212 S Orange Blossom Trl,
Orlando, FL 32805-2204 United States
581203 - Ice Cream Parlors
Reviews for Goff's Drive In
Goff's Drive In
A Scoop of History
5 5 0
Posted On: Nov 03, 2015
Reviewer: Samuel Augustus Jennings
Goffs custard stand next to the old Winn Dixie (formerly Lovetts) on the TRAIL was the only takeout where blacks didnt have to go to the back door to be served. Since there was usually only one clerk at the popular little hut, back door service would have been a logistical nightmare. Shopping at Winn Dixie always meant buying the best WD brand steaks and stopping at Goffs for a soft twirled custard cone, shake, sundae, or banana split.
When I returned home in 2007 to spend my first Christmas in Orlando in over 20 years I decided to check out Goffs, one of Orlandos few surviving businesses from the 50s. I met a jubilant Joanne Truesdell and her daughter Bonnie whose family has been running the little hut since 1973. They eagerly shared Goffs history.
Edward Goff opened the stand in 1948 and was immediately attacked by local bigots for having only one outdoor water fountain and one take out window forcing blacks and whites to drink from the same fountain and stand in the same line. Goff defied tradition by refusing to budge.
In 1949 or 1950 an explosive ripped a huge hole in the wall next to the side service door says Joanne who is convinced the terrorist action was committed by the Klu Klux Klan and firmly believes Orange County Sheriff Dave Starr was the star Klansman.
My deceased husband Bill started working at Goffs as a teenager in 1953 and bought the place in 1973. He was well liked by the black and white community, Joanne recalls.
I fondly remember Bills friendly smile, his easy manner and the white soda jerk cap he always wore. Like the Good Humor Man and the candy man, Bill was friendly and cheerful and treated colored people with a respect rarely received from local white-owned businesses during the apartheid era. But most of all we loved him, because he had the best ice cream in town.
Around 1960 Winn Dixie hired Orlandos first black check out girl (my friend Sylvesters sister, Evelyn Mack) at a major supermarket.
Publix (where Shopping is a Pleasure) said Never! The ONE
outdoor colored toilet for men and women at the Publix Market on the Trail at Robinson was not a pleasure.
On the other side of Winn Dixie was Moses Pharmacy, which hosted our first sit-in in1961. The manager ordered the waitresses to close the long lunch counter and turn on all the faucets.
The silver diner across the street which used to offer back door service for blacks is also long gone from this rather destitute area, so it is a real joy to see defiant little Goffs still standing.
Bill has passed on, but I betcha hes still serving the best custard to the angels in ice cream heaven right now.
Joanne, Bonnie, and I traded war stories on the racial transition in Orlando and we promised to keep in touch. Joanne is trying to joggle her memory of a riot in Orlando in the 60s and 70s when they were told to close the store before dark and keep a loaded shotgun on the premises for protection. I asked Joanne how they have managed to survive all these years.
She replied, We only use the best ingredient even though they cost more. To prove her point she asked me what I liked then handed me a complimentary cone of my favorite chocolate dipped vanilla custard and sent me merrily on my way.
I am grateful to the Truesdells for preserving a very delicate (and delicious!) part of my Orlando history.”
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