ST. LOUIS – The Goody Goody Diner opened in north St. Louis in 1948 and became a city staple over the next seven decades. Unfortunately, the beloved diner was indefinitely closed Tuesday after being damaged by a fire overnight.
Its closure has left a big impact on the community and the employees.
Joe Safi, owner of the Goody Goody Diner, was left to wonder how he’ll move forward.
“I just can’t believe it how much damage was inside,” he said. “It's a very tragic situation. We are still trying to cope with it.”
Goody Goody has been a landmark in the city, serving up breakfast and lunch, as well as offering a hot spot for conversation, prompting visits from celebrities and presidential candidates over the years.
“Before I was born or you was born, Richard Connely, the original owner, stepped down and retired,” said longtime employee Sylvester Bell. “And the present owners and the management team, we kept the torch and kept it alive and kept the dream going.”
St. Louis firefighters responded to the diner Monday around 10 p.m. The restaurant was already closed and no one was inside when the fire began.
“The fire department believes it’s an electrical fire and it's overwhelming for all of us and all of our employees,” Safi said.
Investigators said the fire seemed to have started in the kitchen and spread quickly. There was already a lot of smoke coming from the building by the time firefighters arrived but they couldn’t see any flames from the outside. They cut through metals doors to get inside the restaurant and multiple crews worked to extinguish the flames.
First responders said with the diner’s insulation and tight spaces, there wasn’t much oxygen to feed the fire.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The owner said he’s grateful no one was hurt.
“It was surreal. We rushed up here and saw all the police activity,” Safi said.
Safi said he has insurance and plans on repairing the damage and reopening one day but added it will take some time.