It’s the primary good day Chicago has seen shortly, and Suppaluk Meunprasittiveg, identified by his clients as Tee Cozy, is sitting at one among his handmade mosaic tables close to the window of his genuine Thai restaurant in downtown Wrigleyville. Papers are sprawled round his laptop computer as he works, his charger is plugged into the wall beside him, and the solar illuminates his face by the glass. It’s not too busy inside Cozy Noodles n’ Rice but, however quickly sufficient, the four-car car parking zone shall be full, clients shall be crowding the restaurant, and Tee Cozy shall be cooking up a few of his hottest dishes.
Tee Cozy sits beside the entrance window of his restaurant working at his laptop computer. Cozy opened Cozy Noodles n’ Rice in 2003. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Tee Cozy’s nickname comes from the quantity three. Because the third son in his household, the quantity holds worth to him, and he believes Tee is a simple identify to recollect. However there may be extra to know and bear in mind about Cozy than simply his nickname. After graduating from Bangkok College and transferring to Chicago from Thailand at 21 years outdated in 1996, Cozy had no concept that Cozy Noodles n’ Rice can be his future. The restaurant that he has established in Wrigleyville thrives, and it’s not simply due to the meals.
Tee Cozy’s objective is to unfold like to his clients as a lot as doable. The second a buyer steps into Cozy Noodles n’ Rice, they’re greeted by an indication on the again brick wall studying, “COZY <three YOU,” and the loving ambiance is what makes Cozy’s clients return.
“I believe that crucial factor that I realized from Thailand is find out how to love individuals, find out how to love one another, find out how to love buddies, find out how to respect buddies, find out how to be good to individuals, find out how to work exhausting,” Cozy says.
For Cozy, his clients are most essential. He sees potential in every person who walks by the double glass door to develop a relationship not simply by his meals, however by communication.
“I need to study them. I need to know them. I would like them to turn out to be my good friend,” Cozy says.
“Cozy Loves You” hangs throughout the eating places fundamental wall, greeting clients as they stroll by the door. Tee Cozy says the principle objective behind his restaurant is to unfold love. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Thailand can be liable for a lot of the recipes Cozy makes use of to craft his seemingly limitless menu. Prospects have curry and noodle choices, entrees together with hen, beef, tofu and seafood, and lychee over rice for dessert.
Chicago Cubs followers may even order off of a specialty menu with entrees named after a number of the Cubs most memorable features, like Brick & Ivy, an almond-breaded duck breast tenderloin blended with spicy Korean barbeque sauce, named after Wrigley Discipline’s well-known ivy wall.
“Mainly, all of the recipes are from my mother,” Cozy says. “A very long time in the past, she would go to the Vietnamese market and have a look to see what is feasible to make [in the United States], like a specialty soy sauce or fish sauce. She’d make an inventory and say, ‘Okay, that is one thing I can discover right here.’ All of the greens need to be tailored as a result of for some individuals, it appears inedible. My mother, she simply created.”
Not solely does Cozy cook dinner each meal with love as his fundamental ingredient, however every one is served on ceramic plates molded within the form of a coronary heart, reinforcing that love is what issues most at Cozy Noodles n’ Rice. Every plate, Cozy stated, exhibits that his coronary heart is open.
“After I serve the meals, I say ‘I like you,’” Cozy says. “I believe 80% of shoppers say, ‘I like you, too.’ It’s essential to get extra communication, to get extra concerned. ‘Hello, how are you?’ is nice, nevertheless it’s not my fashion.”
His “fashion” is impressed by Matt Deletioglu, who owned the Cozy Noodles n’ Rice constructing earlier than he died. Deletioglu was a considerate man, and lots of the classes that Cozy has realized since transferring to Chicago have been due to the person he known as “daddy,” and the one who known as him “son.”
Matt Deletioglu’s photograph hangs on one of many restaurant’s embellished partitions. Cozy attributes lots of the life classes he has realized to Deletioglu. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Cozy met Deletioglu someday when he walked previous his constructing earlier than work. Deletioglu was cleansing the car parking zone exterior, and Cozy thought he was a janitor.
“Hey, you’re employed right here?” Cozy requested.
“Do you might have an appointment?” Deletioglu replied.
Cozy stated he didn’t.
“Come again tomorrow,” stated Deletioglu, “I’ll have a key for you.
The subsequent day, Cozy returned to the positioning on the similar time. Deletioglu was standing exterior, key in hand.
“Now we’ve an appointment.”
“He taught me, the primary day I met him, to not assume issues,” Cozy says. “He requested me, ‘what’s your idea?’” Cozy pointed to a nook of the room and stated, “My restaurant idea is very easy: Merely good Thai meals served with love and happiness. I’m going to place love in each inch of my restaurant, as a lot as I can.”
Deletioglu nodded at Cozy in approval, however he had yet one more query for him.
“Are you a dreamer, are you a follower, or are you a doer?”
“I stated, ‘come on, I’m gonna do it,’” Cozy says. “He gave me a key free of charge. I didn’t need to pay for the important thing. He simply stated, ‘So that you can make your dream come true.’ The factor that he gave me? Alternative. My cozy life began there.”
The restaurant’s exterior is embellished with welcoming neon indicators. Cozy stated when he first noticed the constructing, he knew it was the right place for him to open a restaurant. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Rather a lot has modified in Wrigleyville since Cozy opened his restaurant on Sept. four, 2003, together with building close to and round Clark and Addison, a remodelling of some options of Wrigley Discipline, and even a World Collection win for the Cubs in 2016, however for Cozy, just one factor is totally different.
“There’s just one factor that’s modified at Cozy,” Cozy says, “and that’s extra love.”
Properly, extra love and extra decorations. To Cozy, the factor that makes his restaurant particular isn’t just the accepting ambiance, however the distinctive means the place is embellished.
Cozy began accumulating tin toys when he was in highschool. In Thailand, he stated, tin toys had been fashionable, and when he moved to Chicago, Cozy continued accumulating, pondering that if he ever moved again to Thailand, he would have an abundance of American toys to take with him. His assortment has grown to the purpose that it not solely fills Cozy Noodles n’ Rice with decor, however his home as nicely.
Cozy’s objective together with his decorations isn’t just to make Cozy Noodles n’ Rice stand out from related eating places, however to make his clients really feel pleasure.
“Who sees a toy and isn’t joyful?”
A statue of Elvis stands within the nook close to the eating places counter. Cozy has been accumulating toys and trinkets like those adorning the wall since he was younger. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Regardless of the a whole lot of toys in his assortment, there are two particularly that maintain particular locations in Cozy’s coronary heart. He shows them up on excessive cabinets in his restaurant to maintain them secure, and so they have traveled with him all the best way from Bangkok.
“I’ve one robotic right here, the one which I performed with after I was a child,” Cozy says. “I like him a lot. The day that I got here to Chicago in 1996, I put him in my baggage to return with me.”
Now, his robotic sits excessive above the restaurant, wanting over every buyer that walks by the door and greeting them together with his huge, pink robotic eyes.
Tee Cozy’s toy robotic stands alongside others within the restaurant. Cozy stated it was one of many toys he introduced with him when he moved from Thailand. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
Cozy’s different favourite toy is a small tin steamboat with the quantity eight painted on high that he used to play with when he was little. He would pour water inside, mild a small candle, and look forward to the steam to maneuver the boat round.
“This [boat] is so particular for me and my life,” Cozy says. “For Asian individuals, the quantity eight is fortunate, and in case you flip it sideways, it’s infinity. And have a look at the window, you see Tee and Julie.”
Tee Cozy’s favourite toy sits on one among his mosaic tables. Cozy says the boat carries his household, the “eight” on high symbolizing love for infinity. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings
In his steamboat, Cozy says, is his complete household. He and his spouse, Julie Udomwongyont, are represented by the cartoonized man and lady steering the steamboat in the correct path, whereas the remainder of his household sit inside.
“Inside, I carry my issues and my household, led by me, to the longer term and thru infinity,” Cozy says, “at all times transferring ahead.”
And similar to his tin steamboat, Cozy’s restaurant is at all times transferring ahead, led by Cozy with love, to the longer term, by infinity, and with limitless scrumptious meals.
Tee Cozy poses beside a statue of Mario. Holding up a peace signal is his signature pose in images and selfies. Taylor Smith, Ball Bearings