Lunch at Willy Good today was a real surprise. It was very good. Yes, there were some downsides, but they were overcome by so many good qualities.
Here’s the skinny – this is a true neighborhood Italian-American Pizzeria, southern style. It’s a family spot offering pizza and pasta plus wings. They don’t pretend to be Italian. Authentic is not their goal. Tasty food is, and they ring the bell. The prices are reasonable. The quality is high. Service is friendly and sincere. The manager, Joe, is genuine.
To give you some background, there was a Willy. During some health issues he sold the store. He’s doing well now and so is the store. The Ranger Joe’s family now owns Willy Good. Profits are seeded to various local ministries.
Ambiance is iffy. Willy Good was born as take out only. Now there’s a small dining area with 5 tables. I understand they want to expand. There are some tables outside. The interior is a little worn but clean. The exterior isn’t particularly inviting but that’s easy to get over. Handicap parking is quite some distance and around the corner. Too bad there’s not a ramp by the entrance to the store.
When we’ve visited, we were greeted by manager – just like all the other customers. He pulled a table out for me and set the chair aside. Our server was right there with menus and got our beverage orders. Joe chatted with us and he helped us make some choices. By the time he left and our server stepped over, the chef was at work already. Yes, there’s a chef and an ample actual kitchen.
Willy Good is a welcome step back in time – like 50 years. We have had several things like the spaghetti and meat sauce. It looks like the picture on the old Chef Boyardee kit box, but the result is better. The sauce is long-cooked and has that rich deep slight sweetness with plenty of tender meat. It’s served on top of spaghettini in a pool and not mixed in.
The regular bread service is true sliced garlic bread - warm and crisp with a soft interior. The appetizer of cheese bread is large with lots of hot melted cheese. It’s plenty for 4.
There’s this dressing that comes on the table. It’s an old-fashioned Italian-American red wine and oil with as many spices as Colonel Sanders. It’s has a nice sweet-tangy balance that’s good on salads and the bread.
The pizza we had was excellent. (You can smell the yeast in the store.) It’s a thin crust type. We got the cheese version, but it was far from plain. The sauce had flavor and plenty herbs and seasoning. There’s lots of tender cheese that’s not rubbery. The sauce and cheese reach right to the edge.
Pizza variety is almost endless. There are 20 toppings on the menu. Plus, there are specially pizzas using other things. Joe says their Krystal pizza is popular. It has mustard, ground beef, pickles and onions. There’s a shrimp or chicken Alfredo too. Some of these have moved out of the 60’s. BTW – Joe says they will make you any pizza you want.
Willy Good touts its lasagna and rightly it should. Once again Italian-American spot on. It’s baked out on the plate it’s served. There’s meat and ricotta in there plus a good bit of sauce and cheese. An order with the salad that comes with it is a full meal.
One time we got the meatballs. On sight we weren’t sure. They aren’t browned – not so pretty. They aren’t small – good. They are tender and juicy – even better. With a lighter tomato sauce – outstanding.
The wings need some work. We’ve had the lemon-pepper and teriyaki. The quality and interest don’t equal the other dishes.
Then there’s the house dessert. It’s a house made vanilla custard soft serve. The texture and flavor are perfect. This special taste was so good, and it’s included with your meal.
Speaking of price, Willy Good is a bargain. The regular prices are fine, but the specials are outstanding. All day Friday and Saturday have special pricing. So do other times.
Here are some examples. Those spaghetti and lasagna dinners are $6 including the salad and bread plus the ice cream. 2 topping pizzas are $9 and the “garbage can” is $12 for a 16”. You can also get 7, 10 and 12-inch sizes. They will make you a calzone as well.
Willy Good has sandwiches and salads plus cheesecake to round out the rather full menu.
We enjoyed the food and personal service at Willy Good every time. The food is fine. The sort of fall back in time with a current touch is refreshing. Their attitude is perfect. If you are in Columbus and in search of a Saturday lunch, Willy Good is a perfect choice.
Willy Good is not pretentious. It is what it is. The original motto is still true – “If it’s not really Willy Good - it’s not really good.”
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