You take 44th Avenue to Harlan Street, head north, look to your left and you’ll see it. A small Italian joint so authentic, it would fit right in to the opening credits of the Sopranos.
The story behind Grammy’s Goodies is a uniquely American story about the great-granddaughter of an Italian immigrant who came through Ellis Island — native of Wheat Ridge, graduate of Wheat Ridge High School, who found her calling through necessity and with her family, turned it into an enduring business.
It’s Saturday evening, 6 p.m., and the place is, no exaggeration, hopping. The vibe is controlled chaos kept moving by Joeylyn Corder, daughter of owners Jeff and Vickie.
The sun is starting to go down on this, the first day of spring. Customers stand distanced in small cohorts in the parking lot. Some, waiting for a table in the dine-in tent, set up in front of the restaurant for COVID compliance. Others wait for their chance to go in to pick up carry-out orders or be tempted by mouthwatering creations in the pastry case.
A chocolate cake towers over cream puffs that look like fluffy clouds under flaky golden deliciousness. Look at them and you realize you don’t want one — you need one.
With so many restaurants closed or hobbled during the pandemic, it’s almost surreal to take in this sight. Owner, and proud new grandmother herself, Vickie Corder, says the community has been beyond generous in helping them weather the storm of the past year. In fact, she says they haven’t had to cut hours or lay anyone off during the pandemic.
“My staff is 50% family and 50% like family. They come to work, they come home and have been COVID-free,” Corder says. “We’ve had people taking deliveries three or four times a week, plus the City of Wheat Ridge has given grants — we’re lucky to be here.”
Luck is always good. But a featured spot on a highly rated Food Network show doesn’t hurt either. In Feb. 2020, just before the shutdowns began, Grammy’s Goodies made the big time when Guy Fieri’s hit show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives came knocking.
“We still get business from that show every single day,” she says. “It was a blessing that came just in time. There are people that literally fly in from all over just to come to the restaurants (featured on the show).”
Grammy’s Goodies, named after Vickie Corder’s grandmother, Lucille (whom Vickie called Grammy), was born out of necessity as a way to earn extra money to put her son and daughter through college, Corder said.
She started by selling Italian Christmas cookies at a festival in Belmar. That led to selling other types of cookies, as well as her gigantic deep-dish pizzas. The plan worked. People loved the pizza, cookies and other items she and her family sold at festivals and events across the state. Corder says when they first started out, her husband Jeff would haul a borrowed pizza oven to festivals in their Chevy Suburban and have to make a second trip to bring the rest of the family.
In 2015, after years of making it work pop-up style, the family opened the brick-and-mortar restaurant on Harlan Street and the rest is history.
The family business, started as a way to fund college expenses, has now come full circle. Corder’s son, George, and daughter, Joeylyn, both graduated from Colorado State University and came back to work in the family business. George’s wife, Kylie, and Vickie’s husband, Jeff, work there too.
They all still do catering and events as well, but Corder says you’ll find them at the restaurant every day they’re open. The restaurant remains just two blocks from the family home she grew up in.