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!

  4. William KuppReply
    August 2, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Have very fond memories of Shakey’s as a kid. It’s a travesty there aren’t any left in the Midwest, especially out in the suburbs of Chicago… like (ie) Aurora, IL where there actually was a Shakey’s location back in the 70’s/early 80’s! Shakey’s needs a revival 🙂

  5. Pizza LoverReply
    September 3, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Shakey’s USA still going strong! More than 50 locations mostly in Southern California.

  6. SkipReply
    September 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Does anyone remember if there was a shakey’s pizza location at Fulton and El Camino?

  7. Jim BonnerReply
    May 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I loved going to Shakeys Pizza in Virginia Beach! Always a good time! Wish they were still in Virginia!

  8. TINAReply
    July 28, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    so crazy questio. As I was young when our location was here. For some reason I have it stuck in my head that they had balloons shaped like people. Was it shakeys that did this?

    • KemReply
      September 14, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Not sure Tina but I seem to have that memory too I’m really believing they at very least had balloons!

    • JulieReply
      February 21, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      Was the balloon bowling pin shaped with a thin flat piece of cardboard that looked like a pair of feet smooshed together? You’d hook the “feet” to the knot of the balloon to make it stand?

  9. JulieReply
    February 21, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    I had my 11th birthday party in 1975 at Shakey’s Pizza… and it was groovy! The staff and my 11 friends sang Happy Birthday while wearing the famous straw hats (with the rubberband on the inside.) I also received a giant ice cream sundae! Far-out man!

  10. March 20, 2021 at 9:40 am

    My Dad was member of a Shakey’s Dixieland Band in the Maryland restaurants. What fun to eat Shakey’s pizza and watch my Dad on the bandstand!

  11. MichelleReply
    June 25, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Loved going to Shakeys Pizza as a kid in Oklahoma City, Okla. So yummy & so fun! Love the piano that played by itself! I miss Shakeys!! I’m going to visit the one in Oraville, CA ASAP!!!!❤❤❤

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