WELLS-GOODFELLOW – It’s been nearly six months since a north side tradition went up in flames. The Goody Goody Diner endured a kitchen fire that left many wondering what would be next.
That’s the bad news.
The good Goody Goody news is that the St. Louis institution and landmark may reopen by the end of the year. That’s according to the diner’s cheery and beloved host Sylvester Bell.
The hope is to reopen in December, if not November, Bell revealed in a telephone interview with The NorthSider.
Whenever it is, “it’s going to be a big story,” Bell said.
“So many people have asking me,” he added.
Bell said he didn’t know any more than that, but he knows he’s ready to return.
“I’m looking forward to going back; I can’t wait,” he said. “I’m just waiting for them to reopen, which should be shortly.”
In the meantime, Bell has been concentrating on marketing and selling his book, “Believe to Achieve.”
His book is full of positive messages, just like those he is known for offering to customers entering the Goody Goody Diner.
Like many patrons, Bell’s favorite dish at the diner is the chicken and waffles.
A kitchen-contained fire caused the diner, at 5900 Natural Bridge, to close in April.
Owner Ryan Safi, on the diner’s Facebook page, publicly credited St. Louis City firefighters and police with keeping the fire, deemed accidental, from spreading to other areas.
Many of the firefighters and officers, Safi said, were regulars.
“I hate to report that [fire at Goody Goody]. I eat here quite often,” firefighter Leon Whitener told reporters at the scene.
Facebook has been the go-to place for expressions of disappointment and sympathy, as well as questions regarding the diner’s progress toward reopening.
This post appeared in April on the diner’s Facebook page:
“Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who have reached out to us during this difficult time. Your prayers, kind words and wishes are appreciated more than you know. Please continue to check out our Facebook page for further updates. We love and miss you all!”
It was also through the diner’s social media page that two area restaurateurs offered Goody Goody workers employment until its reopening.
Matt Quinlisk, owner of the Breakaway Cafe, about 3 miles up the road at 8418 Natural Bridge, in Bel-Nor, offered employment and began serving breakfast.
“They are not normally open for breakfast, so this is a phenomenal gesture on the part of Breakaway Cafe to help them,” commenter Dawn Quinn Farrar responded on the Facebook page.
The Breakaway Cafe primarily serves Italian food and is known for its Cajun shrimp pasta.
Goody Goody serves breakfast and lunch, with such offerings as Southern-style chicken and waffles, catfish breakfast, chili, burgers, roast beef and fried chicken entrees.
The classic diner first opened in 1948. It was sold in 1954 to Richard Connelly, whose family owned it until 2014, when Safi purchased it.