MILLEDGEVILLE — The restaurant business was all Cal Johnson saw growing up with grandparents owning the Dairy Queen on Milledgeville’s Southside.
With some family support, Johnson purchased the Goodie Gallery deli-style restaurant at 812 N. Columbia St. in 2010.
He learned being the man in charge of a tough business platform isn’t just fun without work behind the scenes. You have to watch “every item in your store 24 hours a day seven days a week.”
“I’ve taken my lumps over the years, but I feel like we’ve got a good grasp on it now,” Johnson said. “Lucky for us our sales our steady. All of the restaurants here are fighting for the same customers. We are lucky enough to have repeat business and customers that support us week in and week out.”
Future goals are repaving the parking lot, getting a new sign and working on the exterior of the business. For now, the product itself sells just fine.
“I worked hard on making sure the bread was fresh when I came in. Everything that you are eating today was cooked yesterday,” Johnson said. “It’s just a better product. If the bread isn’t fresh, it doesn’t matter how good your meat or how fresh your vegetables are.”
The Goodie Gallery offers a variety of subs, sandwiches, salads, cookies, cakes and specialty sweet items baked by Raynell Faulkner.
Chicken salad and cheesecake items are still “king” at the restaurant.
“It’s good. I hated chicken salad before I bought this place, and now I like it,” the owner joked. “People will come in on Friday and get a cup of large chicken salad and tell us they will eat that for the entire weekend.”
The cheesecake recently won First Place Dessert at the 2013 Deep Roots Festival.
Goodie Gallery branched out with strawberry, pumpkin and red velvet editions for special seasons.
“That red velvet cheese cake takes three hours to make. It’s a labor of love,” Johnson said.
Within the last year, the restaurant unveiled cheesecake bites that have been a huge hit.
“We’ll make four dozen fresh mini ones and sell those every single day,” Johnson said.
The deli has apple bread running through the New Year as well.
Sandwich or wrap trays provide a new catering option.
Tweaking traditional offerings keeps the customers happy.
“My supplier and I are constantly going over different ways to introduce new products,” he said.
One successful new product is a Cuban sandwich that came out two months ago.
Word of mouth keeps the Goodie Gallery going. Johnson wants to keep up the good reputation making the town proud of the establishment.
“When I was old enough to start managing the Dairy Queen, my grandparents had owned it for 25 years. They paid their dues,” Johnson said. “ I didn’t see them pay their dues. That was a learning curve for me. They had worked hard at it and had a good life. That’s what I want to do.”
Call the deli at 478-452-8080 for more information.
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