Restaurant News & Reviews

Coba Cocina closes after three years of operation

The dining room at Coba Cocina in Lexington in August 2013. The restaurant, known for its jellyfish aquarium, closed in 2016. Now a Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse is moving in.
The dining room at Coba Cocina in Lexington in August 2013. The restaurant, known for its jellyfish aquarium, closed in 2016. Now a Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse is moving in. Herald-Leader

Coba Cocina, the restaurant on Richmond Road known for its jellyfish tank, golden dome and elaborate architecture, has closed.

The Lexington-based Greer Companies announced Tuesday morning that the restaurant had closed immediately after three years of operation. The 400-seat restaurant opened in March 2013, serving Latin-inspired food in a Las Vegas atmosphere.

At the time, Coba Cocina was considered a prototype for a potential restaurant chain.

Developer Lee Greer said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the restaurant “was my baby. I wanted so much for this to work. ... It’s the hardest day of my career.

“In business the model has to work, and that model is just a very large, expensive model.”

Greer said that perhaps Coba would have worked in a larger city: “I’m not making excuses. It didn’t work, and that’s on me,” he said. “We’ll regroup and fight again.”

Patrons may rest assured that the jellyfish that were Coba’s centerpiece attraction will continue to be cared for and given a new home. Greer said that a marine biologist will continue to care for the jellyfish until a home is found for them, he hopes at a place like the Newport Aquarium.

A news release from the restaurant said: “We would like to sincerely thank our loyal guests and we will greatly miss serving each of you; the people who made every day so special. We are also grateful to have had such an amazing and talented staff. Every greeting, every meal prepared, every guest served and every smile were infused with passion from our team that worked hard every day to make Coba great. We will miss each and every person and hope to work with each one again soon. To our staff, ‘thank you.’”

Greer later said that Coba employees received a severance package when the restaurant closed and were urged to apply at other Greer restaurants nearby — the two Lexington Cheddar’s restaurants and Willie’s Locally Known.

The news release said Coba gift cards carrying a balance will be accepted at those three restaurants.

The Greer Companies operates 44 Cheddar’s Casual Cafes in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. It is also a franchisee of Hilton, Marriott and the Intercontinental Hotel Group.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman

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