The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Dallas burger legend retires, legacy to continue on Hillcrest

When customers visit the new Goff’s on Hillcrest, they will no longer encounter the original owner and local Dallas legend Harvey Gough. Even though the owner has changed, the same recipes and quality of food will remain the same at the new Goffs location.

The Goff’s tradition began in 1950 at the corner of Lovers Lane and Inwood. Dallas residents will always associate the original Goff’s traditions with the colorful local legend, Gough.

“The legend isn’t going to continue, the tradition is,” says Gough. “I told the new owner that my personality doesn’t go along with the new Goffs. I am not nice. Don’t carry my personality to the new Goff’s.”

Gough sold his Lovers Lane burger joint after he decided it was time to retire. “I am retiring because I am an old fart that has lost his punch,” he says. However, Gough has plans to keep him busy once he has sold his last hamburger and his retirement begins.

“I plan to go play in Baghdad because that’s what I like to do with my buddies,” he says.

Gough admits that he has become a local Dallas legend. “I am a legend because I just do it my way,” says Gough. “I am humble, easy going, soft and mellow.” Ironically, Gough knows that some of his customers would describe him much differently.

According to Gough, one lady was having lunch at Goffs and decided to take a picture of the restaurant. After Gough saw the flash from her camera, he turned to her and said, “If you do that again, I am going to shoot my .40 caliber right through your lens.”

Susan Campbell, a loyal Goffs’ customer, also describes Gough differently than he describes himself.

“We used to bring our children here nearly 31 years ago,” says Campbell. “Gough started to terrorize our kids and they have learned not to be afraid of him. I’m kinda afraid of him though.”

Although many people are scared of Gough, his closest friends describe him as “a friend you can count on” and a man who “would give his friends the shirt off his back.” They agree that Gough’s mean persona is nothing more than an act.

“He is a bear in his business, but when you get him away from his business, he is a very delightful, knowledgeable, enjoyable person,” says Jack Hammack. Gough’s childhood friend, Susan Cooper, agrees. “He’s got a mean demeanor that’s totally fake and people that know him well, know that,” she says.

Gough is also a local Dallas legend because of his patriotism. “His support of the military, especially the U.S. army, during war and peace is unparalleled in Dallas,” explains Hammack. “He’s probably done more for the military than anybody else in Dallas.”

Gough tells stories about the war paraphernalia displayed throughout his restaurant that has also added to his legend. “I was in Iraq during Desert Storm and the last week in April of 2003,” explains Gough. “I brought back the Saddam pictures hanging on the walls and the Saddam flag over there. They are trophies of war. I stole them.”

Gough also tells a story about a small gold knob he keeps behind the counter of his restaurant. “This is a sink faucet knob,” he explains. “It came from a sink in Saddam’s Baghdad villa. I walked in when the military wasn’t looking.”

Gough sold his restaurant to Jimmy Francis, a Dallas native. “Jimmy’s dad and I have been friends for years and he thought that he should carry the tradition that [Goff’s has] had over the years,” according to Gough. The quality hamburger tradition began in 1950 and is destined to continue because Gough sold the restaurant’s recipes and products to Francis.

“Everything has been done the same way for 55 years,” says Gough. “I hope all of the traditions will carry on – all the quality, service and reputation for wonderful hamburgers.”

Francis agrees that the Goff’s traditions should be carried over to the new location

“The food is staying the same. We will be adding a few items to the menu. Quality is staying the same with a slightly different personality,” says Francis. “We are going to be a little more kind and gentle with our customers. No one will be locked in the walk-in cooler.”

Francis decided to buy the burger restaurant because he has enjoyed dining at Goffs for many years. “I have eaten here since I was two years old,” says Francis. “I love the food and I couldn’t let the #2 Hickory Smoke Burger die-off."

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