TAMPA — Ever since Richard Gonzmart bought the dormant Goody Goody brand name last year, he’s been scouting across Tampa Bay for the perfect site to build a reincarnation of the beloved drive-in burger brand.
Now the patriarch of the Columbia Restaurant Group says he’s found a spot in the heart of South Tampa: Hyde Park Village at 1601 W. Swann Ave., at Swann and South Dakota Avenue, directly next to CinéBistro. There’s no official opening date yet, but construction could begin soon.
Fans of the original Goody Goody sites will find plenty of old favorites, including the “Secret Sauce” for burgers, along with the house-made ice cream pies, including the signature butterscotch pie. While the original Goody Goody operated as a drive-in for decades, this location will be a “fast-casual” style, with table service.
“I’m ecstatic to bring back this Tampa tradition,” Gonzmart said in a statement. “We’ve lost too many of these iconic places over the years and I really did not want the name to just fade away into history. Goody Goody is one of those places that helped create Tampa’s identity. At the Columbia Restaurant, which marks its 110th anniversary this year — as does Hyde Park Village — we celebrate history, heritage, family and good food. That’s what this restaurant means to me.”
This will mark the second new restaurant coming to Hyde Park Village. Sometime this summer, the casual “bartaco” Mexican restaurant is expected to open adjacent to Wine Exchange.
To lead the Goody Goody project, Gonzmart recruited well-known Tampa restaurateur Marc Zudar as the operating partner.
For decades, Goody Goody had been a neighborhood burger joint where many people in Tampa still remember going as kids, Gonzmart among them.
Born just a few blocks away from the Goody Goody location on Florida Avenue near downtown Tampa, Gonzmart said he himself distinctly remembers the taste of those burgers, and their special sauce, and the scratch-made pies, and he even remembers the feel of the chairs. For years, he kept Goody Goody’s phone number on speed dial so he could make a take-out order and pick up burgers on the way home from work.
When the chain shut down more than a decade ago, Gonzmart started plotting a revival. He negotiated with the former operators, and in October 2014 he bought the brand, plus the recipes and even the furniture and sign that were rusting in a salvage yard. (The original building has since been taken down.)
Gonzmart diligently stoked buzz about the project. In recent months, he posted a question on Facebook about where the first new Goody Goody site should go, and asked people to send in memories, and maybe join a tasting team to review potential menu items.
Meanwhile, Hyde Park Village is going through a renaissance of its own. In 2013, the Boston-based company WS Development acquired the open-air mall, and has since been shuffling retail tenants and adding new ones.
Last year, the Connecticut-based restaurant “bartaco”cqsigned up to go into a dormant, wedge-shaped, glass-walled space at the heart of the center, and construction is now underway for a potential summer opening.
Though not widely known, the new site for the Goody Goody in Hyde Park Village has parking behind the building.
Gonzmart did not disclose a time line for when the new Goody Goody site could open, but it follows a string of other projects he’s launching, including the new Ulele restaurant he opened on the Hillsborough River and a yet-to-open Italian restaurant he plans in Ybor City called Casa Santo Stefano, almost across the street from Gonzmart’s main operation, the Columbia Restaurant.