Friday, March 10, 2017

The History of Cozy Dog Drive-In on old Route 66, Springfield, Illinois.

Cozy Drive-In claims to be the original home of the cornbread battered hot-dog-on-a-stick. Think Corndog. 

It's doubtful that Buzz Waldmire invented the corndog but renamed it the  Cozy Dog as a marketing ploy.
  • 1941: Pronto Pup in Oregon claims to have invented the corn dog on a stick.
  • 1942: Neil and Carl Fletcher start selling "Corny Dogs" at the Texas State Fair.
  • 1946: Cozy Dog in Illinois claims to be the first to serve corn dogs on sticks.
The Cozy Dog was invented by Buzz Waldmire. "You'd just better not call it a corndog" because employees are trained to loudly correct you, even if you say corndog a few times. 
A Cozy Dog is usually eaten with mustard. The hand-cut french fries are fantastic.
Cozy Dog was officially launched at the Lake Springfield Beach House on June 16, 1946. Shortly after, the Cozy Dogs were introduced to the crowds at the Illinois State Fair that same year.

The first Cozy Dog House was located on South Grand between Fifth and Sixth Street in Springfield, Illinois.
A 1950s photograph of the first Cozy Dog with a Manager and Ed Waldmire standing in the parking lot.
A second Cozy Dog House was located at Ash & MacArthur. The Cozy Dog Drive-In was born; built on the old Route 66, South Sixth Street today, in Springfield, in 1949.
In 1996, Cozy Dog moved to its current location, where Sue (Ed's daughter-in-law), Josh, Eddie, Tony & Nick (Ed's grandsons) continue on with the business right next door to the original location.
Cozy Dog Drive-In, 2935 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois.
Route 66. Pen and Ink drawing by William Crook, Jr. ©2010

There is artwork by one of the sons of the late Buzz Waldmire, Bob Waldmire. The famous "Wall Dog" artist, Bob Waldmire, has painted images on the sides of buildings along Route 66. As an artist, he also did postcards, posters, and maps with many pictures of Route 66.
Cozy Dog uses Oscar Mayer Weiners to make their Cozy Dogs. I witnessed an employee open a retail package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs and place them in the steamer. I was personally disappointed.
Sadly, Bob Waldmire passed away from abdominal cancer on December 16, 2009. There is also some Buzz Waldmire memorabilia inside Cozy Dog, such as family photos and his book collection. Cozy Dog features a gift shop selling Route 66 merchandise.
An example of Bob Waldmire's artwork.
Another example of Bob Waldmire's artwork.
"To the end of Route 66"
by Bob Waldmire

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. I work for cozy dog in 1966 and so did my sister inlaw,i would go in at opening and peel, cut,blanch two 50lb. bags of potato's so the day shift would have French fry's for the day. then catch a bus to jr. high school, after school I would go back and work to close. did homework during supper break. d.l.mccubbin

    1. That must have been an awesome experience, looking back at it.

  2. I grew up a few blocks from the 6th Street location. When I was a kid in the 80s, Cozy Dog and Dairy Queen shared a building with a little drive-thru type window separating the two so you could order DQ from Cozy Dog. It was a neat setup. The building that housed the two was razed in 1996, along with the A. Lincoln Motel, to make room for Walgreens (on the Cozy Dog/DQ footprint) and the new Cozy Dog building (on the motel's footprint). Walgreens is out of frame to the left in the first photo. The building to the right of Cozy Dog in that photo is the now-defunct Family Video that was built the same time as Walgreens and Cozy Dog and shares part of the motel's footprint.


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