the Goody-Goody! (Tampa)
- andy huse
The Goody Goody was the first drive-in restaurant east of the Mississippi River, opening in 1925. It has seen the rise and fall of downtown Tampa, the depression, WW2, and a million little local dramas.
Most people, even in Tampa, don't know that it is still open. It closed its door for a few months in 1984, but one of the former car-hops (the term is said to be invented there) just couldn't retire. Instead, she re-opened the restaurant with her son (the only workers) and continues to make the same burgers, fries and pies.
The burgers are about the best i've had, and the most different. The meat is good, ground coarsely and very tender. This burger does not resist the teeth. The special sauce is tomato based, with onion and garlic--- I always ask for it "a little sloppy," which at the GG means extra sauce. They don't dress it up fancy with fixings, just the sauce and pickles.
The sides are small and average, so i usually save room for their legendary pie. I've interviewed a lot of old-timers for my book, and they've all told me to try their pie. I once had an 80-year old man almost jump out of his seat and exclaim, "Get yourself some pie, man!" as if he was a 16 year old boy. The butterscotch pie is the most cherished, and i can see why. I finally tried it a couple weeks ago, and it isn't a cloying butterscotch, but a wonderful kind of buttery, slight chocolate flavor covered with a layer of meringue. There are other flavors, and milkshakes and such, using the same OLD recipes, but i'll never try them as long as some butterscotch is still around.
This is a restaurant that deserves any business it gets. They do enough to make it worthwhile but no more. It hasn't changed since the 50s, except that it has gotten a little run down--- but you wouldn't know it from the burgers or pie!
1119 Florida ave just north of downtown--- give em a call for directions!