Cobb and Co plans re­turn

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - PAUL MITCHELL

Cobb and Co’s pos­si­ble re­turn to Palmer­ston North after al­most a decade’s ab­sence has trig­gered a nos­tal­gic wave of ex­cite­ment.

Lit­tle plas­tic mon­keys hanging from glasses, traf­fic lights, Cobb crunchies, AKA taties, stuck on each fin­ger and eaten one by one – peo­ple can re­call count­less fam­ily din­ners, birthdays and an­niver­saries.

So­cial me­dia in the Manawatu city is buzzing with an­tic­i­pa­tion of the come­back.

Cobb and Co chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Nathan Bon­ney said the chain was plan­ning a re­turn to Palmer­ston North, although there was no set timetable or lo­ca­tion yet.

‘‘We are aware through Face­book and other so­cial me­dia that we still have fans in Palmy that would like to see us re­turn. It’s def­i­nitely on our road map,’’ Bon­ney said.

There hasn’t been a Cobb and Co in Palmer­ston North for years, but the beloved chain left its mark on the city, and the bar and ho­tel at­tached to its for­mer lo­ca­tion are still called The Cobb.

The first Cobb and Co opened in 1973, and at its peak, the fam­ily restau­rant had 37 lo­ca­tions around New Zealand.

Over the years the chain faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion from rel­a­tive new­com­ers such as Valen­tines and Lone Star. Along with a shift in fam­ily din­ing trends, that even­tu­ally saw Cobb and Co slowly fade in pop­u­lar­ity un­til only seven were left.

Own­ers Sue and Ben Gower an­nounced a re­vival in Oc­to­ber, with plans to open 20 to 30 new restau­rants in the next few years.

For Kirs­tine Laney, the Palmer­ston North Cobb held a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance. It’s where her hus­band, Craig Laney, pro­posed to her 11 years ago.

Kristine Laney said her hus­band couldn’t re­ally re­mem­ber why he chose to pro­pose there, but they did eat at the restau­rant a lot, and she’d loved Cobb and Co since she was a child.

Her mum used to take her and her five sib­lings al­most ev­ery week.

‘‘I loved the spiders [ice­cream floats] and traf­fic lights. It’s funny that it’s al­ways the lit­tle things you re­mem­ber best.’’

She hopes they’ll re­open in Palmer­ston North so she can cel­e­brate her wed­ding an­niver­sary there, but she’s most ex­cited to pass on a piece of her child­hood to her 6- and 10-year-old daugh­ters.

CARYS MONTEATH

News Cobb and Co may be re­turn­ing to Palmer­ston North sparked nos­tal­gic rem­i­nisc­ing about Traf­fic Light mock­tails and the lit­tle plas­tic an­i­mals that came with them.

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