Rather than toot our own horns, we decided to let someone else do it for us! Becky Billingsly is a restaurant critic in the area and here is a recent article she wrote for Weekly Surge after visiting Goodfellas:
December 3, 2010 by Becky Billingsley
Setting the Table
The ladies are in charge now, and that means everything is organized, clean and tasty at Goodfella’s Seafood Hut in North Myrtle Beach.
Michelle Keel has been a server and manager at the little diner that’s across U.S. 17 from Barefoot Landing ever since it opened in 2000, and Brooke Leahy has been her co-worker and friend for nine years. They worked for Stat Manos, who also owns The Grill House in North Myrtle Beach.
But after Manos sold Goodfella’s in March 2009, the women say work conditions deteriorated. The new owner, they said, simply didn’t know how to run a restaurant and didn’t learn.
So Keel and Leahy and two of their longtime loyal customers, husband and wife Jake Dettinger and Sandy Dettinger, bought the diner on Dec. 3 and commenced to cleaning and repairing. They reopened on Dec. 14, and business has been brisk.
Keel and Leahy are known for the warm and friendly hugs they dispense, and their former customers who stopped coming during The Dark Period returned to get some lovin’ and the expertly prepared Lowcountry foods for which Goodfella’s Seafood Hut is known.
The space has about a dozen tables and booths in the main dining room with suspended blue metal billiard-style spotlights over them, and there’s a small bar at the back, with a full liquor license. A few booths are on the other side of a half-wall, and an ell with a handful more booths is the smoking section.
A radio station is tuned to classic rock that plays at a pleasant non-invasive level.
Down the Hatch
An extremely popular lunch item is the Mystery Lunch Special, where every day the featured dish is a surprise. It’s $6, and you get three items plus tea or coffee.
The day I visited the Mystery Lunch was Chicken Diane in a creamy brown gravy studded with sliced onions, and sides of well-seasoned dirty rice and green beans salted at a pleasing level.
But first I sampled the two soups that cook Adelmo Umana prepared that day (cook Oscar Martinez had the day off). His pink She-Crab Soup is a masterful and subtle blend of flavors that contains a lot of crab and not so much cream that it’s too rich or thick. New England Clam Chowder features a delicate broth in a creamy base with whole clams instead of just chopped clams.
The Goodfella’s gang (the name came from Stat Manos’ other restaurant also called Goodfella’s, in Columbia) is known for its Tater Salad. It’s creamy, oniony and addictive.
Since this is a Seafood Hut, it of course, serves fried or broiled seafood platters that are $9-$17 at lunchtime and $13-$21 for dinner. Seafood choices are fish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clam strips or deviled crab, and they come with sweet crispy hushpuppies (and honey butter, yay), slaw and a choice of fries, house-made potato chips, rice, tater salad or a garden salad, plus tea or coffee.
Several sandwiches ($6-$9) are listed including Crabcake and Ribeye, and a few more dinners are Hamburger Steak with grilled onions, Alaskan Snow Crab Legs, Crab-stuffed Flounder, Pasta Alfredo and Prime Rib.
While their hugs add sweet endings to every meal, the Good Gals at Goodfella’s have a house specialty Fried Cheesecake for dessert that they wrap in a tortilla and flash-fry, and serve with blueberry sauce and whipped cream. If you’ve already had a full meal, you’ll want help eating it.
Keel, Leahy and the Dettingers are ecstatic over how many of their loyal customers have returned for food and hugs. Their rapport with customers is cozy to the point that regulars sometimes bring in joke coupons they design, print and present to Keel and Leahy to get laughs, such as “Internet Special for Indiana Residents, Two Free Dinner Entrees.”