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Ye Olde Shakey’s Pizza Parlor Lives In Alabama

Hello Tasty Tuesday and while I am not writing about my quest try all of Alabama’s Department of Tourism, 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die, I am writing about a special place that is on Meg’s food bucket list, which would be to eat at a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor once again, to relive the warm and delicious memories of childhood.

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Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, Auburn AL

Ask anyone in my hometown of Appleton Wisconsin, who was born in a certain era, if they have fond memories of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor; and time after time the answer will be a resounding YES.  

 When my friend’s learned via my Facebook posts that I had a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor near my home in Alabama, I received comments such as; “jealous,” “send me some Mojo’s,” “I used to like you,” “I love Shakey’s,”  and the list goes on.    Some also asked if it was as I remembered. 

Shakey’s was THE place in town for kids of the 1970’s to celebrate a birthday, hang out, and find teen employment. Young and old loved the place.  It was a place where people sat in groups on large picnic tables, eating pizza while listening to an old player piano that played old school rag-tag sing-a-longs; and yes, we all knew the songs.  During certain times, there was a banjo player who wore a Shakey’s hat and the signature red and white vest or blazer.  There were old fashioned sayings everywhere using the words “Ye-olde.”  Such as Ye Olde Pizza Parlor, Ye Olde Restrooms, Ye Olde Pizza,  It was good clean fun in an era when going out to eat with the family was less common.

If you were one of those kids, take a trip down memory lane on YouTube at Ye ole Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.

A trip down memory lane

We all have memories of birthday parties with friends and family at Shakey’s.  On one such occasion, I said that I could eat a tablespoon of chili peppers, I must have been about 10 years old.  It was August of 1973, I know this because it was my friend Charla’s birthday party.  So, that didn’t go well, but it is one of MY Shakey’s childhood memories. We used to run around that place like little knuckleheads, at Shakey’s we were free.  There were games in a back room such as pinball and other game machines. Mind you, this way pre- Chuckie Cheese except for good food.

In fact, it was the first pizza chain in the United States.  Established in 1954, there was once over 500 locations in the United States.  Now, a mere 53 survive,  two of these locations are in the state of Washington,  a few in Hawaii and one in Auburn, Alabama.  The remaining U.S. locations are in California.  They are also located in Mexico and the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong. [1]

Apparently, the chains were bought and sold many times over, making the business difficult for franchises to remain successful.  And yes, Appletonians still grieve over this loss. [2]  So can you ever revisit your youth?  Some say no.

Nowadays, the place is shiny and new.  There is a stage but no player piano.  I had to wonder what the music of today is like? There is a game room in the back of the restaurant. 

Shakey's Pizza stage

Shakey’s Pizza Stage Auburn AL

The red and white blazer and the hat are in a case.

Shakey's Pizza case

Shakey’s memorabilia case of Auburn AL

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Shakey’s memorabilia case of hats and mugs and some Eagle which may have more to do with Auburn. Auburn AL

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I may not have mentioned but in Wisconsin, there has always been beer served at Shakey’s

Shakey’s has lots of fantastic memorabilia throughout.  It’s pretty easy to walk down memory lane. And Shakey’s still has their famous lunch buffet called “Bunch of Lunch.”

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Shakey’s Order Counter with the historical colors intact!

So how did it taste?

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Veggie Pizza or Mojos? Auburn AL Shakey’s and Meg

So how did it taste, did it taste the same as I remembered?  Of course, I had to sample everything!

Shakey’s serve the pizza on either a thin crust or deep dish style.  When you are a kid, the buffet style is the way to go!  Really tasty!  5MEGastars ***** for chain pizza!

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Shakey’s Pizza Thin crust Auburn AL

The chicken

In the older adult set, it might have been the broasted chicken that would be bragged about.  I would say that I really do not remember eating the chicken as a kid but I probably did.  I can say that when I tasted the chicken during my current visits, I loved it, and so did my company. 5 MEGastars for Shakey’s Chicken and Mojos!

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Shakey’s Chicken and Mojo potatoes.

However, I would bet if I polled my friends, it was the Mojos that we all absolutely loved. Mojos are a signature and trademarked specialty.  Of course, there are several copycat recipes to be found. 

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The original Mojo at Shakey’s Pizza

  I have seen them in Wisconsin called JoJo potatoes. The first time that I revisited this tasty fried potato, there was something different about the flavor.  Not drastic but something that I could not put my finger on.  Of course, I had to wonder about the artery-clogging oils such as beef tallow that was used during my formative arterial years.  Of course, it tasted better.  Perhaps they also fried the Mojos in the chicken fryer?  Of course, that would be delicious.  I don’t have the answer, but I do know that they still have that slight crisp exterior and a perfect potato interior.  

Like anything else, those days ended and Shakey’s closed in my hometown. 

So, can you ever return to your past? Uh, yes indeed, when it comes to Shakey’s  and Mojos, it turns out that you can.

I can’t even!  5 MEGastars for Shakey’s Mojo potatoes!

5 MEGastars for a trip down memory lane at Ye Ole Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Auburn Alabama.

MEGatips:

  1. Link to the restaurant will provide you with any information that you may need to visit Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. Shakey’s Pizza
  2. Visit Bunch of Lunch from 11-2 in most locations for a sampling of Shakey’s food. 
  3. But, for heaven’s sake, get the Mojos.

Sources:

  1. Wikipedia, Shakey’s Pizza.
  2. Appleton Post Crescent, July 16, 2015.  Remembering the Past by Maureen Wallenfang.

 

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