Several newspaper clippings hanging on the wall feature the same smiling face: That of Al Papsodero.
The clippings come from different papers in different towns, but they all tell similar stories about the restaurants that he’s helped launch through the years.
He’s been a corporate chef for restauranteurs in Atlanta, Tampa, Fla., Virginia Beach, Va., and other cities. He estimates around 18 restaurants have been opened with him in the kitchen.
“I’m tired of making money for everybody else,” Papsodero said with a laugh.
He’s now partnered with Martee Blair, a Jeffersonville native with a finance background and a longtime dream of owning her own restaurant. The end result is Cozza, located at 214 E. Court Ave. in Jeffersonville.
The two are hoping to cultivate unique atmosphere inside the old Ray Parrella’s building, which was most recently a restaurant named Timothy’s.
Papsodero, along with sous-chef Jon Crite, are focusing on doing everything in house. They make their own bread, cut their own meat and focus on the individual elements of each dish.
And they’re trying to stay local with the food they serve. The chickens come from a farm in Bloomington; the beef from a farm in Palmyra; and Papsodero plans to get the produce from the farm he lives on in Georgetown.
He said it’s a way of finding quality ingredients and giving back to the community economically.
The atmosphere at the restaurant is a major consideration, as well.
Though some of the same furniture from the Parrella’s days is still there, many changes have been made. Blair and Papsodero noted that there was plenty of cleaning to do, as the building had been vacant for some time. The floors have been refinished and the walls painted in dark yellow, black and blue — a color scheme that the two of them came up with.
The work of local artist Walt Hale hangs on the walls. And Blair said a few friends of hers — currently working the jazz circuit in Louisville — will be featured on the restaurant’s stage on weekend nights.
Thus far, the restaurant is only serving lunch, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. They plan to start serving during dinner hours in February, after receiving a liquor license from the local alcohol control board.
Once that process is complete, a full bar will be available. Restaurant-goers can also look forward to outdoor seating on the fenced-in patio during the summer months.
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