Cobb and Co plans return
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.
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.