Courtesy of Andrea Bennett
From a love for grilled cheese sandwiches and Ohio State, Gooeyz was born.
Gooeyz is a grilled cheese sandwich restaurant and bar located in the South Campus Gateway on High Street. Husband and wife, Dave and Lanne Bennett, own Gooeyz and opened the restaurant in August 2010.
Both are OSU alumni, and Dave Bennett has lived in Ohio his whole life.
Lanne Bennett moved to Columbus for college and was a varsity cheerleader at OSU. She said it was a memorable experience.
“OSU is my family and Dave and I both are still very involved with OSU cheer and the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer,” Lanne Bennett said.
When Dave Bennett went to school at OSU, there was no Gateway, but he said he and Lanne Bennett saw the potential.
“We really just saw a void on South Campus,” Dave Bennett said. “We kept going back to this vision of this late-night sandwich place. When it’s a late night, you’re out with friends and everything and you just want to eat the greatest thing you have ever had.”
One might say he has cheese running through his veins.
“I ate a grilled cheese sandwich, my mom made me one every morning for breakfast from the time I was about 8 to until I was finishing up high school,” Dave Bennett said.
With their strong connections to OSU, the location of their restaurant was a no-brainer. Gooeyz is located at 1554 N. High St.
Dave Bennett said that neither he nor Lanne have any professional culinary experience, but said he and Lanne Bennett have been successful at the business.
“We know what tastes good, and we weren’t put in a box of what you can and can’t do,” Dave Bennett said. “We were told over and over and over again that you can’t make a good grilled cheese fast, that it’s just not possible, it has to have time on the grill and you have to put it in a pan.”
Despite the doubts of others, the grilled cheese sandwiches at Gooeyz are made in about five minutes.
Additionally, when it comes to the Bennetts’ kitchen, almost everything is made from scratch. They try to stay as local and homemade as possible. The bread is baked using their own recipe, the ingredients come in fresh and all of their spreads are made from scratch.
“You may feel bad that you’re eating a gut bomb or something like that, but you’re eating wholesome, fresh ingredients,” Dave Bennett said.
This local sense carries over into the artwork in the restaurant, which was done by local artist Jason Amatangelo, the same man who made some of the Brutus statues around campus, including Archie, Liberty and Mad Hatter Brutus. Amatangelo constructed the oversize Gooeyz frying pan that hangs on the wall and painted the cheese splatter that decorates the floor.
Creativity was key to creating some elements of the restaurant, including the combinations of food.
When it came time to create the sandwiches, the Bennetts wanted to sell more than just grilled cheese, and that is where some creative combinations began to form.
Lanne Bennett created the three cheese artichoke spread for on the Gobble Gooeyz, one of the only sandwiches that uses spinach instead of lettuce. The menu is filled with some memorable names such as the Baba Gooeyz, which is a take on the chicken or lamb gyro and the Buffalouie Gooeyz, a buffalo chicken sandwich.
Some students enjoy the variety of food and the homemade feel of Gooeyz.
“It’s a good place to get food and drinks and just have a good time,” said Alex Adams, a third-year in political science.
Adams said that her favorite sandwich is the Hawaiian one, the O’ahuie Gooeyz.
Kate Larson, a fifth-year in international studies, said she loves the Regular Valuey sandwich, a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, with the tomato soup.
“It’s the best alternate to going home to your parents,” Larson said. “I think it’s is awesome, and I’m a fan of grilled cheese.”
Dave Bennett said he liked the fact someone has to tell you about Gooeyz for you to find it, making them a well-kept secret.
“It’s like a catch-22, we drive enough sales to make money but we like that you have to hear from someone about Gooeyz,” he said.
The “hidden” bar is another element of the restaurant. The Hideout is a casual bar that usually attracts a relaxed crowd, Dave Bennett said. He added that with the new late night hours (the bar is open until 2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday), the bar has gotten a good reaction.
Dave Bennett said Gooeyz has open mic night on Mondays, karaoke on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays and live music Thursdays through Saturdays. Thursday night is also half-off craft beers, of which Gooeyz has 31, according to its website.
Gooeyz’s kitchen is open Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, Thursday 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.