The red-and-white hued Cozy Corner Café has been a fixture on the southwest corner of McKellips and Recker roads, near Kohl’s, since 2001. In August 2017, Luay Hanna and Ramiz Sabeeh took over from owner Troyce Hudnell, and the duo continues to serve patrons with outstanding hospitality and food at affordable prices.
The feeling is mutual. The loyal customer base has embraced the brothers-in-law, and it’s evident by the bustling dining room. The duo’s ownership of Cozy Corner Café came about by coincidence.
“Ramiz and I met the previous owner, Troyce Hudnell, at a store,” Hanna said. “Turns out, we were from the same city in Michigan (Rochester Hills).”
The three men bonded and Hudnell retired. Hanna and Sabeeh took ownership and continue to employ members of Hudnell’s family. Initially, some customers worried that Cozy Corner Café would switch to a sports bar or another type of restaurant.
“Troyce told me something and he was right,” Hanna explained. “He told me, ‘There’s no reason to fix anything, if it’s not broken.’ We came in and the place was doing very well. We just wanted to make it better by getting our name out there to people who don’t already know about us.”
The two men split up duties at the Cozy Corner Café. Sabeeh, who worked for his father’s restaurant in Istanbul, takes care of the back of the house, while Hanna greets guests.
Both owners endeavor to keep Hudnell’s legacy alive by keeping the warm fuzzy feeling of a neighborhood establishment going strong.
“We have a lot of regulars and probably 80 percent of our business is repeat customers,” Sabeeh said. “Some customers have been coming here since day one.”
The menu, service and employees have remained consistent. The vast menu includes breakfast favorites including eggs Benedict and a Southwest burrito with chorizo. Lunch finds guests noshing on hamburgers, carne asada and chicken fried steak. The restaurant is open daily until 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and open for dinner on Friday with popular entrees including fish and chips and prime rib.
“The good thing about our menu is that you can pretty much customize it any way you want with substitutions,” added Hanna, who is hoping to open a second location in downtown Gilbert.
“I like going to places like this because it’s very homey. You really feel at home here. I like franchises, but if I had an option to choose, I’d rather go where everybody knows me on a first-name basis. We know our customers’ names and we know what they like to eat.”