Shakey’s Pizza Triumphantly Returns To Minnesota

Okay, I know this blog post is completely off topic for what we normally do here…but today I don’t care.   For once in almost six years of blogging I’m entitled to post something completely different than the norm.   Here goes:

Iconic Restaurant Chain Experiences Continued Growth In A Triumphant Return To The North Star State


MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN (August 23, 2010) — Once a household name in Minnesota with sixteen locations throughout the state, Shakey’s® Pizza, is returning to the North Star State with five new restaurants scheduled to open in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the first of which is slated for Summer 2011. After a nearly decade-long absence, the new Shakey’s restaurants will serve up a welcome trip down memory lane for Minnesotans.

Shakey’s has been absent from Minnesota since the Rochester franchise closed its doors in August 2002. Over the past few years, Shakey’s fans from the region have used Facebook to urge the nostalgic favorite to come back home. ”I wish Shakey’s would come back to Minnesota! I used to go there for my birthday every year…Good food and fun…” posted by Shakey’s Facebook fan Leslie Lynch.

The brand’s triumphant return to Minnesota reflects Shakey’s ongoing resurgence. The iconic pizza parlor has reemerged from a cheerful memory to a successful restaurant chain experiencing exponential growth – even during the economic downturn. With its revitalized model of family-friendly restaurants and enhanced menu options, Shakey’s has become a leader in the fast-casual dining market and continues to expand rapidly.

 “People have never stopped loving Shakey’s Pizza and that’s why we’re experiencing such a remarkable resurgence in popularity,” said Shakey’s Pizza CEO Joe Remsa. “Everybody has a story, a memory or a special feeling about Shakey’s. In re-envisioning the restaurant, we wanted to preserve a bit of that heritage and invite a new generation of customers to make memories of their own.”

 Shakey’s first Minnesota restaurant, which opened in Columbia Heights in 1966, followed Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson’s original model: a destination where friends and families could gather for hot pizza, cold beer and sing-along ragtime music. The new Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurants will embrace the original concept with a modern spin – including arcade games, big screen TV’s, classic American music and familiar pop-culture memorabilia. The restaurant design will feature Shakey’s traditional long tables to accommodate larger parties and community dining as well as intimate booths for smaller groups and families.

The menu will highlight Shakey’s original thin-crust pizza featuring hand-tossed dough made fresh daily, crispy fried chicken and famous Mojo® potatoes. To complement the classic favorites, Shakey’s will also feature a variety of gourmet pizzas as well as dipping wings with savory sauces, which are sure to become top picks among a new generation of Minnesotans.

Many Minnesota residents remember Shakey’s as the gathering place to celebrate any number of life’s milestones. The new Twin Cities locations will once again serve as a destination for guests to recount their favorite Shakey’s stories, while creating new memories to last a lifetime.


Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson opened the first Shakey’s Pizza Parlor® in a remodeled grocery store on 57th and J Street in Sacramento, California in 1954. Originally established as “ye public house” for pizza & beer, Johnson indulged his passion for Dixieland jazz and added live ragtime music to mix, featuring banjos and player pianos throughout his rapidly expanding franchise. As the concept caught on, the Shakey’s name became synonymous with The World’s Greatest Pizza® along with light-hearted slogans such as “You’ll have fun at Shakey’s, also pizza,” and “You can feed your face at any old place, but you can warm your heart at Shakey’s.” Since that time, Shakey’s has been a pop-culture staple referenced in countless television shows, films and even by Bob Hope during an Academy Awards broadcast. And its most famous employee, actor Billy Bob Thornton, continues to share his Shakey’s memories in every interview he gives. Shakey’s USA, Inc is headquartered in Alhambra, CA.  For more information and locations, visit  

There you have it…the good news.   My favorite childhood pizza joint is coming back to Minnesota.   Long live the banjo player and the player piano.

©2010 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.