Shakey’s Pizza Parlor



This Sacramento-based pizza franchise has the unusual distinction of being featured in the American Banjo Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Shakeys-trainingIn April 1954, Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson and partner Ed Plummer opened a new concept, then called Shakey’s Pizza Parlor & Ye Public House, in Sacramento, California. Johnson, a jazz enthusiast, filled his parlor with music, featuring live banjo players and player pianos (in fact, a replica of the interior of the original Shakey’s appears today in the American Banjo Museum’s Hall of Fame!). The first outpost was so successful that the owners opened another—this time in Portland, Oregon—in 1956, and by the late ’60s, the booming franchise had nearly 300 units.

However, after the late ’80s and ’90s, the franchise needed a breath of life. Excited by stats that showed a 98% brand recall for Shakey’s, The Jacmar Companies acquired the brand in 2004 and worked to re-energize its image, adding new menu items and initiating remodeling efforts. The latest Shakey’s prototype pays homage to its banjo-strumming past while offering high-tech touches: The décor incorporates nostalgic graphics alongside a digital menu system, and Shakey’s appeals to both kids and adults with game rooms for the young (and young at heart) and large flat-screen televisions for sports fans.


Of course, entertaining families and becoming involved with local communities has always been a cornerstone of success for the company—and that has not changed over the decades. “We’ve carved out a niche as a family fast-casual restaurant,” notes Cindy Staats, director of marketing for Shakey’s USA. “But at the end of the day, Shakey’s is an experience—a place where people gather to share good times together.” —Tracy Morin


  1. JayReply
    May 17, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    The business was sold twice a d shakey sold his shares to Ed in the 70s

  2. Robert MadduxReply
    December 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I went to Tokyo Japan in 2008, as a Sacramento Native I am familiar with Shakeys Pizza and remember the building on J Street across from CSU Sacramento where I went to college. I was surprised to see many Shakeys Pizza restaurants in Tokyo, the pizza was excellent and employees wore the round shorts brimmed straw hats with red white and blue stripes, like the old campaign style hats. I enjoyed 3 different locations in Japan and each had a poster size photo displayed of that old Shakey’s on J Street. Sad it’s gone! I don’t think Sacramento currently has any Shakey’s Pizza open…hint hint

  3. Tom WebberReply
    December 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I have an original Shakey’s Pizza straw hat in perfect condition. Evertime I look at it I go back to the days of being a kid going to Shakey’s with my family. Miss that place!

Leave a Reply

Your message*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>