If you’re walking down Main Street in Fitchburg, one of the most common hot spots is Goomba’s Pizzeria, a popular restaurant for Fitchburg State University students, known for its casual atmosphere and superb pizza. This is all thanks to Frank Gordon, owner of Goomba’s, who enjoys the work that he does and serving the community at large. But long before there was Goomba’s, Gordon was cooking in an entirely different atmosphere. From 1969-1973, Gordon was a cook for the United States Marine Corp.
Gordon describes this style of cooking as mass production, “You’re feeding so many people,” said Gordon.
Though eager to fight, after enlisting and going through boot camp, he was assigned to a bakery job and then as a cook. While working as a cook, Gordon tasks included making bread and desserts, along with general cooking in the mess hall.
He also revealed that it was his strong sense of patriotism for his country and moral duty that inspired him to enter the Vietnam War.
“I felt it was my place to go over there; I went in to help stop the spread of Communism. I went in to go fight for the country,” Gordon said.
While those fighting over seas felt passionate about the event, the people back home were not as supportive. “It was an ugly time,” Gordon said of the war era.
In spite of the harsh reaction he received in the US, Gordon feels that his participation in the war is something he is proud of and does not regret.
“I’m glad I did it, I feel like I did my part for my country. I’m proud of that fact,” Gordon said.
The cooking skills Gordon learned during his time in the Vietnam War helped lead him to the career he thrives in today, “Cooking, it comes easy to me. You’re never out of food and you’re never hungry,” said Gordon. “All I’ve ever done is make pizza; it’s what I’m good at.”
While it is clear that students enjoy Gordon’s food, the proprietor also hopes it benefits the community at large.
“I like to think it’s good for the community,” said Gordon. “I wanted to put a better quality restaurant in this area to appeal to both the community and the students.”