NEW YORK - John Stratidis is not only the manager of The Cozy Soup 'n' Burger on Broadway in Greenwich Village, but he's a waiter, a host and a cashier. He’s basically doing the jobs of seven people since the popular spot reopened after a five month shutdown due to COVID-19.
What You Need To Know
- The Famous Cozy Soup 'n' Burger opened in Greenwich Village on Broadway and Astor Place in 1972
- It was opened by Greek immigrants Mike and George Stratidis
- The diner is famous for its 9 ounce burgers and split pea soup
- The restaurant was featured in the Adam Sandler Film "Big Daddy"
“We thought we would be closed for 14 days, and 14 days turned into five months, we're hurting, you know, we're suffering,” said Stratidis, who has worked at the Diner since he was 9-years-old.
Stratidis is running the establishment for his Dad Mike and Uncle George, immigrants from Greece who opened it in 1972. His Grandfather, also John, worked here, too.
It's a well-known village spot, a favorite of actor Adam Sandler, who featured in it his movie Big Daddy. The wall of fame inside of autographed photos includes everyone from Sly Stallone to Telly Savalas, Lynda Carter and ALF from the old TV show if you can remember back that far.
The food is famous too. Nine ounce burgers and split pea soup with Greek olive oil have been popular among customers for years.
Stratidis is proud of the outdoor dining set up he designed on the Broadway sidewalk in front of the restaurant, which has a Mediterranean feel. He hopes the addition of indoor dining with 25 percent capacity will help, though that only allows them to seat around 25 diners inside, as opposed to the pre-pandemic capacity of 100.
"Hopefully we are able to make it and survive during these difficult times,” said Stratidis, who attributes slower business to having fewer NYU students around since they had the option to take classes remotely, plus some residents moving from the neighborhood. He is prepared to keep going with outdoor dining for the winter, though slightly skeptical about it.
"We're probably going to have to put heaters and things like that to try and accommodate the customers so they won't freeze,” said Stratidis.
His main concern is keeping Cozy going for his Dad and Uncle, who haven't been coming into work out of caution. Loyal customers hope Cozy can make it through all of this too.
"It's on Broadway so it's always busy and it's always bustling, but it's still like a neighborhood place,” said longtime customer Philip Maier.
As John Stratidis puts it “this is a very bad storm and if we come out of this storm okay, hopefully in the long run it will pay off.”