April 2, 2009


By Eric Shangraw

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM CDT

A little pub in El Paso has a menu with big flavor.
Eric Shangraw is having lunch at Koozy's in this week's You Gotta Eat.

Koozy's Bar and Grill is on the edge of El Paso, two blocks north of the main 4–way stop.
It's the product of John McVicker and Steve Kovaka, business partners from Seneca, Illinois. They own a tavern there, and opened one here six months ago.

"Our theme is neighborhood restaurant–bar. We concentrate mainly on food. We emphasize food and hopefully people come to the bar afterwards," said McVicker.

"You can't be an absentee owner, especially in this economy. There is competition to consider. You can get a burger and beer anywhere. But you can't go anywhere and meet the owner or walk back to the kitchen and say hello," said Kovaka.

Koozy's may be serving the first gourmet–tavern food on the planet. Gourmet–tavern may sound like an oxymoron, but check out the tater–tot presentation! These are not the tater-tots I remember eating in 8th grade at Chiddix Junior High School. They're coated in nacho cheese, Italian peppers, bacon and green onion.
Before the tatters took us down memory lane, photographer Josh Simon and I started with a basket of fried mushrooms.
Back in the kitchen, Josh witnesses the mushrooms get coated twice in a special batter before being served.
Big portion, huge fresh flavor. Josh followed with an El Paso Burger: half a pound of fresh ground beef, Swiss cheese, onions on a Kaiser roll.
Josh was jazzed over his choice.
I had the Luigi with Cheddar. It is shaved ribeye, with lettuce, onions mayo and olive oil. El Paso excellence! Josh finished strong with a carrot cheesecake. He said it was nothing special in the flavor bracket but a nice effort in presentation. Our bill with drinks, 28–dollars plus tip. Josh is already making plans to go back to Koozy's for more of those mushrooms.

Koozy's Bar and Grill is open seven days a week starting at ten–thirty each morning.
Fayette Road is also Route 2–51 in El Paso.

197 N. Fayette Road

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