Growing up in Minnesota, Shakey’s was always a special treat. Nobody could beat their pizza. On top of that, it was a damn fun place to go. During dinner hours, the “banjo band” (that’s what I called them) would play your requests. If the band wasn’t performing during the time you were there, you could play the large player piano. Just select your favorite music roll and watch the piano do it’s thing. I think it was free. Does anyone remember for sure?
Birthdays were especially enjoyable at Shakey’s. If you joined the Shakey’s Birthday Club, you would receive a coupon in the mail for a free small pizza on or close to your birthday. This was a genius marketing strategy since parents would usually bring several of your friends along with you to claim your birthday pizza. The banjo band would also sing “Happy Birthday” and announce your special day to everyone in the restaurant. For a kid who’s about 8 years old, it doesn’t get any better than that!
If you’re wondering why this isn’t in my “Defunct Restaurants” category, it’s because Shakey’s isn’t. They’re still going strong in California. You have no idea how much I’d love to celebrate with a Shakey’s Pizza right now!