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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2019 11 months ago

Groovy Goat trots into Restaurant Row

The new fun-filled eatery celebrated its grand opening Aug. 30.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

The newest spot near Restaurant Row to game, grub and grab a brew has made the area a little more groovy.

Groovy Goat celebrated its grand opening Friday, Aug. 30, at the restaurant’s first Orlando location, 7720 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando. It’s the second location overall for the restaurant, the first of which is in Alabama. 

“Orlando is my hometown, and I’m excited to bring this concept to the heart of Restaurant Row,” owner Andrew Gross said. “We think families, sports fans and people who just want a great meal in an exciting environment will love this place.”

The sports and entertainment restaurant serves regional American fare. From seafood and steaks to wood fire-grilled wings and customizable nachos, Groovy Goat puts its own unique twists on every item on the menu.

“Our first goal was food, and (the concept) is food, drinks, sports and games,” Gross said. “We really focus on the quality (of the food), so it’s not your typical sports bar. I’ve got a lot of seafood options. I’ve got steaks, and then we have some interactive options like our Tableside Nachos, where we roll a cart up to your table, give you a whole sheet tray worth of nachos, and then we make it to your liking.” 

The restaurant also will be a prime spot to watch sporting events. Groovy Goat features a full indoor and outdoor bar, dozens of screens for sports and even has a giant ticker that will keep track of the latest scores. For more fun, the restaurant also features an arcade with more than 40 different games, making the Groovy Goat enjoyable for the whole family. 

“(Groovy Goat) is sort of a hodgepodge,” Gross said. “We’re a sports and entertainment (restaurant). We don’t like calling ourselves a sports bar, because we have more than just your typical sports bar. While we do have (a) full drink selection and we have tableside drinks and we have custom signature drinks … it’s not just a bar, because we have the whole entertainment aspect of our arcade.”

A key feature at the Groovy Goat is the arcade, which feature more than 40 different games.

Aside from traditional seating, Groovy Goat also features multiple rooms that can be converted into private dining areas and rented out for parties, and there’s even an option to rent out the whole restaurant. Another key aspect that further sets the restaurant apart is its “Goat Pen.” 

“Our Goat Pen … is a place for you and your buddies to rent out for a special occasion or a game,” Gross said. ”You’ll get a buffet of food. We’ll put a kegerator (in the Goat Pen). You pick a keg, and we’ll put it in (the kegerator) — maybe give you some well drinks (and) put a bartender in there to keep you served.” 

Gross said the name chosen for the restaurant is a play on the popular sports acronym GOAT, which means “Greatest of All Time.” He added it took a while to select the name, and said he initially was hesitant using that term for the name of his restaurant. That changed after his wife suggested the name the restaurant now carries.

“I sort of liked it, but I hated it because I was like, ‘If you don’t know that the GOAT is Greatest of All Time and you don’t get the sports analogy and you don’t like the animal … you’d never come here,’” Gross said.

“We (were) tossing names back and forth and spitballing names in focus groups, and nothing was sticking,” he said. “When I was lying in bed one day, my wife goes, ‘How about Groovy Goat?’ And I go, ‘That’s it!’ And I got to sleep. It was a weight off of me, and I just fell right to sleep.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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