A Lakeview eatery with long roots in New Orleans’ storied po-boy past is closing next week. Koz’s (515 Harrison Ave., 504-484-0841) will serve its last po-boys in Lakeview next Friday, Jan. 19, proprietor Max Gruenig confirmed.

Meanwhile, the original Koz’s in Harahan (6215 Wilson Ave., 504-737-3933) will remain open for business as usual. That location is run by Max’s father, Gary “Koz” Gruenig. It will continue to serve the BBQ ham, the “Chamber of Horrors” po-boy and the whole loaf versions of the classics that have long been Koz’s calling cards.

Max Gruenig said the decision to close the Lakeview location was a difficult one but the right move for his young family. He is leaving the restaurant business to chart a different career.   

"I just turned 30, I'm going back to school full time so if there's any time that feels right to make a change it's now," he said. "It's definitely bittersweet though, because it has been great being in Lakeview and getting to know all the people who come here." 

Before Hurricane Katrina, the Harrison Avenue address was the home of Charlie’s Delicatessen, known for its muffuletta-sized Moon sandwich. It saw a string of casual eateries after the storm until Koz’s opened here in 2009, serving a menu of po-boys and plate lunches and starting a nearly nine-year run here.

The Lakeview restaurant was the expansion of a family business that had its roots in a much older po-boy shop.

Koz’s was first conceived by the senior Gruenig based on this long experience at the Po-boy Bakery, which was in business on Franklin Avenue near Fillmore Avenue from the early 1960s.

Koz Gruenig got a job there at age 12 in 1965, and this is where he earned his nickname. He had a tendency to wipe out on his bicycle back then, and a regular at the po-boy shop took to calling him “a kamikaze pilot without the plane,” which morphed into Koz.

Gruenig worked at the Bakery for the next 40 years and eventually moved into the apartment above the eatery, where he raised his family. While the Bakery did not return after Katrina, the Gruenigs started their own restaurant just a few months after the storm in Harahan, called it Koz’s.

Here they revived the BBQ ham po-boy, made with a falling-apart debris style ham. Another house specialty is the Chamber of Horrors, which is a kitchen sink mix of different deli meats, cheese and dressings and is named after the old basketball gym at the University of New Orleans, known for its fearsome acoustics for opposing teams.

Max Gruenig had also operated a version of Koz's in Metairie starting in 2015 but this location on West Metairie Avenue closed within a year. 

Koz's Harahan

6215 Wilson Ave., Harahan, 504-737-3933

Koz’s Lakeview

515 Harrison Ave., 504-484-0841

Scheduled to close Jan. 19, 2018

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Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.

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