For anyone who has ever worked in a family business, getting along makes all the difference. At W. L. Goodfellows in Galloway, brothers Jim and John Cicarelli Jr. make their working relationship succeed.
Their food business background began when their great-grandfather, Nicholas, Co-founder and owner of the San Giorgio Pasta Company in Philadelphia. Moving to New Jersey, their father, John Sr., owned and operated a very successful Deli and Produce Market in the historic inlet section of Atlantic City which once was known as Captain Starn's and Garwood Mills. Later he when on to open Chick’s in Brigantine in 1964, and introduced the French fried lobster tail, which remains a popular staple at Goodfellows today.
In the early 1980s, Cicarelli Sr. relocated to the present location. He believed John’s culinary education and cooking experience, plus Jim’s business degree, would prove invaluable. The name “Goodfellows” was the settle on after many potential canidates.
Goodfellows’ large casual dining rooms seat 220, and is tastefully decorated and furnished with memorabilia and select antiques. The vaulted ceilings have skylights and foliage hangs over dark wood booths and tables. The bi-level dining rooms are divided into several smaller sections. The giant screens at the large 60-seat bar allow prime viewing for any game. Televisions are scattered throughout the dining room area, also offering good vantage points.
My husband Norman and I came for an early dinner on a recent Saturday evening. We arrived about 6:30 and saw the dining rooms were alive with activity. The hostess seated us at the far end, next to a window. I was happy that they did not try to squeeze everyone into one section. Instead, they dispersed the crowd evenly throughout, allowing for more privacy at each table.
If you can’t find something to order at Goodfellows, then dining out is not for you. The huge, colorful menu targets the whole spectrum of tastes, from mild to spicy. Goodfellows serves several american fare with diffferent types of ethnic and regional foods, including Mexican, Chinese, Southern style with a major influence on Italian.
I have eaten at Goodfellows many times over the last several years, and I think the detailed descriptions are one of the menu’s best features. Each listing includes the ingredients and cooking method. There should be no surprises when dishes are brought to the table.
Goodfellows continuously updates the menu, too, which they print in-house. Each new item is clearly marked for those regulars who want variety. Reflecting the current interest in exotic drinks, Goodfellows has the region’s largest microbrew menu, plus 23 martinis, 22 vodkas, ice cream drinks, mojitos, margaritas and numerous other libations.
We were in no hurry, and Michelle, our server, did not rush us at all. I have known Jim Cicarelli for years, and he always comes by to chat and ask what we ordered. (This time was no different, although he was unaware of my review.) He asked about, and wholeheartedly approved of, our choices.
From the “Abbey-Tizers” section — priced from $4.29 to $11.59 — I ordered the new crabmeat quesadilla. We passed on a salad because a large portion of greens, tomatoes, corn and beans complemented the four-section quesadilla, which had several large chunks of fresh crabmeat in each bite, plus tomatoes, roasted peppers and smoked cheese. It was more than enough to share.
Several large entrée salads range from $7.59 to 10.99, as do more than a dozen Sandwiches and gourmet burgers. Asian and Mexican platters are priced from $$13.99 to $16.59.
Goodfellows also lists dozens of beef, chicken, ribs, fish and Italian specialties. Dinner salads may be added for an additional $1.99 and a Caesar salad for $2.99.
I ordered the $18.99 Seafood Italiano, one of the listed “best sellers.” The mixed seafood dish over angel hair pasta had a rich blended flavor, which I learned was from sautéing the seafood in butter and herbs. The marinara sauce covered a layer of delicious melted mozzarella cheese.
Norman selected the chicken parmagiano for $14.99, and did not need his knife to cut through the meat. He also liked the marinara that topped his penne pasta.
The large portions left us too full for dessert, but on former visits, I have enjoyed the apple crisp with ice cream dessert. Goodfellows also uses popular brands like Hershey, Reese’s and Toll House in their desserts, priced from $4.29 to $6.99.