The return of 'Goody Goody'

Restaurant executives travel the country searching for the next hit eatery.  They want to find the magic combination of menu and atmosphere that will bring people in.  But a new restaurant coming to Tampa comes with a story from way back.

"It's about generational things," said Tampa restaurant guru Richard Gonzmart. "It's about celebrating life every day over a single hamburger and a piece of pie."

It comes from a place in Gonzmart's memory called 'Goody Goody.'

EARLY BURGERS

In 1925, Goody Goody opened in Tampa. It was the first drive-in restaurant in the Southeast. It featured hamburgers topped with a secret sauce and all kinds of pies served to your car.

"It's fond memories of going there with my mom and dad sitting in the car," continued Gonzmart.

He's bringing Goody Goody back on Swann Avenue in Old Hyde Park Village, part of the redevelopment of that once-bustling, high-end shopping spot in South Tampa. Like most any restaurant venture, it's a risk.

ON A ROLL

Gonzmart, whose family started Tampa's famous Columbia Restaurant in 1905, has expanded that brand and is introducing others. He's fresh off a hit with Ulele, built from the ruins of an old city water building in a long-dormant neighborhood in Tampa Heights.

"The Waterworks, when I did that, my wife, brother, my CFO -- everyone said I'd lost my mind," he laughed.

But his near obsession with the legend of the Native American princess Ulele caught fire and translated to lines of diners waiting to get in to the eatery.

EAT LIKE IT'S 1925

Gonzmart believes the gold in Goody Goody lies in secrets from the past.

"I want to do what a hamburger really was back in 1925 when Goody Goody started," he explained. "It's before there were preservatives in the bread and hormones and antibiotics in our meats."

Pulling an old menu out of a box of relics from the old Goody Goody, Gonzmart smiled at the price of a hamburger: 20 cents. He can't match the prices, but he promises to bring back the goodness of Goody Goody.

He hopes to open by late 2015.

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