It’s better to light the grill than curse the darkness.
Less than two months after Gooeyz pulled the plug on its neon sign and vacated its location in the South Campus Gateway, the bar and restaurant has set up camp at Woodland’s Backyard, located at 668 Grandview Ave.
More than three weeks after its “soft opening” in the new venue, which Gooeyz co-owner Lanne Bennett said was used as a way to get “the kinks worked out with the new operations,” Bennett and husband and co-owner David Bennett were ready to alert the public. The eatery, known for its speciality grilled cheese sandwiches, announced its reopening the same way it announced its closing in November: via social media.
“Gooeyz is pleased to announce it has partnered with Woodlands Backyard!” Gooeyz’s account, @Gooeyz, tweeted Saturday.
The partnership and move was part of fulfilling a long-time ambition to expand the restaurant to suburbia, Lanne Bennett said, and a collaboration with Jimmy Woodland and Ed Hastie, the owners of Woodland’s Backyard, was a “marriage made in heaven.”
“(Woodland and Hastie) just do a great job running the bar side of things, and we love doing the food side of things, and so if you put those two things together, you come up with a great concept,” Lanne Bennett said.
Woodland did not respond to an email requesting comment by Tuesday evening.
The look of the partnership stays true to the original atmosphere and spirit of both venues, Lanne Bennett said. While design incorporations are still a work in progress, she said, the style of Gooeyz’s pictures and television sets will intermingle with Woodland’s Backyard’s live music, trivia, volleyball and other events. Gooeyz’s neon sign will also reappear after zoning and signage approval, as the two venues are aiming to co-brand, she said.
While much will be familiar to Gooeyz’s old patronage, service has transitioned from counter to table, David Bennett said.
“We got servers at the table,” David Bennett said. “You’re not ordering at the counter. You come in, you seat yourself, you’ve got a server waiting on you. It gives (the restaurant) a … little different feel.”
Gooeyz’s menu will also remain similar, but Lanne Bennett said it’s constantly evolving. She expects additional items to be added to the choices as the restaurant adjusts to its “sports bar element.”
“We are a made-from-scratch kitchen. Everything’s homemade, everything’s made fresh daily … so all of that great goodness you love about Gooeyz has stayed the same,” Lanne Bennett said.
Gooeyz’s announcement in early November that it would be closing its South Campus Gateway location made it the third restaurant in the Gateway to close since the beginning of the summer. Kildare’s Irish Pub closed during the summer, and Charlie Bear: Land of Dance announced in late October it would be relocating to a new location at 2885 Olentangy River Road.
Lanne Bennett, though, said she’d like “to focus on moving forward and pursuing the opportunities with opening in Woodland’s Backyard in Grandview.”
Despite its relocation to a spot more than four miles away from its previous place, Lanne Bennett said she and David Bennett were humbled by the support the restaurant has received thus far, and she believes the new location will have even more customers.
“They are already finding us,” David Bennett said.
Gooeyz’s hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.