Big changes, plans in store at Coby’s

Times Journal

By Jim Poole

 

Coby’s, the Main Street, Cobleskill café, is under new management.

It’s still run by CAS––Cobleskill Auxiliary Services––but Coby’s has a new operations manager in Jay Wood and a new chef in Gianni Mordocco.

Both have big plans for the café, which serves breakfast and lunch on weekdays and dinners Thursday and Friday.

“We’re going to have more specials to feature Gianni’s talents, and we’re going to upgrade our products and add more variety,” said Mr. Wood, a 1983 SUNY Cobleskill grad.

Coby’s opened in 2008 under the auspices of SUNY Cobleskill and its associate, CAS. It was a key part of village’s downtown revitalization and also gave college students a chance to display their culinary skills.

“It’s been very popular,” Mr. Wood said. “Folks appreciate it, and kids get an opportunity.”

Mr. Mordocco, 29, is a 2002 Cobleskill-Richmondville graduate and worked seven years in his parents’ Pasta and Grill in Middleburgh.

“I was born into it, but I really like it,” he said.

Mr. Mordocco called his new job a challenge, and he’s looking to improve the menu and make sure the café “targets the public more than college students.”

New salads, fresh fruit, portabella mushrooms, pasta dishes and more are on the way, Mr. Mordocco said.

“They’ve been focusing on subs,” he said. “Jay and I want the menu to be broader––salads, fruit and specials.

“And I’m big on design. To me, presentation is half the battle.”

He’s especially looking forward to daily lunch specials.

“I want people to be calling to see what we have,” Mr. Modocco said. “We want them to keep coming back.”

Besides working on breakfasts and lunches, Mr. Mordocco will be working with new chef Chris German, who’ll be handling the Thursday and Friday dinners.

He’ll also be working with Mr. Wood in planning the featured Second Saturday dinners. On the second Saturday of each month, five courses will be paired with different wines or beers, Mr. Wood said.

The first, on September 13, will have an Italian theme. The second, on October 11, will feature local foods paired with New York microbrews.

“We want it to be local as much as we can,” Mr. Wood said of the October dinner.

Mr. Wood will be in Coby’s kitchen lending a hand at times. That’s where his experience is.

After earning his Culinary Arts degree from SUNY Cobleskill, Mr. Wood was an executive chef at hotels, and then he went into college dining in 1999. He did that for 10 years before a short stint in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2009.

“Wilmington was nice, but I really missed New York,” said Mr. Wood, a Summit native.

He returned to be the chef and manager at SUNY Delhi for four years before taking his current position, which also includes managing the Prentice dining hall.

Mr. Mordocco has an associate’s degree in business from Herkimer and bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Together, the two men aim to make Coby’s a destination for diners.

“We have big plans for this place,” Mr. Wood said. “We have a lot to grow on.”

Coby’s is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 4; Thursday and Friday dinners are served from 6 to 9.