Iconic Dunedin brand returns to city
A group of retrospective entrepreneurs are responsible for the relaunch of New Zealand iconic restuarant brand Cobb and Co in Dunedin, with the company making big plans to bring back “family fun, traffic lights, and taties” to other regions throughout the country.
Cobb and Co originally started in Dunedin in 1861, in what is now the old Provincial Hotel building.
It started as a transport company when the gold was discovered at Gabriel’s Gully in Otago.
“People said ‘you’ll never get from Dunedin to Gabriel’s Gully in a day’ but Cobb did it,” says Ange Copson, one half of the three couples who own the new Cobb and Co Dunedin franchise.
“After that, everyone who owned a stagecoach renamed themselves to Cobb and Co.
It’s a really nice link back to our heritage in Dunedin.”
Cobb and Co finished its Dunedin operations about 12 years ago, and people thought they’d seen the last of New Zealand’s original restaurant and saloon.
However seven Cobb and Co branches in the North Island continued trading, and this relaunch in Dunedin will make it eight, with more set to follow in other regions in the coming years.
“For many Kiwis, especially those in their 30s and 40s, we grew up with Cobb and Co,” she says.
“We want to bring people back to a time where they share a good meal and a good laugh around the dining table, while making it easy for families to dine out.
“It’s what people fondly remember with some extras added, we’ve even got a vodka-based traffic light! That’s a nod to those of us who grew up with them.”
Cobb and Co Dunedin is linking back to its history with its new venue, the undeniably grandiose, Edwardian Baroque styled Dunedin Railway Station.
“Right through the whole Exchange area is the right fit for us,” Ange says.
“We are working on developing our site and alongside Heritage New Zealand we’ve developed an extended decking area in front of what we call the Long Room.
“Lawrie Forbes from Zeal Steel has provided some repurposed steel from the original 1800s railway bridge for our deck.”
The restaurant will also feature an amazing children’s area to take the hassle out of dining out
for young families.
Cobb and Co Dunedin is now looking for its team, with more than 40 staff coming on board, both full and part time.
“We’ll run quite a lot of part time shifts which will give flexibility for parents with young kids and students,” she says.
“It’s going to be an amazing place to work. The Cobb group is very much a family, supportive and respectful. And our restaurant is going to have incredibly modern systems, both back and front of house.”
She says these systems will help towards Cobb and Co’s goal of consistency throughout all existing and new sites.
“Whether you dine with us here in Dunedin, or in Rotorua or Taupo, you’re going to have the same great experience.”