Goo Goo Cluster was started in 1901, when a Nashville banker gave Howell Campbell, a local peddler who sold goods from his horse and buggy, an inventory of candy to sell from a bankrupt company. That gave him the idea for Standard Candy Company, which had success with Bell Camp boxed chocolates and King Leo peppermint sticks—you know: the kind everyone’s grandmother had in a dark blue tin on the counter. Eventually he created a custom confection using caramel, fresh marshmallow, and roasted peanuts, which he covered in milk chocolate to create the world’s first combination candy bar. It’s said to be named “goo goo” because that’s the first thing a baby says, so people can ask for them from birth.
The shiny downtown location offers original, pecan, and peanut butter versions in addition to Goo Goo gear and a dessert bar where visitors can treat themselves to cakes, pies, cookies, shakes, and sundaes. If you really want to upgrade your Goo Goo experience, go to Candy School—$40 buys a tour, plenty of samples, and a chance to make your own confections. Other classes are available Thursday to Saturday. Whatever you do, don’t eat before you go—each class makes more than a meal.