You can’t replace your high school yearbook photo but you can turn back time at Goody Goody. Just the name puts a smile on my face.
Owner Richard Gonzmart combines hard-knocks practicality and artistic learning into a beloved time capsule for Tampa tastes. The bright, hipster café sports its original “est. 1925 Famous Hamburgers’’ sign, serves $5 burgers POX (with pickles, onions and barbecue sauce) and you get change from a dollar bill for a cup of Ybor City Naviera coffee.
“Food and music take you back to a time when life was wonderful, when people sat at a table talking to another without texting,’’ muses Gonzmart. His cell phone, which rings with the sounds of Andy of Mayberry (when a sheriff wore no gun), shows his love of yesteryear.
Gonzmart picked the Hyde Park Village location because he likes the energy of the neighborhood and that the Hyde Park community started in 1905 (the same as his iconic Columbia Restaurant). Its location is a refuge from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown yet close to the original, Grand Central location.
Chief Marketing Officer Michael Kilgore says that during the past year, they had about 40 public tastings with six to 20 people.
“We took all their comments to heart to get to where we are today. I think people will be wowed by our all-day breakfasts,’’ says Kilgore, who also praises the meatloaf, fried chicken and salads.
“After 10 years in negotiation to get the recipe book, I was excited,’’ says Gonzmart, but enthusiasm dipped when he learned there were three recipes, for the “special’’ tomato-y barbecue sauce that many remember. Painstakingly working through at least 20 grills to achieve perfection, he finally struck burger bliss.
Gonzmart obsesses to achieve the American dream.
“Our meat is Florida raised and Florida bred from a five-generation rancher,’’ he adds. Everything in the kitchen is from the USA, except for bananas from Honduras and Costa Rica.
He uses the phrase, Koom Essa – Goot Essa from the original place that translates as “come eat good food.’’
That can be said about Gonzmart’s dozen choices for his “art of eggs.’’ Soft, medium, medium- well, or well are scrambled options) that nap ham steak, sausage or bacon with a warm blanket of gravy. The pizza-size pancakes hit it out of the park (maybe meant for sharing with a baseball team).
Recreating the butterscotch pie is Gonzmart’s biggest concern as tastes have changed since the Twenties. Today’s tasters preferred a custardy, and less gooey, filling.
The chocolate, banana and coconut cream wedges steal the after-dinner show. You’ll be tempted to polish off all on your own.
Gonzmart knows all too well:
“I gained 24 pounds from eating pie last year,’’ he says.
Goody Goody Burgers
1601 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, FL
Photos by Mary Scourtes Greacen