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‘Cozy’ closes doors after 85 years

(6/15) What was reportedly the oldest, continuously operating, family-owned restaurant in the state of Maryland is closing its doors after 85 years of operation.

The Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont closed its doors during the first week of June, and is up for sale, and the rest of the complex may be up for sale as well, according to the current owner, Jerry Freeze.

The Cozy Restaurant, Cozy Country Inn, and Cozy Village, consisting of various shops, is located at 103 Frederick Road, the site that has served as home to the operation for 85 years, having been established in 1929 by Freeze’s father, Wilber.

But after all these decades, Jerry Freeze told the News-Journal it was time for him to close the doors on at least the restaurant, and probably the inn as well. "I was as shooting for a hundred (years in operation), but I’m running out of energy," he said.

While the restaurant is already up for sale, and, in fact, Freeze has sold some of the eatery’s equipment, he seemed prepared to sell the entire restaurant, inn, village as a package. "We’re trying to debate on what to do with that. It’s sort of up in the air, depending on whatever is going to be the most advantageous (to him and other parties)."

"As far as selling the entire complex, he said, "There are a couple of trusts and several corporations involved here. Different people would have to sign on the line (the consummate such a sale)."

Steel said he was contacted already earlier in June by a party interested in the total package. "He might buy the whole works," Freeze said. "Otherwise we might keep the inn (but) we’re trying to market the whole thing to one person."

One of the options explored was to find someone to continue the operation of the Cozy Restaurant. "One option would be to let someone operate the restaurant, (but) I’m thinking whoever buys it might want to operate it as something else." Personally, he said, "I always liked the restaurant over the hotel because it was such a challenge."

The owner said a couple of factors entered into the decision to start selling. "It was a combination of things," Freeze stated. "I had two kids involved. Both left a year and half. (As a result) there’s nobody to pass the torch to." One of the other reasons he stated was just wanting to retire from the business.

The Cozy Restaurant is serves as home to a Camp David museum. Freeze said there has been no final decision regarding the museum relics and items that were displayed there.

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