New business owners Michael Nguyen and Louise Monroe of Boothbay opened Cozy’s Dockside on June 1, bringing the Southport restaurant back to full service after two years, and offering specialty burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, appetizers, ice cream and daily seafood specials created by Nguyen.
Nguyen has worked as a chef at Cozy’s and elsewhere in the region for 10 years after moving here from Pennsylvania. He said he knew the Cozy’s space would become available in January. “It was sitting there and I heard that the lease wasn’t going to be renewed.”
“I just put in a bid,” he told the Boothbay Register. The property at Cozy Harbor is owned by the town which awarded the lease to Nguyen and Monroe in February after putting it out to bid. The couple said they are grateful to the town which has been helping them with the exterior. The selectmen have been “great,” they said. They mentioned Gerry Gamage in particular.
Nguyen is self-taught and has been cooking for 20 years, starting as a dishwasher and becoming a fry cook, sous chef, chef and now business owner. He will compete in the Claw Down in Boothbay Harbor June 16.
Monroe is a native of Boothbay and worked in restaurants starting at age 14. She has worked at Kaler's in Boothbay Harbor and at Cozy's as well as restaurants in Carrabasset Valley and in Massachusetts.
Cozy’s Dockside will be open every day except Tuesday, from 11:30 a.m. to 8 .p.m. The building seats 35 and also has seating outside. As for the evening hours, Nguyen said, “We have the best view of the sunset.” Monroe added, Cozy’s is “super dog-friendly,” even including an ice cream for dogs on its menu.
Nguyen said the hardest part of having the business has been the paperwork, licensing and talking with purveyors. “I still haven’t realized that it’s in my name,” he said.
He is very aware of the local chefs who helped him along the way. “I want to do them proud,” he said. He and Monroe said they have received lots of help from restaurant people in the area and they appreciate it.
After Cozy’s closes for the winter, Nguyen will return as chef at Boothbay Craft Brewery. His colleagues there have created “Cozy’s Summer Ale,” a beer only available at Cozy’s Dockside.
The restaurant does not take reservations. Those looking for work can contact Nguyen and Monroe at 315-6500 or Louise@cozysdocksidemain.com