Restaurant Review: Gooeyz

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's so simple and viscerally pleasing that most Americans begin loving it when they're very young children.

Its uncomplicated charms continue to delight through the steady parade of school years. It's one of the first things kids learn how to cook. Recalling its ability to comfort, flustered adults will reach for it when in need of food that soothes. It's the grilled cheese sandwich, and a new, locally owned grilled-cheese specialist called, uh, Gooeyz is hoping to lure in fans.

Taking over the former Happy Greek spot in the South Campus Gateway mall, Gooeyz seems well thought through and cleverly equipped to please its built-in audience of OSU students.

Advertising itself as "gourmet grilled cheese" that's "better than your mama's," Gooeyz seeks to distinguish its products from the familiar homemade jobbies by offering a slew of melted cheese sandwiches you can accessorize with everything from sliced lamb to pineapple rings.

Understanding its modern collegiate crowd, Gooeyz also provides a full bar with tap beers, bands on the weekends and a bright space decorated with an ironic sense of humor. To that end, there's an amusingly oversized Claes Oldenburg-like iron skillet sculpture on the wall plus lots of color photos wherein a grilled cheese sandwich poses in front of famous Columbus landmarks in the same manner as the notorious "Flat Stanley."

Foodwise, Gooeyz makes its dozen or so sandwiches ($3 to $7, and some are breakfast-styles) on heavily buttered, inch-thick Texas Toast-like bread (I liked the nine-grain version best) and sells them at reduced prices for a (still good-sized) halfer.

Otherwise there's sides like fresh-cut fries ($2 for a "small" that was actually quite large and quite good, if oversalted) and soups such as a bisquey and decent-enough Tomato Basil.

It seems like you'd have to try hard to ruin a grilled cheese sandwich, and Gooeyz didn't do that. In fact, using Cleveland-based Orlando bread and bold add-ons, it generally improved on the standard model. In other words, while retaining their primary identities as grilled cheese sandwiches, Gooeyz's versions added extra oomph and interest.

Here's a few of the goofily named Gooeyz sammies I chewed into (all were garnished with a toothpick-skewered deep-fried cheese cube).

Valuey Gooeyz : Just cheddar cheese, but great big heaving gobs of it (could've been melted a bit more)

Bayouie Gooeyz : Seasoned cubes of chicken, pepperjack cheese and a zingy mayo made for a surprisingly spicy sandwich (came with lettuce and tomato)

Baba Gooeyz : Juicy, gyro-ish meat slices plus feta and tzatziki translated into one of my favorites here.

Veggie Gooeyz : With its many roasted vegetables, balsamic vinegar and basily sun-dried tomato pesto sauce, this was a real winner.

For more local food news and reviews, click to G.A. Benton's blog at


1554 N. High St., Campus