Pizza may have originated in Italy but the US has certainly adopted it with gusto. Americans love it so much that stores can barely keep up with the orders. Thousands call for delivery every day, asking for their favorite toppings and side dishes. Several different flavors have come out and become fan favorites. Shakey’s is one of the pioneers in this space having started many decades ago. The restaurant chain offers their own take on the beloved oven-baked cheesy treat. Their colors are red, black, white, and yellow. Although the logo has changed, the spirit of the brand has largely remained the same.
Shakey’s traces its root to Sacramento in California. It was founded by friends Sherwood Johnson and Ed Plummer in 1954. Johnson was drafted during World War II where he suffered from malaria. It resulted in nerve damage earned him the nickname “Shakey”. It wasn’t a polished place by any means. They opened even when their ovens were not yet operational. They could only serve beers for the guests but it worked out well because they could purchase ingredients for actual pizza the next day. The locals gradually gravitated to the place thanks to the food, the drinks, and the ambiance.
Indeed, Shakey himself installed a piano on the site and played jazz for the guests. He would sometimes ask musicians to play as well and pay them with unlimited servings. This proved to be a rather expensive setup as the boys helped themselves to a great deal of pizza every night. Soon well-known jazz artists began playing in the restaurant which helped to elevate its profile as a place to be in Sacramento. The company even sponsored its own jazz program in a regional radio network. This musical heritage may not be as visible anymore but it provided a great platform for future expansion.
Just two years after its founding, Shakey’s was able to open a second site in Portland in the state of Oregon. It became a hit in the state and soon a third one followed, this time in Albany. The brand began to have a better sense of its own style and this was reflected in the architecture of the building. The next decade would be a time of great expansion with the chain having 272 pizza parlors by 1967. It was inevitable that they would cross borders into other countries. They have branches in Canada, Japan, the Philippines, and elsewhere.
Shakey’s pizza menu allows guests to choose between their signature thin crust or pan as base. Different flavors can be ordered with their own mix of meats, vegetables, and herbs. It is also possible to build your own pizza by picking what you want from a list of toppings. Those who want to add variety to their order can have fried chicken or potatoes slices. Wings and strips are available with a choice of sauce. They also serve lunch meals for those who want to have a little bit of everything. Drinks, desserts, and beer are available.