Walking down Pacific Avenue in Wildwood towards the new Good Eatz restaurant, the unmistakable blue and red colors of Father Judge High School struck me: these people must be alumni. Soon enough they’d prove me correct! But I had not guessed that they’d literally just become alums of the Holmesburg Catholic high school. Michael McClintic and Juan Genet, both from Philadelphia, walked out of the restaurant to greet me and tell me their story. Like so many growing up in the city, their story begins with senior summer down the shore, staying with friends and enjoying the laid back seaside atmosphere. Only this story grew into something much larger and unexpected.
Picture it: Summer 2021 in Wildwood, recently graduated from high school and wanting to enjoy their time before the next big step, COVID and its many restrictions dampening everything but their mood. Staying at a shore house with friends on Surf Avenue, the duo wanted to serve up delicious eats to their friends and others for a little extra spending money. Using everything at their disposal–basically a flat top propane grill, they began cooking. Only as they grew in popularity, their landlord swooped in and put an end to things. But it only deepened their resolve to become their own bosses, with Michael and Juan working to see how far they could push this idea. And as luck would have it, an acquaintance introduced them to a commercial landlord, and fellow Judge alum, interested in their bold idea. 3800 Pacific Avenue had sat vacant for three years, and he offered it to them under a few conditions, including cleaning the place up and passing mandated inspections before opening. Taking full advantage of this opportunity, Michael and Juan met these conditions and on July 28th, they opened to the public!
As we stood there and they told me their story, I could not help but be amazed. One burning question, which they answered for me, was their culinary backgrounds and how they came to this point. Michael, the son of a chef, worked at Gino’s Pizza Cafe in Mayfair. Juan, on the other hand, credits his mother with his interest in cooking, spending many days and nights with her in the kitchen. Their backgrounds have served them well as each is palpably enthusiastic about their offerings at Good Eatz. Still growing and working out their menu, I asked what they would want to showcase. Despite Michael telling me, “everything”, he didn’t hesitate to say that I should try the chum tots, a blended dish of tater tots, bacon, eggs, and cheese. Juan added that his favorite dish is an egg wrap with hash browns, bacon, and cheese.
Michael and Juan hope to open again next summer, but both recognize that their time at this location may have an end date. After all, the competition is strong and the island population dwindles after Labor Day. But the goal isn’t to stay limited to the shore. Rather they hope to grow and bring Good Eatz back to Northeast Philly. And we here at TheNortheastLife wish these Crusaders the best of luck that they reach such success! If you haven’t been, try them out and let us know what you think!