Mac’s Kozy Kitchen

by Cindy Steele

Norm and Pat McCormick are the owners of Mac’s Kozy Kitchen, a restaurant in downtown Nashville on South Van Buren Street. It is one of the first businesses you see when entering the village from the south on State Road 135.

The building, originally a hardware store and ice cream shop, isn’t much to look at. Some describe it as just plain ugly. But, as the name suggests, inside waits a warm, cozy atmosphere and a good meal.

The location served as a family restaurant for many years as Grandma’s Kitchen and the original Remember When restaurant.

When Grandma’s Kitchen closed due to family illness Norm called Fred Tilton, the property owner, to ask if the building was still available. Norm laughed and referred to himself as “dummy” when he recalled that moment. With no restaurant background Norm did not foresee the challenges.

The McCormicks opened on a weekend in the summer of 1995 when ABATE motorcyclists were in Brown County for the Boogie. It was a learn-as-you-go situation. Everyone was a new employee and didn’t know where everything was. The experience quickly initiated them into the food service business.

“One of the biggest things we had to learn when we first started was what to buy, how much, and when,” explained Norm. In the beginning he sometimes called his food supplier several times a night.

Covering help shortages was and continues to be a big challenge. Pat often filled in behind the grill and washed dishes. “When I first had to cook on the grill by myself, I’d cook and then go stand outside and cry—come back in, cook and go out and cry. I was so nervous,” Pat said. It is so hard because you prepare most everything as you go. “We’re not fast food,” added Norm.

Fortunately, some exceptional employees helped to compensate for the turnover. The McCormicks’ son Rocky managed the restaurant until last year when he became a hair stylist at the Cutting Edge. Daughter Kelli worked at Mac’s for many years and is now the restaurant’s manager. Rocky’s wife Bev and Lois Sleven have been waitresses from the start. Another daughter Tiffany is working while she attends school at Ivy Tech.

You feel at home when you dine at Mac’s. Waitresses remember your face and your favorites. “I don’t know of any restaurant that you go in where the help comes out and mingles with people out front like ours do. They walk out of the kitchen with their apron on. That is just how we operate,” said Norm.

The menu at Mac’s offers something for everyone. There is a great selection of sandwiches and daily luncheon specials: Monday_ham and beans, Tuesday_spaghetti, Wednesday_meat loaf, Thursday_beef pot roast and vegetables, Friday and Saturday_beef Manhattan and in the evening hickory smoked BBQ ribs, Sunday_beef Manhattan. The BBQ sandwich is very popular and they sell a lot of cobblers. They are now open most evenings except for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The dinner menu includes a selection of steaks, chicken, and seafood.

When you read the menu you’ll see Norm’s drawings of the building, paint tubes, and palettes. He is an art lover and paints as a hobby. His paintings adorn the walls of the restaurant along with family photos.

Norm and Pat’s Brown County roots go back to the early ’50s. “I started coming down with my wife’s family in ’53 or ’54 just before we graduated from high school,” said Norm.

The couple attended high school together in Indianapolis, married, and started a family right away. Pat worked for the telephone company. Norm was an iron worker and construction project manager, moving plant machinery from one state to another. He worked a lot with Cummins Engine contractors. They moved to Florida in ’63 for a couple of years both working where they build NASA rockets.

They returned to Indiana because they missed the seasons and moved to Brown County in 1966.

In the ’80s Norm served as a county commissioner for eight years. Pat was the county recorder, first Republican recorder in 108 years.

Pat worked for attorney Tom Zieg for 13 years before she and Norm opened the restaurant.

Owning a restaurant has not been easy for the McCormicks but they are proud of their business. “It is nice to know that you’ve got a good product. People come in here and appreciate the good food and the service. We have good servers. We feel like people have a good experience when they come in here,” said Norm “We would like to have more local business than what we have. That is what we are set up for. Come in and say hi and give us a try. Most people that come in come back.”

They offer a senior discount if you ask for it.

If good food and good service is what you are looking for, and you can do without the ambiance,give Mac’s a try.