Bonnie's for breakfast and lunch
By Bonnie Cobb
I was real close to saying yes to buy the Coffee Cup (formally known as Folsoms Soda Fountain) but I needed to hire a waitress that I knew and trusted BEFORE I could seal the deal! Jane (Fey) Holcomb and I were the wives of fireman at the time. At a gathering I started asking the other wives where to start looking. Jane jumped at the opportunity.
The first day of business was November 19, 1984 and it was opening day of shotgun season. Before 5am the restaurant was full of hungry hunters in their blaze orange. We weren’t the only breakfast place in town that was full. The Corner Restaurant and the Methodist Church had as many or more hunters ready for a big meal before the hunt. I was ever so thankful that my family had gotten up early to be with me this very first day. I wasn’t prepared for this many customers and the other cook didn’t show. My Mom, Yvonne Cobb stepped up to man the grill, my brother Greg Cobb made sure that the coffee cups were full. Jane and I got the orders to the kitchen and then helped Mom. What a morning! Those were the days!
In 1990, I had the opportunity to rent space on Genesee Street. After the start of renovations, I decided that it might be best to buy the building where BONNIE’S going to be. Jan Fiore was the owner and with her help we made it happen. After week’s renovations with hired hands, volunteers and with the help of friends and family, BONNIE’S was opened in February of 1991. Once again we were not prepared for the days ahead and family came through to help. The dishwasher didn’t work right and Mom had to do dishes. We were so busy that she had to help buss tables as well. Dad, Don Cobb, would give mom a break and come wash dishes on the weekend. You hear the phase ‘location, location, location!’ it is so true. The business double and it sent me scrambling to hire more help. Jane and I had been able to handle all but 2 days by ourselves since that first day in 1984 (except when she was out on maternity leave). I had to close Sundays for a while so that we could at least have a day off. It was during this time that I hired Toniann (Belmonte) Kirby to wash dishes.
In 2008 we did some updating with a new and bigger counter, new equipment in the kitchen including a 6’ flat top grill, new floor coverings and new cupboards. In 2012 we made big changes with a high tech ordering sytem that allows the waitress to come to the table with a tablet or phone to record your order and send it directly to the kitchen without having to walk to the kitchen. AMBUR has saved hours of paperwork and has decreased mistakes. The cook no longer has to decipher handwriting or shorthand.
I’ve hired many and fired few. I’ve had many great employees. Toniann wanted to be more than a dishwasher, so I trained her in the kitchen. She became the best short order cook! Jane became ill with lung cancer and died (7/2008) 365 days after she was diagnosed. I still miss her as we had worked together since 1984. Toniann retired at the beginning of 2014 as she was having problems with her wrists. She was with me since the March of 1991. She is now doing business on the internet with Ebay and her wrists are finally pain free! All of 3 of my nieces, Ashley Boyce, Amanda Boyce and Elizabeth (Lizz) Cobb and my nephew, Josh Cobb, have worked for me at one time or another. My sister, Teresa Thurston waitressed weekends for a couple years as well as made pies for me in the days at the Coffee Cup. Her husband Mike has washed many dishes on the weekend. My sister-in-law Alice Cobb has helped in the kitchen and always lends an ear when I need to talk. My husband, Bob Nesbitt, has been my maintenance guy, Mr Fix it, bussed tables and a great listener! Mom has washed dishes, bussed tables, helped people find a table, chatted with customers about the Village of Greene and has been there every step of the way! Mindy Best has been my full time, part time helper when I need a fill in. If I were to name all the employees, I know that I would miss someone important, so I won’t even try. 30 years is a long time to be in customer service and I have enjoyed every day of it.
Earlier this year, I was looking for help and reached out to my niece, Lizz, who knew many from college that were looking for jobs. Her reply was “I know 2 people actually and you know them very well. Ed (her fiancé as of 11/20/14) and I have been seriously talking about buying BONNIE’S in the next few years”. That was in May of this year (2014) and here we are making it happen now. Elizabeth (Lizz) and Ed will be taking over December 1. We are all excited. I can still come and help them when they are short handed and will continue to help them with the back office paperwork..
Thank you just doesn’t seem to be a big enough word for thanking you, the patron, for the last 30 years of your patronage and support. I can only hope that you will continue to support Lizz and Ed as they continue with what I started at BONNIE’S. They have many great ideas and are full of energy. They love to bake and will be adding more house baked breads and deserts. This is not really a good-bye, it’s just another chapter in this book that we call life. I’m excited about what will be in the next chapter.
The best breakfast in town, Bonnie's aims to provide on-the-go individuals with a sanctuary for socializing and relaxation. Equipped with Wi-Fi, and a combination of tables and bar, Bonnie's is perfect for any personal, social or professional activity.