Find this site and others with the iPhone app, “Road Trip 66!”