Cobb Lane Restaurant
The restaurant, which featured Southern cuisine, grew out of a dress shop founded in 1948 by Virginia Cobb. Mrs Cobb moved her lower-price clothing to the downstairs space, accessed from the brick-paved alley behind the shop. She began hosting knitting groups in that space, and found that many of them brought tea sandwiches as refreshments. She was inspired to provide her own cucumber, cream cheese and onion sandwiches for customers and gradually expanded the downstairs space into a tea room that also displayed gifts and knick-knacks for sale.
The tea room, soon called Cobb's Corner Cupboard continued to attract lunch business, so Cobb expanded it into adjacent spaces, including a shaded outdoor courtyard, and added more substantial dishes to the menu. The establishment soon became known for stuffed crab and she-crab soup, along with chicken supreme and other signature dishes. For dessert, her chocolate roulage was enormously popular. The interior accommodated 100 diners, with another 80 in the courtyard.
The street, previously an unnamed alley, was renamed in Cobb's honor in 1982. She passed away in 1987 and Mikki Bond took over operation of the restaurant. Bond published a cookbook featuring the restaurant's best-known recipes in 1995.
Tim Kreider took over ownership about 1997. He kept head chef Ovetta Rowe, but reduced the kitchen's operating hours to lunch only. Mike Ragsdale purchased it from him in 2004 and resumed evening hours and Sunday brunches, adding special cocktails to the menu and booking live jazz entertainers.
Ragsdale envisioned making Cobb Lane Restaurant the centerpiece of a chain of Southern-food restaurants, but instead sold the business to chef Jeff Stykowski. After months of slow business beginning in 2008, Stykowski was forced to close the restaurant on January 31, 2009.
- "Eating Out" (September 19, 1975) Anniston Star
- Mahoney, Ryan (May 21, 2004) "New owner will revive Southside's Cobb Lane." Birmingham Business Journal
- "A History of Cobb Lane", Cobb Lane Gallery website - accessed January 2, 2007
- O'Hara, Jo Ellen (January 11, 2008) "Birmingham's Cobb Lane Restaurant marks 60th anniversary with wine dinner." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (January 23, 2009) "Cobb Lane Restaurant to close at the end of the month, owner says." The Birmingham News