My parents used to take my brother and I to Shakey's when we lived in Sacramento, CA. Here is a history on Shakey's.
The familiar sign of a Shakey's Pizza parlor in 1977.
was the first important pizza
chain restaurant in the United States
and in many ways pioneered the concept of the chain pizza parlor. Shakey's was founded in Sacramento, California
on April 30
by Sherwood "Shakey" Johnson (1925
) and Ed Plummer. Johnson's nickname resulted from a case of malaria
suffered during World War II
. The first weekend the parlor opened, only beer was served, and Shakey took the profits from beer sales and bought ingredients for pizza the following Monday. The original store at 57th and J in Sacramento remained in business until the late 1990s
. Shakey personally played dixieland jazz
piano to entertain patrons, and that type of entertainment was a staple of the Shakey's experience well into the 1970s
. Shakey's initially became known outside Sacramento not for its pizza but for the jazz program it sponsored on a regional radio network. Shakey Johnson is honored in the Banjo Hall of Fame in Guthrie, Oklahoma
. for his longtime use of banjo music at his pizza parlors. Other live music, including piano, was also a staple in the old Shakey's parlors.
A Dixieland piano player entertains at Shakey's in the early 1970s.
The second Shakey's Pizza Parlor opened in Portland, Oregon
. Shakey's began franchising
its restaurant to others in 1957
. By the time Johnson retired in 1967
, there were 272 Shakey's Pizza Parlors in the United States. The first international store opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba
. By 1975
, the company had expanded to the Pacific Rim
, including Japan
and the Philippines
. The chain is now much bigger in the Philippines than in the United States.
Shakey's Pizza Parlors are noted for their unique features: The parlors are decorated in a variety of informal styles, traditionally having tables lined end to end the width of the dining room and seating provided on wooden stools. Some later designs included high tables and stools and stained and beveled glass designs. Parlors are usually decorated with antique-looking wooden signs bearing "Ye Olde Notice." Typical notices are "We made a deal with the banker. We don't cash checks, and he don't sell pizza" and "We have no quarrel with those who sell for less. They know what their product is worth." There is usually a window allowing children to watch the pizza being made. Family-friendly entertainment is still a staple at Shakey's, with many stores featuring large game rooms and featuring live performances by magicians and other entertainers on certain nights to attract business.
A "Ye Olde Notice" sign.
Besides pizza, Shakey's has developed other menu items into trademarks, including its MoJo potatoes (breaded and deep-fried potato slices) and fried chicken. Most Shakey's restaurants incorporate a buffet, which is usually responsible for more sales than the ordering of whole pizzas. Its classic thin-crust pizza remains more popular than its deep-dish pizza, which was introduced in the 1970s and has a sweeter crust more reminiscent of pastries than pizza.