By CARISSA ECONOMOS
Introduced to Tampa in 1925, Goody Goody Burger is back. Nested in the heart of Hyde Park Village,this diner-styled restaurant brings back old memories for Tampa natives and new ones for those who weren’t around to experience the original Goody Goody goodness.
Goody Goody Burger first opened on Grand Central Ave, which now merges with West Kennedy Boulevard. Throughout the next few years, it relocated a couple of times before permanently residing on North Florida Ave, just across from the Hillsborough River. Goody Goody remained in business for almost 75 years at this location until it closed its doors in 2005. Some Goody Goody veterans waiting in line said that the area that surrounded the old location had become more dangerous over the years and if they didn’t feel safe going over there, many others probably didn’t either — causing business to decline.
The new location on Swann Avenue opened at 7 a.m. on August 23rd and has been packed with hungry customers since. After driving by a few times and noticing a line out of the door, I finally decided to stop in. Their website offers a link to download Nowait, an app that allows you to add your name to their waiting list in advance and tells you how many parties are ahead of you, minimizing the wait time at the restaurant. I strongly recommend downloading this app, I added my name to the list two hours before I intended on eating and I still ended up waiting about 20 minutes. The wait, however, was well worth it.
The inside of the restaurant resembles an old-school diner with a modern twist, featuring seats at the counter as well as tables and booths. Displayed in front of the counter are their famous mouth-watering pies which you can purchase by the slice or the whole. The atmosphere of the restaurant was truly a walk down memory lane for many. The diner was filled with older customers, many of whom I overheard talking about the old Goody Goody and their experience there with their families when they were younger. On each table, there is a card from the new owner, Richard Gonzmart. In it, he says that he wants to bring back Goody Goody as he considers it an iconic restaurant that has shaped Tampa into what it is today. Goody Goody to him means “history, heritage, family and good food” and he wants to celebrate that with the rest of Tampa. He also promises to do everything he can to recreate the flavor and memory of Goody Goody, and to restore the way they used to prepare food in the old days, using fresh ingredients and not frozen fries or canned vegetables.
The restaurant itself is small, especially considering it’s high volume of customers, which could be a reason for the exceptionally long wait time. Once seated, however, I was able to order my food and drink within minutes, due to the friendly and highly attentive staff.
While Goody Goody offers a menu with a wide variety of options, they are famous for a few things: burgers, pies and fries. Their staple menu item is the Goody Goody Burger POX, which stands for it’s three toppings: pickles, onions and a delicious secret sauce that remains nameless. To get the classic Goody Goody experience, I ordered the Goody Goody Burger POX with fries and a rootbeer float. Their ice cream comes from Old Meeting House, a local Tampa ice cream wholesaler that used to be a diner as well. My food took no more than five minutes to arrive at my table, and I was pleasantly surprised. The server noticed my reaction to the speedy delivery and looked at me and said “We don’t mess around here, honey”, before smiling at me and handing me the rest of my order. Within the first bite, I could tell that Gonzmart accomplished what he set out to do. The seasoned fries tasted like they had been made fresh just for me, and the burger reminded me of the homemade ones my family made for barbeques. I finished my meal in the same amount of time that it took to get to me, and I loved every bite of it. What had seemed like a long wait to be seated, was easily forgotten once I tasted the food.
Whether you are a Tampa native or new to the area, Goody Goody Burger is a must. Not only do they serve lunch and dinner, but also breakfast all day, starting at 7 a.m. Having already been open for three weeks, this diner is still packed with eager customers, some new and some old. Goody Goody is college budget friendly, so stop in and see what many Tampanians are raving about.
Carissa Economos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org