On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Levi Goode joins CultureMap food editor to discuss the current state of Goode Company Restaurants. Goode begins the conversation by telling Sandler that he never wanted to be a teacher or a doctor when he was growing up; rather, he always wanted to work alongside his father, legendary Texas restaurateur Jim Goode, to build the family business.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of restaurant dining rooms, Goode Company began serving takeout from some of its locations, closed others, and added a grocery option. Before reopening his restaurants, Goode partnered with Dr. Toby Hamilton, founder of the Hamilton Health Box microclinic, to provide all of his employees with free testing for COVID-19. Follow up testing helps ensure that employees are healthy, with a mandatory, two-week, paid sick leave for anyone who tests positive.
Despite those challenges, Goode is feeling optimistic about the future. He's currently developing plans to reopen Armadillo Palace, the company's restaurant and live music venue. Sandler asks Goode about how balances his desire to grow the business with maintaining the things customers are familiar with.
"I've been around our brand since its inception when I was a kid and all through my adult career. Our brand has always been based off creativity and personal expression of family heritage, experiences, and influences," Goode says. "When you look at our restaurants from the '70s forward . . . ever since we've been in the business, creativity and evolution have been part of the brand DNA. Sometimes that moves a little faster or slower, but it has and will be an ongoing evolution of our brand of things we think people will enjoy."
Prior to the interview, Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the four Houston chefs and bar that are finalists for this year's James Beard Awards; Chris Shepherd's decision to revive One Fifth Mediterranean; and Austin chef Page Pressley's Foxtail Supper Club meal kit delivery service.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Masson praises her first experience trying the "Pharmacy Burger" at La Lucha, and Sandler raves about his experience eating the chicken tenders and French dip sandwich that Justin Yu is serving as part of his Yuston's pop-up menu.