Cheap Eats: Goofy's in North Codorus Township serves a little bit of Key West
Horses roam the land across from Goofy's Eatery & Spirits on Route 116 in North Codorus Township. Corn grows on the left and soybeans on the right. Tractor-trailers dominate the road.
It seemed like York County to me.
After looking more closely, I noticed an outdoor deck, a pavilion, horseshoe pits and a sand volleyball court off to the side of the rustic restaurant. An overturned wheelbarrow jutted from the sand.
The coastal-like eatery seemed slightly out of sync with its surroundings, but that's the way owner Whitey Runkle likes it.
In 1987, Runkle, 63, moved from Blooming Grove in Pike County to Bonita Springs, Fla., north of Key West. His friend lived in Florida and convinced him to come visit, and he fell in love with the area. He thought about buying a bar there, but instead, he moved to North Codorus Township and opened Goofy's about 20 years ago.
He brought back a souvenir - Key West's laid-back island style.
"I don't like the modern stuff," Runkle said. "This way, I'll have a little bit of Key West all the time."
I ordered steamed shrimp dusted with Old Bay and served with cocktail sauce during a recent visit. I can't get enough seafood, especially when it's properly prepared.
I sat inside at a table next to the bar on a Tuesday afternoon, but wished I was there on a weekend for the outdoor experience. The deck and pavilion are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Runkle said he sometimes see crowds of 200 people on Sunday, when musicians play bluegrass and he steams blue crabs. He said his restaurant attracts bikers, tourists and families, who all mix together and have a great time.
"They're outside, they have their space, they're in so much of a better mood," Runkle said. "It works awesome."
He said he still travels to Florida via motor home and picks up menu ideas along the drive. One of his specialties is Ocean City fries, covered in crab meat and mozzarella cheese, and served with ranch dressing.
"When I sell an order those, I sell another dozen," Runkle said.
He stopped at one of Paula Deen's restaurants in Georgia last fall and ate oysters char-grilled with garlic butter and parmesan cheese. He bought a grill when he returned and said he sold two bushels in a week.
Runkle said he just has a knack for knowing what his customers like, whether it's changes to the menu or atmosphere. He said a woman from Georgia recently ate there and approached him.
"She said, 'I love Key West. When I walked in here, I thought that's where I was,'" he said.
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants with meals for less than $10. Suggestions are welcome. Reach Leigh Zaleski at 771-2101, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @YDRCheapEats.
If you go
LOCATION: Goofy's Eatery & Spirits, 5965 York Road in North Codorus Township
CUISINE: American and seafood
LEIGH'S PICK: ½ pound steamed shrimp with Old Bay ($6.50), diet soda ($2)
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 12 to 9 p.m. Sunday
PRICE RANGE: 75 cents to $12.95
SMOKING: On the outside deck and pavilion
KID'S MENU: Yes
DETAILS: Call 225-9909