GOODE, JAMES DOUGLAS [JIM]

Antonio Montez
James Douglas Goode (1944–2016).
Jim Goode founded Goode Company Restaurants in Houston. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

GOODE, JAMES DOUGLAS [JIM] (1944–2016). James Douglas “Jim” Goode, restaurateur, was born in Freeport, Texas, on the April 15, 1944. He was the youngest child of John Stuckey Goode (born in Yoakum, Texas) and Emma (Longoria) Goode of Tampico, Mexico. At age sixteen he quit school and left Texas for California to enlist in the United States Navy. He served during the Vietnam War. He became a Seabee and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After his service, he attended Milton Glaser School of Visual Arts in New York City. When he finished school, he went to Houston and started a career as a commercial graphic artist, but Goode eventually grew tired of that work and decided to start looking for other business opportunities. 

Always having enjoyed cooking barbecue for his commercial graphics clients, he thought about opening a barbecue restaurant of his own. In 1977, while eating at a local restaurant called the Barbecue Barn, he noticed the lack of professionalism among the employees. The owner approached Goode and asked him what he was doing. Goode responded that he was thinking about opening his own barbecue eatery. The owner commented that she hated the barbecue business and could not wait to leave it, but her husband had left it to her when he died. Goode casually inquired how much she would want for the place. She replied with, “How much you got?” He told her that he had $3,000 available and another $3,000 after he was paid for a graphics design job. She agreed to sell, and Goode returned the following day with the $3,000 and a promise to send her a check with the other $3,000.  His purchase marked the beginning of Goode Company Restaurants. 

Working with his uncle Joe Dixie, the two slept at the restaurant in order to tend the fire and meat around the clock. The business was a big success. Goode crafted a unique Gulf Coast style flavor that became famous in the region. While other restaurants and cooks tried to outcompete each other on style, Goode stayed with what he thought was best—a classic down-home menu. In 1983 he opened Goode Co. Hamburgers & Taqueria followed by Goode Co. Seafood in 1986. He expanded to two more Goode Co. Texas Bar-B-Q establishments, and Goode's Armadillo Palace, a music venue, opened by the mid-2000s. By that time the company also sold goods online. 

Goode retired in 2005, and his son, Levi took over the family business. Jim Goode was a member of the Tejas Vaqueros-No Nombres Camp, a lifetime member of Coastal Conservation Association, and a lifetime director of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. October 7, 2012, was recognized as “Jim Goode Day” in Houston. That same year he won the Houston Legend Award of the Houston Culinary Awards. Goode married three times. On August 10, 1968, he married Elizabeth Ann Diguardi; they had a son, Levi, and a daughter, Jana. After his divorce in 1980, Goode married Kathleen N. McSpadden on August 17, 1980; they had two daughters—Emma and Kathleen. Goode divorced in 2003 and married Maria Cristina Zubillaga on November 5, 2004. He died at the age of seventy-one of Alzheimer’s at his house in Houston on February 2, 2016, and was survived by his wife, Maria Cristina, and children. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Phaedra Cook, “Houston Barbecue Icon Jim Goode Dies at Age 71,” Houston Press, February 8, 2016 (http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/houston-barbecue-icon-jim-goode-dies-at-age-71-8138627), accessed September 29, 2016. Houston Chronicle, October 29, 2012; February 7, 2016. 

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Handbook of Texas Online, Antonio Montez, "GOODE, JAMES DOUGLAS [JIM] ," accessed September 24, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgood.

Uploaded on May 23, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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