Adam Cyrocki holds a pan of various flavors of bagels made fresh that morning at Shorty’s Kibby Cobb Deli, 2628 Kibby Road, Jackson.
At first glance, it can’t be right.
Not the food, not the drinks, but the name of the place: Shorty’s Kibby Cobb Deli.
Because when Shorty stands up straight, he measures 6 foot 7inches.
Adam Cyrocki smiled, then explained his nickname goes back to growing up in Michigan Center, where the boy next door was also named Adam. That Adam was a couple years older and, at that time, taller, so their fathers started calling one Adam and the other Shorty to distinguish the two friends.
There is another important element to distinguish Shorty’s Kibby Cobb Deli, 2628 Kibby Road, from other Jackson eateries. Longtime Jackson residents – or those who have heard the stories of famous restaurants here – will remember the Cyrocki name. Mary and Stan Cyrocki owned and operated the Viking Steak House, 801 E. Michigan Ave., from 1957 until 1999.
That’s after Mary Cyrocki worked at another famous local restaurant, the Regent Café. Their son Gerard worked at the Viking and so did Adam as a bus boy from third grade until after high school.
“Dad is the one who wrote down grandma’s recipes,” said Cyrocki, 39. Many are now served in the deli he opened five years ago, including the Viking bar cheese, rice pudding, golumbki, pulled pork and ribs. The meats and casseroles, including macaroni and cheese, are usually weekend fare and a large sign near the edge of Kibby Road notifies folks when those are ready for purchase.
“Dad helped me a lot when I got started,” said Cyrocki about his father who died two years ago. “The only thing he asked me was, why I was getting back into the food service business.”
Cyrocki worked in construction after graduating from Lumen Christi Catholic School in 1996 but an injury and then back surgery had him rethinking his line of work. As luck would have it, he and a buddy were doing work for Chad Kennedy, former owner of Kibby Cobb Market, and he mentioned to Cyrocki he wanted to sell the store and deli.
“Chad helped teach me how to make bagels and I slowly added more food items to the menu,” he said.
Bagels are made fresh every morning, and Tammy Eggleston, an employee counted 15 different flavors one weekday morning. She said the “everything, asiago and pretzel” bagels are very popular, but really, they all are. Some people stop by and buy a bag of bagels and choose between nine different spreads to take to work. For others, they ask for a bagel sandwich either for breakfast or lunch/dinner and take it to go or eat there.
“I came in for a Mambo Italiano and cup of tomato soup,” said Bruce Inosencio of Vandercook, a regular because of the quality of food and “because everyone is happy here.” The Mambo includes salami, pastrami, ham and mortadella with lettuce, tomato, provolone and homemade “bird sauce” on a ciabatta roll.
Thursday and Friday are very busy days, but Jessica Lewis, another employee, is busy all week baking cookies and making three to four soups every day. White chicken chili, potato and ham and buffalo chicken are all popular soups.
“I used to work in a factory and then I was introduced to Adam and here I am,” said Lewis, employed there seven months. “It’s a laid-back environment and lots of good people.”
Cyrocki said he learned from his grandmother how to make customers feel special.
“She knew where people liked to sit, what they wanted to drink. She was an excellent hostess and never liked it if people didn’t work hard for her,” said Cyrocki, adding the Viking had between 40 and 50 employees to handle all the business.
And now he wants customers to appreciate his own attention to detail, as he makes his niche in the Jackson food market.