“buy 'em by the sack”
In 1922 a tiny 6-stool diner was opened in downtown Salina, Kansas. Within three months, the hole-in-the-wall was purchased by a young man, Robert Kinkel. Kinkel had just ended a short career playing semi-pro baseball on a Kansas farm team and had relocated to Salina looking for a business opportunity. The Cozy Inn was established at the beginning of a new craze for hamburger stands which were popping up all over America. The first such business, White Castle, had just opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, and Kinkel jumped on the band wagon and followed the fad. The joint served palm-sized hamburgers grilled with a generous heap of onions. The burger became known as a "slider", most likely from the fry cooks practice of sliding the sandwich down the counter on a sheet of waxed paper. The slider was dressed with pickle, catsup, and mustard, never cheese. It is rumored that an employee once placed a slice of cheese on a patty, only to be fired for his blunder. As the Depression Years hit America, joints like The Cozy Inn gained success by providing depression-hit customers with a satisfying, yet inexpensive meal. Low overhead, due to the small size of the building, an unchanging menu, and minimal staff requirements, enabled the price of the burger to remain at 5-cents for 20 years. Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, announcements were made that two military installations would be built in Saline County. The next years brought an influx of tens of thousands of young soldiers to Salina. The Cozy Inn gained great popularity during the war years as a hang-out for GI's needing a good meal on soldier's pay. Bob Kinkel and his wife, Kathryn, enjoyed the continued success of The Cozy during the 1950s and 60s. It was a time when America's youth became obsessed with hamburgers, soda pop, and tucked away joints like The Cozy Inn. After Bob Kinkel's death, his wife Kathryn and her second husband, Dick Pickering, continued The Cozy legacy. In the 1970s they became renowned for their annual anniversary celebrations, offering Cozies, chips, and beverages at "yesterday's prices". Upon the Pickerings' deaths in the 1990s, Kathryn bequeathed The Cozy Inn to three Salina institutions: St. John's Military School, Kansas Wesleyan University, and Salina Regional Health Center. After two years, the organizations decided to sell the restaurant which had long since become a historical spot both locally and nationally. Two Salina businessmen stepped forward to purchase this bit of local history. Brothers-in-law, Max Holthaus and Gregg Boyle, acquired The Cozy in 1997, during its 75th year of business. Holthaus has food service expertise as general manager of the Salina Country Club and Boyle, a civil engineer, has gained financial acumen through business ownership. The two, along with their families, are committed to keeping the legacy of The Cozy Inn alive.
really good sliders! a bit off the highway, but worth the extra few miles. a good excuse to get out of the car and stretch your legs too!
Addictive!! Great people and great food.
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- Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
- Sun: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
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