Employees of the former Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont gathered at the restaurant for a group photo with Cozy’s owner, Jerry Freeze, on March 30, 2015. Many of the employees shared memories about their times together, and some of the famous customers they served. It was sobering and sad to notice how much of the historical restaurant has disappeared, including the main Cozy Restaurant sign and a few shingles from the wishing well.
Many wishes were made in that wishing well, and many memories were made by diners and employees. Former Cozy Restaurant employee, Linda Ballenger, of Rocky Ridge, recalled serving Joe Lockhart, President Clinton’s Press Secretary, the year Bill Clinton hosted a summit at Camp David. It was Lockhart’s birthday, and, after a party in his honor at Camp David, Lockhart returned to Cozy because he liked it there.
Linda said she collected a few autographs from some famous diners, but noted that Jerry Freeze wouldn’t ever ask for an autograph, because he felt it was invading the diner’s privacy. “That’s our Jerry!” said Linda.
It was important to Jerry to make sure the employees know how much they are appreciated. On the marquee, he stated, “Cozy thanks you, terrific employees, pleasure of serving 15 million,” so that everyone would know his sentiments.
Diners from all kinds of professions, ethnicities, and different countries enjoyed dining at the restaurant. Because of its proximity to Camp David, notable news journalists and political figures would utilize the restaurant. It is not to be overlooked that non-famous patrons supported the restaurant, whether passing through or meeting for a habitual meal. Jerry Freeze extended his appreciation to everyone—employees and diners.
Jerry indicated that the Smithsonian Institute has been gathering information about the restaurant for their records. He has given the mining cabin and some pig iron to the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society. An old 1929 cottage will be restored. Jerry said, “It’s crazy how excited people are about this history, and I hope more places in town will be preserved and shared historically.”
The mural on the back of one of the shops in the Cozy Village, visible from Frederick Road, was created by C. Colley in 2000, and depicts Jerry’s father, Wilbur, in the early days of the property with his dog, Rover, at the original gas station and tourist camp with tents and cabins.
Cozy employees gathered for a photo on March 30, 2015. Owner, Jerry Freeze, is shown in the middle of the bridge.
Mural by C. Colley shows the original station.