Cochran takes the reins at the Recovery Room
New London — Jack Cochran, the controversial former head football coach at New London High School who won eight state championships in a storied career here and elsewhere in Connecticut, has taken over ownership of the Recovery Room Restaurant on Ocean Avenue.
Rumors had been circulating for weeks that Cochran would be buying the restaurant. But Cochran said Wednesday that reports he had current NFL tight end Jordan Reed, a former player at NLHS under Cochran, as a business partner were not true.
"I would never ask for any friend or player for any help," Cochran said in a phone interview. "I am the sole owner."
Cochran said he had some experience in restaurants, having been a dishwasher, waiter and bartender earlier in life. But he has never run a restaurant before, and has spent several weeks under the wing of previous owner Jack Cultrera learning the ropes in anticipation of the official change in ownership that occurred last weekend.
Cochran added that Cultrera will stay onboard for an unspecified period of time at the restaurant to help in the transition. Everyone in the kitchen also is staying on, he said, as is general manager Dana Marelli.
"It's a well-established place," Cochran said. "It's a well-oiled machine."
Cochran was fired from his previous football coaching job in New London for violating Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rules regarding baseball practices after he was chosen to lead a second high school sport in the city. He also in the past has generated controversy for running up the score in high school football blowouts.
Cochran last coached in 2013 at Harding High School in Bridgeport, lasting only a few months until his dismissal for unspecified reasons. He had reportedly missed at least one game because of a health issue.
Cochran reported Wednesday that he has been looking for a restaurant to buy for the past eight years. He liked the idea of the Recovery Room being only a block from his home in the city.
"I know football and I know food," Cochran said. "I like to eat."
The Recovery Room, which Cochran said dates back to the early 1970s, is located near Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, hence the tongue-in-cheek name. Richard and Sheila Cash, the original owners, sold the business 12 years ago to Cultrera.
Cochran said he has taken a hands-on approach to learning the business, including Cultrera's special recipes.
"I'd like to make a great run at this," Cochran said. "Just keep everything consistent — that's the No. 1 goal."
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