One Saturday in October 1954 was my introduction to the Goody Goody. I was thirteen and a friend of mine and I were painting Halloween murals on O’Donnell’s Drug Store window for a contest. My father pulled up to the curb and told me that he and mom had bought the Goody Goody. So began the Connelly family’s venture into the restaurant business. By March 1955 I was carhopping and peeling potatoes. I have been working here ever since, and it’s the only job I’ve ever had.
By 1954 Goody Goody had been open for six years. It was owned by Cecil Thompson, who named it. I’ve been asked before many times how it got the name Goody Goody but I don’t really know. I’ve heard it was an expression of excitement or anticipation of a meal out. Johnny Mercer wrote the song Goody Goody in 1936, recorded by Benny Goodman and sung by Helen Ward. A phrase in the song “Goody Goody for you/Goody Goody for me” also could have been purpose enough to be used as a name.
The first business on this corner was in 1931.Mr. A.L. Vickery who owned the land opened the first A&WR oot Beer stand in St. Louis. It was open from March through October. There was a U-shaped counter with stools on both sides with a large root beer barrel at the point. There was carhop service as well as the inside seating. I am offering a $500 reward for a picture of the
original A&W Root Beer stand. With the increasing popularity of drive-up windows at fast food places, Goody Goody discontinued our carhop service in 1972.
Dad added the front addition along the sidewalk in 1957. This remodeling included the large, flashing Goody Goody sign. Our sign and the Budweiser sign along highway 40/64 downtown are part of just about five signs in St. Louis that go back tow hen the city allowed flashing neon signs.
The middle section of the building was built in 1968 just before I took over the business. My wife Laura and I built the two-story addition along with the lobby and the west dining room in August of 1990. The diner has a seating capacity of 112 people. Our full menu Carry-Out Dept. accounts for 27% of our business.
This neighborhood is rich in St. Louis food history. Besides this location having the first A&W, right next door was Melrose Pizzeria. The Fiore family first introduced pizza to St. Louis in 1946. Ed’s White Front BBQ (for many Rodger’s BBQ-1927) was located at the N.W. corner of Natural Bridge and Goodfellow. Another summer favorite place was Sam the Watermelon Man. Many celebrities like Bob Hope, that played the Fox and the Muny Opera, made Sam’s a regular St. Louis stop. Ted Drewes’ very first location in 1935 was just a 100 yards East of the Goody Goody.
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5900 Natural Bridge Ave., St Louis, MO 63120 • (314) 383-3333