What’s Shaking at the New Shakey’s Pizza

Who wants to go to Shakey’s Pizza?

If you were of a certain generation, everyone did.

My personal memory is of a pizza parlor on Virginia Beach Boulevard near the Princess Anne Plaza shopping center in Virginia Beach. The “parlor” was small. A player piano played bad Dixieland. Badly edited Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello and Three Stooges shorts played on a screen in a continuous loop. Staff wore striped shirts. It was different.

There was pizza for everyone, pitchers of Coke for the kids and beer for the parents (now we know why parents liked to have birthday parties there.).

The chain was founded April 30, 1954 in Sacramento, by a man named Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson who turned it into a national franchise operation. But over the years, and with a succession of owners, Shakey’s declined, and became a regional chain again. Today, the chain is coming back, with a new concept and a new restaurant design. Pretty interesting, and the new concept has the old signage on the wall.

It’s a full service restaurant, with video games and a more slick design. The company is owned by The Jacmar Companies, a home builder and real estate firm in California that owned an early franchise. The re-launch leadership included CEO Tim Pulido (who apparently has left for Mimi’s Cafe), Executive Vice President Joe Remsa and Director of Marketing Cindy Staats.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. I remember Shakeys pizza! At the time it was the best pizza place around. As a kid, it was exciting to stand on the bench and watch them make the pizzas. In addition to the movies listed above, they also played the Little Rascals. We watched one show while dining there with my Aunt and Uncle and my Uncle laughed so hard he fell off the bench! The building is still there and the memories come flooding back ever time.

  2. I remember Shakey’s! The one near me is now a Chinese restaurant, but still has the original carpet, faded though it is.

  3. I worked at Shakey’s located at 6006 W. Broad St. in Richmond, Va from 1969 to 1971. Live music (Banjo and piano players). The restaurant was packed every weekend. The busiest I have ever seen the place was one Valentine’s day, Shakey’s advertised heart shaped pizzas. The line was out the door and around the building. We called in every employee and ran out of sauce, cheese, etc. We couldn’t keep the gas fired stone ovens hot. Wow…brings back memories.

  4. Also, it’s funny how the brand changes over time. I associate Shakey’s with “South Park” since Eric Cartman has at least twice embarked on nefarious schemes to acquire its pizza.

    Until I moved here, I never knew it actually existed.

  5. There’s a Shakey’s here in Okinawa. I haven’t visited it yet, but it retains the old lettering on its sign.

    Two other ghost brands on the island include Mister Donut, an old New England chain, and Blue Seal ice cream, a remnant of Foremost Dairies. The latter is an Okinawan institution , with mainlanders bringing back containers packed in dry ice.

  6. Pasquales pizza places seem to be in a similar situation as is Shakey’s in the nearly dead, but attempting a comeback department.

    Pasquales was our franchise pizza hangout in my youth, beginning in Cincinnati, then later in Birmingham, AL in the ’60s and ’70s. They declined for some reason thereafter (the rise of Pizza Hut?) but some still clung to life on through the present day.

    Now, new owners seem intent on revitalizing the venerable chain. I hope it works out for them. Pasquales pizza was very good and even better were their fondly remembered sandwiches–the Hoggie and the Stromboli Steak sandwiches.

    Their website:


    Tom Frieling

  7. Dear KR..thanks for posting the You Tube clips.

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