Make us your home page
Instagram

Iconic Goody Goody restaurant returning to Tampa

TAMPA — Longtime Tampa residents get misty-eyed when you mention Goody Goody, the iconic restaurant known for its pies and bags of hamburgers "POX" — that's pickles, onions and the fabled secret sauce. On Monday restaurateur Richard Gonzmart announced he is bringing it all back in a new Goody Goody.

"My earliest memories were the Columbia and Goody Goody. It was a big deal to go sit in your car and the lady would come up and take your order and you'd eat inside the car and listen to the radio," said Gonzmart, the Columbia Restaurant Group's fourth generation co-owner and president, who opened the acclaimed Ulele earlier this year.

After nine years of off-and-on negotiations, Gonzmart purchased rights to the Goody Goody name from Michael Wheeler of Tampa, who had owned it since 1981. The deal also includes the recipe to the restaurant's famous "secret sauce" and some furniture, including the distinctive Goody Goody sign.

Gonzmart is still considering Tampa locations, but he plans to open in 2015. His aim is somewhere close to the second and longest-lasting Goody Goody, which was on Florida Avenue, opened in 1930 and demolished in 2006. He is considering a second location at the airport but acknowledges details are still sketchy.

"Life's like a game of Monopoly — you're trying to build on Boardwalk over Baltic Avenue. But at this stage of my life branching out outside of where I live is not what interests me. I'd rather preserve and invest in the city," he said. "All I want to do is save the brand. I feel like the caretaker."

Gonzmart tinkered for years trying to perfect the sauce ("there's no mayo, it's more like a tomato puree"), but says Goody Goody's pies are what linger in his memories ("they were known for their butterscotch, but I liked the coconut cream"). But what he really hopes to bring back is a way of life.

"It's a throwback to yesteryear when everything was good and people were happy, and there weren't any cellphones and people not talking," Gonzmart says, adding jokingly, "I learned so much from watching Andy of Mayberry."

Regardless of the initial location, former owner Wheeler is pleased with the outcome.

"When the property was sold back in 2005, we were terribly disappointed when the new owners wanted the business to vacate the premises immediately. But Richard Gonzmart's passion for reopening the Goody Goody and the detail he puts into all of his projects means that there will be new life for (it)."

Gonzmart says that although it has been gone for nearly 10 years, "if you're from Tampa and you're my age then you know Goody Goody."

What will the resurrection mean in the face of so many new contemporary restaurants in Tampa? According to Betty Zistler, 84, Tampa born and raised, it's returning a little piece of history to the city.

"What I remember most fondly is that in the 1940s my father loved it. He was an automobile mechanic and never had a lot of extra spending money. That was his one big splurge, to go and get his butterscotch pie. At that time it was a treat to drive from Seminole Heights to get a piece of pie or a hamburger."

Will she be making the trek to the new Goody Goody?

"Oh, we'll definitely do that."

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Gonzmart's growing empire

• Columbia Restaurant Group, which includes 5 restaurants and 2 cafes

• Ulele Native-Inspired Foods & Spirits in Tampa Heights

• Cha Cha Coconuts in Sarasota

• Goody Goody, to open in Tampa in 2015

Iconic Goody Goody restaurant returning to Tampa 10/20/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 12:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Can you eat a jack-o'-lantern? And other thoughts on cooking with whole pumpkins

    Cooking

    The pumpkin is sweating, and so am I.

    I've got my knife an inch into the watermelon-sized orb, which is staring at me all like, "I'm too cute to be dinner!"

    Pumpkin with farro, cranberries and walnuts is good hot or cold.
  2. The upcoming Han Solo movie is called ... 'Solo'

    Blogs

    I hope you know what you're doing, Star Wars.

  3. Percussionist rocks out with a blazing triangle solo during Florida Orchestra performance

    Blogs

    Oh, the poor triangle. It's the orchestra equivalent of a rock band's tamborine, and such easy fodder for jokes.

    John Shaw performs a triangle solo.
  4. Andy Serkis' directing debut 'Breathe' is not so inspiring

    Movies

    After such a revolutionary acting career, Andy Serkis should be expected to make an equally inventive directing debut. Breathe is anything but that.

    Clare Foy and Andrew Garfield star in Breathe as Robin and Diana Cavendish, an English polio victim and his devoted wife, who pioneered disability rights and wheelchairs with ventilators. [Imaginarium]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 18

    Events

    Dali and Schiaparelli: Opening Day: A retrospective exhibit of designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations with Dali. It features gowns, accessories, sketches, objects and photos, as well as new designs from the House of Schiaparelli. Remains on display through Jan. 14. 10 a.m., Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd. …