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Cozzy’s finds new home on Main Street

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KENT—The plaintive cries of “When will Cozzy’s Pizzeria open again?” are no longer reverberating through the community Facebook page because the eagerly awaited event has now taken place. Cozzy DeBernardo has successfully made the transition from his former location in Kent Green to 24 North Main St.

Cozzy DeBernardo has relocated his popular pizzeria to Main Street. Photo by Kathryn Boughton

Rechristened Cozzy’s on Main, the pizzeria opened just in time for Memorial Day weekend. “We planned a soft opening and anticipated a week or two before business picked up,” he said. No such leisurely timeline was allowed, however. The dining room was soon packed with young people and older patrons, all selecting from the temporary menu being served while the business settles into its new quarters.

DeBernardo said he will provide a full pizza menu again by mid-June. “And we’re going to expand to do more pasta dinners in the future,” he said. “But my father taught me to work hard and be frugal. I would rather have the business be healthy and then evolve.” 

Gesturing to the dining area, now furnished with tables and straight back chairs, he said he will install booths in the future to increase comfort and will also add wine and beer to his offerings. 

DeBernardo said he had planned to move to 24 North Main St., the former site of Kent Wine & Spirits, since 2021. “I’ve been working at this for quite a while. I was determined to get in here,” he said. The move was straight-forward with only minimal reworking of the interior of the building. A large portion of the interior is dedicated to the kitchen, a matter of wonder to some patrons, but DeBernardo said that area will soon be filled with more equipment as his business expands.

Cozy’s on Main did not get much time for a soft opening as students flocked to his new location. Photo by Kathryn Boughton

Among the things needed for the expansion is a walk-in freezer that will allow him to store enough ingredients.

“We do a lot of volume,” he explained. The presence of three private schools was part of the attraction when he came to Kent and provides a solid underpinning for his business. “When the kids are in session the amount of food they order is impressive,” he said. He makes deliveries to the schools and to residences within a five-mile radius. He also caters events.

“We can provide big orders,” he said, but added he likes 24-to-48-hour notice for catered events.

It is not the first time Cozzy has moved. He is a veteran of 40 years in the pizza business, having started at his father’s side at age 10 in the family’s Poughkeepsie pizzeria. He points to a picture of himself and his father, noting that he looks much happier than he felt at the time. “I hated working when I was young, but I grew up in the business and came to like it,” he said.

Cozzy DeBernardo began making pizzas 40 years ago in father, Antonio’s, pizzeria in Poughkeepsie, NY. Photo contributed

After serving in the military, he returned to Poughkeepsie and took over the pizzeria when his father retired. But then, he discovered rural Dutchess County and his love for the countryside. He had pizzerias in Stanfordville, Pine Plains and Millerton before moving to Kent. “The first time I was in Kent was in 1995,” he recounted. “I thought it was such a cool town.” 

Part of the attraction was the number of motorcyclists who travel through town. DeBernardo is an avid rider and when he and his girlfriend are not making pizzas, they like to take tours through the countryside to visit pizzerias and patisseries. “If you love what you do, it’s important to see what’s going on with other businesses,” he said.

One of the things he gathered is the benefits of sourdough crusts, which he says are better for digestion.

He says he enjoys the social milieu of Kent. “I grew up next to the Hudson River,” he said. “Here, I am living next to a river. When I finish my day, it is almost like Europe. I can walk out the door and be in nature.”

Cozzy’s is open Sunday, 3 to 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday noon to 8:30 p.m.

Kathryn Boughton
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