Landmark ice cream stand Goff’s Drive-In was damaged in a fire Friday and is closed. The fire is under investigation and is believed to have started in a restroom. There were no injuries.
The stand, at 212 S. Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, opened in June 1948 and is one of the oldest food operations in town. David Porter, a former colleague of mine from the Orlando Sentinel, reminisced on Facebook that when Goff’s opened, its owner allowed Black and white customers to order from the same counter. “The KKK warned him,” wrote Porter, “but when he persisted, the ‘Bed Sheet Boys’ blew up the ice-cream stand one night in 1951 (around the same time they killed Harry and Harriette Moore in Mims).”
According to news sources, Goff’s current owner, Todd Peacock, had been in a dispute over parking with a neighboring property owner. Earlier this month, surveillance footage from Goff’s showed a man walking behind the building with a bag; moments later smoke was seen coming from the shop.
Peacock has vowed to reopen.